This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Fulness in waists, sleeves, skirts and ruffles may often be effectively disposed of by the use of shirring, which is a succession of rows of gathers placed on a plain surface, the lines for the rows having been previously marked with tailor's chalk or thread, or a tuck may be taken up by each row of gathers. The end of the gathering thread at the start should be fastened with a back-stitch. Use strong thread. When shirring threads are drawn to place and fastened, the fulness should be held in place by laying a piece of bobbin on the back of the garment under each row of shirring, and tacking it at intervals to the wrong side, letting the bobbin be very easy. Gauging is a form of shirring by which a great amount of fulness is brought into a small space, as a wide straight skirt into a waist band. It is done in successive rows, a long stitch on the right side, a short on the wrong, and by keeping the long stitches in each row directly under those of the preceding row. When they are drawn up, the gathers stand out in ridges. The back of each gather is overhanded to the belt, or band, which holds it in place (Fig. 103).
Fig. 231. - A, B, C, shirring on cords; D, cord set in armhole; sleeve sewed to cord.
Tucks (Fig. 100), folds lifted in material and sewed by hand or machine, or with an ornamental stitch. Tucks are used as decoration on all kinds of garments, and for practical purposes to shorten garments in anticipation of shrinkage after which the tuck can be taken out; or when the wearers, if children, outgrow the garments in length.
When planning to put tucks in any garment, enough material must be allowed, beyond the finished length or width of the garment, to make the number of tucks desired; the rule is: Allow twice the depth of the tuck to be made, multiplied by the number of tucks desired. When actually making the tucks, care must be exercised in measuring and marking, so they may all be even in depth, and with an even space between. Take, for example, a group of tucks to be made in a petticoat ruffle, the lower edge of which has been finished with a hem. Measure from the stitching of the hem, twice the depth of the tuck plus the space which is to show between the hem and the tuck and at this point make the crease, which will be the lower edge of the tuck when completed; then measure from this crease the depth of tuck desired and sew by hand, or baste ready for machine stitching, unless the tucker attachment is to be used, in which case basting is unnecessary. Each succeeding tuck must be measured and make in the same way if to be sewed by hand, or stitched on the machine without using the tucker, but if that attachment is to be used, it must be set to stitch the tuck the proper width, and mark the crease for the next tuck at the right distance. Then it is only necessary to measure for the first tuck by hand, all succeeding ones being taken care of by the tucker. Groups of thread tucks, or those of greater width may be used on the back and front of waists, and grouped into cuffs and collars. Bands of tucks are used in combination with lace or insertion. When fine tucks are used on silk waists, an interesting effect in waist and sleeve can be made by stitching across the tucks, keeping them all in one direction, the next stitching reversing the tucks, stitching one and one-half to two inches apart. A band or puffing of small tucks or plaits laid in one direction at the top, and reversed at the bottom, may be used with a plain or milliner's fold at the edge.
Fig. 232. - Method of tacking plaits, to preserve their shape.
Plaitings, like various other forms of decoration, have their seasons of use and disuse. They may be classified as side and box plaitings. Side plaits are like tucks, not stitched down, but all turning in one direction and with the edge of each plait meeting the under fold of the next plait or there may be a space between. Cut sufficient strips of the desired width, to give the necessary amount of plaiting, the width of the strips on the lengthwise thread of the goods. From one and one-half to two and one-half times the finished plaiting may be used, depending on the depth of the plaits and the space allowed between them. Join the widths, using a plain seam, overcast raw edge and press seams open. Hem, or 26 have hemstitched by machine, the strip for the plaiting. Take up the depth of the first plait on the hemmed edge, lay fold of plait to material, baste to place, decide on space' you wish between plaits, and allow this plus the depth of the next plait and fold again; carry basting over from first plait and baste second. Continue until all plaits are laid and basted on the lower edge. Baste again through the center, keeping plaits on the same grain as the lower edge. Baste again at the top. Narrow plaitings need but two bastings; wide ones, many more. With very wiry materials, the plaits need to be basted lengthwise of the plait. Box plaits are like two side plaits laid in opposite directions, the under edges of the plaits meeting on the wrong side. These should be measured and basted in the same way. Double box plaits are like a single box plait with,a side plait each side of it, turning in opposite directions, the width of the side plait usually the width of the one-half of the box plait. They should be measured and basted as the others. Plaitings. are sometimes tacked to a tape to keep them in place (Fig. 232). Shirrings are also held in place in the same way.
Fig. 233. - Reversed hem.
Knife, accordeon or sun plaitings denote the several types of fine plaiting done on a machine with use of steam and irons. Knife plaiting can be done more or less successfully by the amateur, with the use of some of the plaiting machines. It takes considerable time and care, however, and unless one were doing a great deal of it, it is far better done by an expert. Side and box plaitings for tunics and skirts are more satisfactory when done by a professional.