Sew grow clothes designed to grow with your children and last more than one season. Vêtements pour se transformer en. Ropa para crecer en. Oдежда для выращивания в. Kleidung hineinwachsen.

Grow tucks or pleats in your childrens clothing - respectable acceptable, or a stigma and a blot on your character.

Grow pleats Stigma?

Is there a stigma in having a long hem, or putting a tuck in here or there in your children's clothing? 
How much hem is to much?


Does the fade or wash mark left after a hem is let out, cause a child to be ridiculed and marked for life as "that poor child with the grow pleat" or "that  child with the hem mark". 

Will the family stigmatised, the family name be besmirched should a hem be let out in a household? 

Does it just look hard up and in need? 

Surely not!

Do you even know what I'm raving on about?

So why has the grow pleat, or grow tuck and them long hem all but disappeared from our children's wardrobes?

I am interested in why grow pleats or tucks are not used as much as they once were. I couldn't find much at all on the world wide web. There is a lot on other kinds of tucks (you name it they can tuck it away for you, some of it is just ick.), and there are plenty of historical costumers putting in grow tucks, but not Mums. Which is one reason I went to Wikipedia to check to see if I was referring to the "method" correctly. Wikipedia confirmed Tucks or Pleats are for shortening a child s garment to later let it down as they grow. Here is the entry,
Tuck (sewing)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In sewing, a tuck is a fold or pleat in fabric that is sewn in place.
Small tucks, especially multiple parallel tucks, may be used to decorate clothing or household linens. When the tucks are very narrow, they are called pintucks or Pin-tucking.
Tucks are also used to shorten a finished garment, especially a child's garment, so that it may be lengthened ("let down") as the child grows by removing the stitching holding the tuck in place.
"My only comfort," she said to Meg, with tears in her eyes, "is that Mother doesn't take tucks in my dresses whenever I'm naughty, as Maria Parks's mother does. My dear, it's really dreadful, for sometimes she is so bad her frock is up to her knees, and she can't come to school.
—Chapter 4: Burdens
Tucks, made easy with the invention of the sewing machine, were very popular as ornamentation in the latter half of the 19th century, especially in fine linen or cotton fabric for chemisettes, engageantes, blouses, lingerie, summer dresses, and children's garments. Tucks were also used to decorate heavier fabrics: a travelling suit of "rough cheviot" (sturdy wool) is described as having its skirt "tucked, each tuck two inches wide and two inches apart, eight tucks in all, box-pleating at the bottom."[1]
I am not a great Louisa May Alcott fan, but it seems than even back then, grow pleats or tucks if you prefer were frowned upon or seen as some kind of unfair punishment. To be quite honest I don't get it.  I see grow pleats as being practical,useful and decorative.

When and why did grow tucks or pleats stop being used?

Growing up in the... ahem, 1960's, in New Zealand we had grow pleats or grow tucks (as they are sometimes called) in our clothing, and long, very long hems. Most kids did. I can't say my family was rich or poor. We were average and the area we lived in was just so middle class, middle of the road, it had a reputation for being boring. 

So it was not unusual to have long hems in dresses, sleeves where shortend with pleats in girls and boys shirts and blouses. But grow pleats in dresses were a bit special. Pleats in dresses generated a bit of envy, as they were decorative and it meant the dress was new. Mothers didn't re-pleat a dress when it was handed down to the second child or at least mine didn't. Second time around, got a long hem if it needed taking up. 

Anyways, at this time, the key motivator for allowing for growing length in children s clothing, would have been economic. Clothing was expensive to buy relative to incomes. Families were bigger, 3-4+ children, which meant if clothing was being made at home, allowing for growth would result in less sewing over time and extending the useful life of a garment.

When my daughter was growing up, in the 1980's she didn't have grow pleats in her clothing. Why? I think it was as simple as I didn't have time for such things as I was working full time and the cost of clothing had dropped dramatically since the 1960s. There was no economic reason to extend the life of an article of clothing and no movement to recycle or reduce waste.This was the era when people stopped sewing as it was more economical to buy clothing. Although I made the odd dress for my daughter and myself at that time; I would not have considered sewing a whole wardrobe of clothes as previous generations of woman would have.

Since the 1960's childrens clothing styles have changed as well. Children s clothes are less fitted, and loose fitting is the norm. Mothers are  still buying clothing up a size or two, but don't feel the need to adjust the clothing as they once did. 

Likewise children are still growing out of there clothes and exasperated mothers are sewing pieces on to dresses, skirts, and pants to lengthen them. What's up with that!

Recycle & Extend

There is a movement back to the crafts of sewing and knitting and making in general. But not as a result of clothing being expensive, clothing is still cheap. It's my observation that mothers are making their children's clothing as part of a broader movement against consumerism. I think this is best seen in the movement to reduce, recycle and reuse. But there's also movements to buy local, to buy artisan, to buy organic, make and mend and so on.

I do think that grow tucks and pleats fit into this new ethos of renewal and reuse. So I'd like to introduce sewers of the 21st century to the grow pleat, as I am convinced Mums today would use the pleats as much as there grandmothers.

The Grow pleat how to:

I'm going to hand the explanations over to the 1975 Tuscaloosa News, in which the writer extols the virtues of a good "growing room" tuck. 

She (I am assuming this as there was no name, but I'd be 100% right for the time), explains how and where you tuck or pleat. 

Moreover if fade and wash marks are a concern for you, she also gives suggestions on covering these up. She actually explains it quite well, so I will leave the explanations to her. You will have to zoom in on her article as I couldn't get it any bigger, as the original had the same problem.

Have you ever heard or seen grow tucks or pleats in clothing? 

Did you have grow pleats in your clothes? 

Would you use grow pleats? If you wouldn't why? Is it a bit of the Louisa May Allcott's? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on growing room in clothing.

Cheers Liz