Tips for working with Plisse

Earlier this year I tried my hand at sewing a new (new to me) kind of fabric called Plisse. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it around as the texture is very similar to seersucker. Plisse is a woven type fabric and is characterized by its crinkled appearance that is a result of the application of a caustic solution that causes the fabric to shrink and pucker. It’s lightweight in texture and feel which makes it perfect for spring and summer sews. 

While my first project using Plisse did result in this pretty dress:

I quickly discovered that it is quite a fussy fabric. Bottom line is, if you want the fabric to keep its textured look, you can not treat it the same way you would treat regular cotton wovens. 

Here’s some tips to consider when working with Plisse: 

Washing & Care:

In order to ensure that your Plisse retains its appearance gentle handling is a must. I would recommend hand washing in cool water with liquid soap. If you must use a washing machine use the gentle cycle. 

To dry Plisse, avoid wringing or twisting the fabric because doing that could warp your puckers. Instead, just hand squeeze the fabric to remove excess water, and then lay flat to air dry. 

Do Not Press / Iron: 

Plisse has a naturally wrinkled appearance so it rarely needs ironing. Ironing Plisse as you would normal cotton fabric would eliminate the puckers permanently, and you don’t want that especially if you got the fabric because of its lovely textured look. Here’s a comparison:

Trust me, I learned that the hard way when I ironed these straps for the first dress I made. See, the puckers disappeared completely. Even after a few washes, they have not returned.

Instead of ironing you can use steam (a steam iron), finger pressing or use a tool with a flat smooth edge to flatten the seams or creases out. Here a used the flat part of these disposable chopsticks to flatten my seams. If you absolutely must use an iron, keep the temperature setting low and press lightly.

Line your Garments

If the wearer of your garment has sensitive skin, or is particular with the way certain textures feel, then I strongly suggest lining your garment with something smooth and equally lightweight. My daughter is very peculiar about how fabrics feel on her skin, so I did line the bodices of both my projects with a light weight woven cotton. 

Note: This picture was taken before I finished the raw edges for the bodice.

BONUS TIPS:

1. Pick a pattern that features flutters or elastic gathers that amplify the texture of the plisse fabric. 

Flutter Sleeves
Back Elastic Casing

2. Pick patterns in which finger pressing would be enough to create your creases or flatten your seams. If you pick patterns that absolutely require ironing you may run the risk of permanently removing the texture of your plisse with the heat from the iron.

And that’s it for my tips today! Hope you found this useful and thanks for stopping by! Talk to you soon! xoxo Candice

Candice Ayala, from Sewing Portfolios

Wife. Mom of 2. Sewing Blogger & Owner and Creator of www.SewingPortfolios.com

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