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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Visit Regal Originals for Pleating, Shirring and Other Fancy Finishes

A sample board at Regal showing the many different kinds of finishing they do.

Did you know that there is a Garment District company called Regal Originals, 247 W. 37th Street, that does all sorts of cool things, like pleating, shirring, smocking, appliqué and more? I recently was treated to a tour of this unionized factory by Rodger Cohen, whose father-in-law, Holocaust survivor Jack Krinick, opened Regal in the Garment District in 1950. Today Rodger and his daughter Dalia run Regal, along with 15 to 30 employees, depending on time of year and demand.

Readers, can I tell you how incredibly cool it is to see finishing touches like pleating and shirring being applied to actual garments from the likes of Theory, Nanette Lepore, Milly, Betsy Johnson and Oscar de la Renta? Speaking of Oscar, Rodger and Dalia let me peek at a de la Renta navy silk gown Regal trimmed with rows of pleated ruffles; can't wait to see which celebrity wears this beauty on the red carpet.

My tour was so interesting, but here's the most exciting fact I learned: Regular home sewists like you and me can hire Regal to do pleating and other specialty stitching for us. They charge approximately $50 per sample (or garment in home sewists' case), and they will walk you through the process, teaching you how to prep your garment, what kind of pleating will work for your garment, and more. Rodger made me feel confident his staff would hold my hand through it all and wouldn't treat me like the babe-in-the-woods I am when it comes to sophisticated garment finishing.

Personally, I think $50 is an extremely reasonable price to pay to have a garment professionally pleated, when I think of all the time a home sewer would have to put into her garment to get results that come even close to professional-looking. If I was making a special occasion dress that needed pleating or shirring or some finishing, I'd definitely hire Regal to do it for me.

There is an excellent PDF document called "The List" on Regal's web site that does a much better job of explaining who the company is and what they do. Definitely take a look at it (you'll find it on the lower left of the web site).

Thanks, Rodger, for a great tour, and I hope this sends some Shop the Garment District readers your way soon.

Part of the pleating process; this skirt will get "baked" in an oven later to set the pleats. (I think this particular skirt is for Theory.)
Josephine has been with Regal for over fifty years and has been cross-trained on all the company's finishing techniques.

The number of workers at Regal expands and contracts depending on the volume of work at any given time.

8 comments:

  1. It always amazes me that there is so much going on behind to scenes in the Garment District. It really is an incredible place packed into such a small radius.

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  2. This makes me happy. I have been wanting a long pleated maxi skirt and wasn't sure what I'd do if I couldn't find pleated fabric. Now I know - take fabric to Regal!

    Plus, like Clio said... just. so. cool!

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  3. Often Burda will mention having a garment pleated, and now I know where to get it done. Thanks for sharing this great resource.

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  4. An awesome article on an amazing factory. We must support USA manufacturing and help keep the garment district alive!

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  5. How wonderful to hear about manufacturing still occurring in the US! This sounds like a wonderful place. I occasionally get a hankering for professional pleating and the only place I knew of was A-1 in California. Thank you for spotlighting Regal!

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  6. This is so interesting! Thanks for posting, it is encouraging to see that there is still garment work being done here in the U.S., and I hope it continues :-)

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  7. Awesome! I remember Threads did an article years ago on this skill and its great to know there are still people stateside who do it. Now I need to figure out how I can use pleats in a dance costume....

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  8. What a great resource. Thanks for posting!

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