I was at my mom’s today and she was kind enough to take out the Hmong Thai skirt I talk about in my post The Master so I could get a closer look.
This entire skirt was handmade by my mom about 18 years ago. She did all the cross-stitch work on the Taab Tab, the batiking, all the applique work, and the original pleating.
Accordion pleating is used for Hmong skirts and the pleating is not pressed. Instead, a thread is used to hold the pleats in place when the skirt is not being worn. When the skirt is ready to be worn, the thread is cut letting out the pleats giving the skirt a beautiful fullness.
My mom tells me that when she lent this skirt to the Hmong couple in the textile business to copy and print for mass production, the skirt had been threaded to hold the pleats in place. When they returned it, all the thread had been cut, and she has never had to re-thread the pleats again. I believe the reason for this is because the pleats were pressed while at the textile company.