More on pleats

There’a a whole new world out there. When I went online to get other ideas for possible pleat moulds, I came across some very advanced origami tessellation techniques. And I realised that some of the techniques used by artists I’ve previously written about, like Polly Verity, could be adapted to make pleat  moulds.

However, their folding skills are far more advanced than mine – I got very confused in discussions about iso, 64-pleat grids and 12.12.3 tessellations!

Then I came across this piece about the Miura Ori map, a type of origami pleating that minimises the stress on paper where folds intersect and is also easier to fold and unfold (anyone who has ever tried to refold a map in a confined space like a car will know what I mean!).

So in class this week I made my own Miura Ori mould from cartridge paper, plus a longer parallel pleat mould, and used them with synthetic fabrics and the heat press.

First, I steamed some sheer polyester organza in the Miura Ori mould and then put it in the heat press, still folded with some disperse dye paper on either side. As you can see, the dye did not penetrate very far through the fabric folds:


I also repeated this with the diamond pleat mould:


Then I dyed the fabric in the heat press before steaming it in the mould:


Similarly, I dyed a piece of shiny polyester in the heat press and steamed it in the longer parallel pleat mould. Unfortunately, I clamped the fabric and moulds between two plastic rulers to keep it straight before putting it in the steamer – mistake!


Finally, I steamed a couple of pieces of cotton muslin coated in PVA in moulds, before clamping them and putting them in the indigo vat. Obviously, dunking the fabric in more liquid means the pleats are lost, leaving just the dye pattern where the indigo penetrated:


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2 thoughts on “More on pleats”

  1. Hi Kim,

    Great and informative post about heat press pleats.

    I would like to attempt this at home. Do you have any idea what kind of heating tools would work best in a domestic setting, if any at all? Is there any particular fabric that works better?

    Thank you,

    1. Unfortunately I don’t know any alternative to a heat press – a domestic iron can sometimes be used for certain purposes but in this case it’s not really hot enough (and doesn’t have enough pressure) to transmit the heat through all the folds of the paper moulds.

      For steaming, however, you can use an ordinary steamer on your cooker.

      For any kind of heat set pleats, synthetic fabrics usually hold the pleats better. I’m told you can even wash them as long as the water temperature is cooler than the temperature at which the pleats were set, but I haven’t tried this myself.

      For natural fabrics such as cotton, you will need to treat them with some sort of stiffener, such as PVA, if you want the pleats to hold. But this will definitely come out in the wash! 🙂

      Good luck with your experiments at home!

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