Last to arrive from my round of eBay acquisition was the Geneva Hand Fluter, a ridged iron that was used to flute, or crimp, all kinds of things, like cuffs, collars, ruffly trims, from its patent date of 1866 to about the 1920s.
There are several kinds of fluters. I chose the most available and affordable option, the Geneva, which come in two cast iron pieces – a base plate and a rocker with a handle.
The width of the plate is 3 inches, and it is about 5 inches long. It had rust and crud on it, but in the spirit of restoration, Chris took a wire brush to it and annihilated all the build up from the last two centuries. Patina is nice and all, but not when you intend to actually use the thing.
Next came seasoning – after a good scrub, I coated both pieces with canola oil and baked them for about 1.5 hours, allowing them to cool off in the oven overnight. Just like a cast iron skillet, seasoning protects the metal from rust, yet isn’t oily or dirty. It’s like magic!
|Tis the seasoning to be jolly…
This morning I tested the whole thing out, with a piece of 4.5 inch long Dupioni silk, from my Green Acres dress. I heated both pieces of the iron in the oven, at 450 degrees, for about 25 minutes. I sprayed the silk piece with straight up vinegar, blotted it on a paper towel to remove the excess, then layed it on the plate for a good, sizzling fluting.
….and it worked! Like pleats, the ridges shorten the fabric – in this case, it went from 4.5 inches to 2.5 inches, so I know how long I will need to cut my strips to meet the 100-or-so inches of hem to which the fluted trim will be applied.
Of course, I also burned myself, but dang those flutes look good!