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How to Create Fabric Pleats

Updated on February 13, 2017

Making Box Pleats in a Skirt

Pleats are created by folding a section of fabric over about 1 " and facing to the right. Fold the fabric right next to it over about 1"to the left , so that the folds meet in the middle.

Move over about 2 " and do the same thing again. Continue this pattern along the entire top length of the skirt, beginning at one and going all the way to the other.

Use straight pins to hold each pleat as you complete it and baste the entire piece when you have reached the other end.

Pleats are placed in skirts, dresses, bed linens, drapes and other items.

Box Pleats Ready to Baste Stitch

Making Single Pleats

Going around the entire parameter of the top of the skirt, make exact same size folds of the chosen size of pleats. These pleats should all face the same direction.

Pin each fold as you complete it, and then baste the whole thing when you're done.

Each pleat should be pressed using a pressing cloth and iron to stabilize the pleats.

The pleats can be any size you like, just maintain the same width over the entire length of the fabric and fold all the single pleats in the same direction.

The fabric folds can be placed all to the right or all to the left.

This is also commonly done on bed skirts and other linens.

Making Single Pleats

Bed Skirt Pleats

Pleats for bed skirts can be done in either style. A bed skirt or ruffle will be much longer than you would have for a dress or other apparel.

You must continue to make the folds in the same direction when you are making single pleats.

Box pleats on a bed skirt are simply all made the same size.

Adding the pleated strip to three sides of a single size bed sheet is popular and is an excellent way to have coordinated linens.The sheet is then placed between the mattress and the bed or box frame so that it hangs evenly around the sides of the bed that are visible.

Pleated Drapes

Pleated drapes are made the same way. It's a lot harder to work with larger fabric but the process is the same.

If you are using a lining in the drapes this fabric should be folded along with the drapery fabric and sewed at the same time.

Bed sheets are also good for making the curtains or draperies for a room. They will definitely be less expensive than buying drapes or drapery material.

If you are using a single cotton sheet a lining may not be necessary. Using a window shade that you can open and close would allow you to adjust the amount of light coming in.


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