With the shirt drafted and fitted, I began work on the pleated front section. Linen has a tendency to skew out of square due to the nature of the material, and so careful layout is needed. I first laid out the pattern for the pleated front, marking each of the fold lines in pencil for accuracy.
At each of the points, I then picked out the thread carefully using a pin – just the first 1/4″ or so.
Gently pulling, the thread is gradually removed from the linen.
This leaves a defined line that is perfectly straight and parallel to the grain of the cloth, making the folding of the pleats much easier.
Here’s the linen with all of the pleat lines pulled and marked. It took me about 45 minutes per side.
The first couple of folds form the placket at the center front, where the buttons and buttonholes will be placed. This is felled with a small stitch.
The pleats are then carefully folded into position, using the lines to accurately form each pleat.
Each pleat is pressed, forming crisp edges.
The pleats are pinned in place as I work to keep them from moving around as I continue working.
After the pleats are all formed, it’s a good idea to compare it to your pattern to ensure that everything fits properly. In the past, not having done the pulling threads method for layout, I’ve been wildly off, but I was quite pleased with how these turned out. They lined up almost perfectly.
The pleat halves are then joined together at the center placket, forming the completed front of the shirt.
If you’d like to make one of these shirts for yourself, it is my latest project at Historical Tailoring Masterclasses, where you can learn and follow along in much greater detail.