Putting a modern spin on a heritage technique.

I love a good pin tuck, blind tucks in particular. They create texture and visual interest, with neat even lines which appeal to my meticulous side.

A pintuck is simply a little tuck in fabric, it can be any size. Blind tucks are where the fold of one tuck overlaps the stitching of another so it’s not visible.

Pintucks go back a very, very long time. The oldest garment in existence, a 5,000 year old Egyptian dress, has tucks along the top and sleeves. They saw heavy use in the Edwardian and Victorian eras. Children’s clothes from these periods have horizontal tucks sewn near the hem so they could be let out as the child grows. So clever! Now we often seen pintucks on tunics, bibs, yokes, and Lolita fashion. Lolita, originally a Japanese fad, is based off Victorian and Edwardian children’s dresses, bringing pintucks full circle.

My dilemma was creating a pintuck design that isn’t childish, historical, or Lolita. Perhaps one that could even be gender neutral.

I made several sketches until I landed on an idea I liked. Then I played around with the placement and angles of the tucks, zeroing in on the final design.

Adding tucks to my torso sloper took careful attention and accuracy. It was quite meditative, enjoyable even. Here’s a quick overview of the steps:

  • copy your bodice and mark where the tucks will go
  • create physical tucks on paper
  • lay marked bodice over paper tucks matching the lines
  • trace bodice again onto the tucked paper and cut out

Sewing the tucks is rather like sewing a dart. You need to precisely mark where the intake is, lining them up as accurately as possible. With blind tucks, any deviation from the stitch line throws off the design; either the stitches are revealed or the tucks are obviously uneven.

The fabric I chose is a bit busy, which is unfortunate because the tucks can get lost at a distance. But I was afraid if I used it for a simple woven tee or a button-down it would look like pajamas. The sleepy London motif seemed to scream bedtime and I wanted to distance the final garment from that.

I really like this design! I want to try it in a solid cotton (which I don’t have in my stash). Also, I want to take the right bodice (with the chest pintucks) and apply that to dresses. I really like the asymmetrical look of having pintucks on one side only.

Thanks for reading <3