A Pleated Smock, Part 1

Alright, my first blog entry! The blog itself is very much still under construction, so if you happen to find this and everything looks like chaos, I'm playing around with the html again!

Marking out the pleats.
Marking the pleat positions with a graphite pen. Extra text. Lots of text.

Anyway, this project. I have 3 meters of lovely linen that I've wanted to do some kind of simple underwear with. I already have a basic rectangles-and-squares style shift, so I wanted something else, and something that I could use as a modern summer dress, too. So, I decided on a late 15th century smock, gathered at the front, which is meant to be visible.

Running the gathering threads.
Running the gathering threads.

With the very fine linen I have, I also decided that I have to make it a bit fancy. I love the look of the pleatwork emobroidery that seems to have been done with these, and that is very common on the high necked smocked later in the 16th century, so that's what I decided to do. Of course, if you want to pleat fine linen tightly, you quickly gather a lot of fabric into a very small space...

For the front panel of my smock, I need a width of about 25 cm. Every pleat is about 1 mm wide, so I need 250 pleats. If I use the full width of the fabric, that makes 6 mm per pleat - i.e. tiny pleats.

The pleats.
The actual gathers!.