1930’s skirt pleats and details

1930's skirts

Frissell, Toni, photographer. [Five Women Holding Hands and Walking Together in a Row, Sky in Background]. [August, 1935] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2013650613. (Accessed March 31, 2016.)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com/is having a 1930’s Sew-along. I never thought I would be making pleats and here I am learning all about them and even contemplating working one or two pleats into my 6 gore skirt draft/drape. Thank you, Norma!

Here are a couple of scans of pleat treatments from the book Weldon’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework Illustrated. It’s undated but I think it might be from about 1935. The price was under $20 with shipping.  I found my copy at http://www.amazon.co.uk/.

The False Pleat looks very interesting. I will have to play around with the idea using paper. It looks like it could be similar to EmilyAnn’s Kickpleat shown in the last photo on her post at:


In this case, “the Kickpleat runs the entire length of the skirt from waistline to hem”. I’m not sure how it would work out for a center front or side front walking ease pleat yet. In the drawing below a line of stitching holds the top of the pleat. In the second photo below an arrowhead marks the top of the pleat.




In the scan below, illustration “c” “Shows a neat way of securing the pleats at the top so that they do not sag. Notice the neat buttonhole finish to the seam.”


In the scan below, in the upper right photo, the skirt is fastened to what appears to be an under bodice by means of buttons and buttonholes. In this case the keyhole of the buttonhole would be at the upper edge to give the button a place to rest. I don’t see an explanation for this illustration, but perhaps the skirt and bodice had differing laundering requirements or an under blouse of another color could substituted. Presumably the buttons would be concealed by an over blouse.


6 thoughts on “1930’s skirt pleats and details

  1. Carol: Don’t you think this book is a valuable addition to one’s library? I’m glad I got mine. I’m going to reblog your scans at my blog. I won’t be able to take photos from my book and post because of a clinic visit (groan) on Saturday. You’ve just saved me much time! That’s an interesting observation about the pleat on my sheath skirt. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like this book very much. This one book consolidates information from many other books I have. I can now begin to whittle down my library to a more manageable collection. And thank you for recommending it! I am up and about again. All the best, take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Retro Glam and commented:
    Carol of “By Way of Thanks” has provided great scans of false pleats from her copy of “Weldon’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework Illustrated.” These photos and descriptions tie in with the skirt Norma is making as part of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma of SheSewsYouKnow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the photograph!
    The Weldons book looks really good. I think I should try to get a copy. I have opted for an inverted pleat and sewn it in place. I didn’t like the style in the pattern but wanted to do something ’30s and Polkinghorne provided the answer.


    • I have both Weldon’s and Polkinghorne and I like both very much. You will love Weldon’s. I just found an inscription in the front of my Weldon’s with a date! “13th February 1941. Eva, With Every Good Wish. Grace” The cover is a burgundy red with gold lettering on spine. From what I can gather from the book reviews at amazon and abebooks it was published from 1935 through 1950. Don’t know if it was revised over the years and don’t know if any of the Weldon’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework Illustrated have dates of publication, my copy did not.

      Liked by 1 person

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