Last month I was working on a 1906 Edwardian skirt. Tucked away on the last page were instructions on "Cutting Continuous Bias Strips". Well, I had never done that, so I thought it might be something fun to try. I had a Victorian Bustle Gown that ended up being about 3" too short on the foundation skirt. I thought I might try this concept and make a pleated trim for the hem to add the needed length. The gown is a Burgundy silk blend velvet with a Golden embroidered silk taffeta for contrast. I had exactly one yard left of the silk taffeta, and I needed six yards of trim. The instructions stated a 30 inch square with a 3.5" width would yield a 252" strip - close enough!
I have to say, this is the origami of fabric sewing. I needed six yards of 4" strips with a one inch pleat. I folded, and lined, and refolded, as I just could not visualize the end objective. I knew I needed to create a "loop" of fabric, but it simply was not coming together for me. I set it down and walked away for a couple of days.
Two days later I picked it up, and it all fell into place visually. I made the cut and ended up with a 250" long continuous strip. Next, my hemming foot could not handle the embroidered fluffy flower detailing, so I had to press the hem and sew, not too bad.
From there I pulled out my handy "Perfect Pleater" board, Iron, and spray bottle of one-to-four vinegar to water spritzer, and got to work setting the one inch pleats. Once that was completed, I stitched along the top edge to help stabilize the pleating.
From here, stitching the pleats to the hem of the skirt was the easy part. The finished length was 3", which was exactly what I needed to make the length work for me. I am tall at 5ft 9", so I run into fabric constraints all the time. Using a pleated trim was a nice way to solve the length problem, and it was a fun experience. I will certainly try this again, and I am sure it will go faster the next time around. Start to finish was around three hours once I picked it up again.