Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Art of Manipulating Fabric

Pleatwork embroidery is the embroidery found on pleated garments, primary necklines and cuffs in the clothing prior to the 17th century - Pleatwork Embroidery
As a young child I used to wear little hand smocked dresses that my mum made for me. And in passing down this traditional technique, one of my first ever sewing projects was to smock and hand embroider the front of an apron made from red and white gingham fabric. So when I bought The Art of Manipulating Fabric a few years ago I, once again, began to practise my smocking, folding and pleating in the hope that I would be able to create something like these amazing works of art.

Ealish Wilson employs techniques traditionally associated with clothing construction (pleating, smocking, ruching) in distinctively non-traditional ways.

Acquiring these garments you helps to maintain and disseminate centuries-old tradition in phase of disappearance - annafabo

Piia Saksela's technique involves preparing synthetic silk-like fabrics with oils and lacquers in order to make them translucent. She then layers this prepared fabric on top of tissue paper or newspaper, which then transfer their colours and markings to the fabric. The result is pleated and hand-smocked.

Hand dyed, smocked and embroidered jewellery by Tinctory
It would seem that I have a lot of practising to do!


  1. You have chosen two of my favorite artists. I would love to own their work.

    Your's, too! :)

  2. I have a passion for traditional, time consuming fiber art techniques !
    great examples!

  3. I have been keeping an eye on Tinctory's works of art...and The art of manipulating fabric is in my wishlist!!! Beautiful post!

  4. Beautiful examples Lois, I am a constant fan of Tinctory and hope to own one of her pieces some day... I think this technique would fit in so perfectly with your sculptured styles, can't wait to see what you do with it... :)

    Emma, x

    ps - any luck with the fabric... ?

  5. My mother made tiny little tana lawn dresses for my daughter who was a summer baby. The cuff is fabulous!

  6. I agree, the cuff is beautiful! Hope you can manage to use this technique in your own work ;)

  7. Months ago, I did manage to create a folded origami type piece that I am really happy with but so far I haven't found a way to incorporate it, successfully, into my clothes.

    And, Lucie, I highly recommend the book - full of lots of ideas even if the instructions are a bit confusing, for me, at times. Just a lot of fun experimenting.

    Emma, no luck so far but I haven't really searched enough yet. It is on my to do list as I really want some of those voiles.

  8. The good ladies in NZ still sell fantastic smocked dresses in the markets.
    I would love to see some original shepherds smocks....

  9. Lois, I LOVE this! That jewelry is so unique. I've got to share with my readers and will give you a good mention. I, too, was dressed in smocked dresses as a little girl and they still remain my favorite on sweet babies! XO!
    The Hidden List



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