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How To Sew Pleats In Dress | Sewing Patterns To Make Pleated Clothes

Updated on January 19, 2013
Pleats Skirt
Pleats Skirt | Source

Different Styles Of Pleats Used In Clothing

There are many types of pleats in clothing. Pleats are created with folds in the fabric material and is used to form fullness and give good shape to any garment.

If you look closely at pleats in garment, you will find that some are unpressed pleats which are used to create a very soft effect in clothes. You will not find the pressed in crease line pressed in them.

There is another popular style of pleats which is called pressed pleats. Here the pleats are firmly pressed in place for the whole length of the pleats.

Pressed pleats always give the pleat skirt, pleat dress or any area in the sewn material that the pleats are in a tailored and crisp appearance.

If you are sewing any garment that you want to use pleat pattern, the pattern may come with the style of pleats to use or you can just use your own preference of pleat in the garment. Most of the time, the type of fabric you want to use the pleats on will determine if you can create pressed or unpressed pleats in them.

For instance, soft fabric will look great with unpressed pleats. You should always test the pleats in any fabric you get to see how the pleats will look in the material.

Sewing Pleats In Garments

How to sew pleats in dresses, skirts, shirts pillows, curtains and drapes is what every dressmaker should learn to make. Pleats are fabric folds that are used to control the fullness and reduce excess fabric, and pleats are made in clothes to add style and beauty to garments. Pleats should be measured accurately in order for it to look good.

There are three basic types of pleats plus the other pleat that is mostly made by professional dress makers. These pleats are: inverted pleats, box pleats, knife pleats and accordion pleats.

Types Of Pleats In Clothes

Box Pleats

Box pleat in any garment appear to have two sides of pleats that face each other from the wrong side and on the right side they form a panel. You can find this type of pleats in skirts, trousers, sleeves and others.

You can use fabric materials such as knit, wool, cotton, crepe de chine or challiers to make pleats that are unpressed. Pleats can be made to look pressed or unpressed. Unpressed box pleats can be sewn to fall into a fuller shape. Box pleat is the type of pleat that have two folds that turn away from each other on the surface.

How To Sew Box Pleats

  • Using tailor's tacks, mark the pleat positions and its size
  • With the wrong side of the fabric, fold the pleat to the center
  • Use a straight machine stitch on the marked pleats line
  • Press the stitching line and fold in the direction that you want the pleat to face

Knife Pleats
Knife Pleats | Source

Inverted Pleats

Inverted pleats are pleats that have two folds that turn toward each other and meet. You can make a tailored look clothes with inverted pleats.

How To Sew Inverted Pleats

  • On the wrong side of the fabric, mark the pleats positions and its sizes. Note that pleats size can be broad or narrow, it depends on how you want the pleats to look on the garment you are sewing.
  • With the right side of the fabric facing, fold the pleat to the center
  • Use a machine straight stitch on the marked lines
  • Press the pleats on the stitching line
  • Press the inverted pleats
  • You can make inverted pleats in pockets, blouses, yokes, dresses and skirts

Knife Pleats

Knife pleats are pleats or fold of fabrics that turn to the same direction. You can sew them in small part or on a full length garment. The type of fabrics that are suitable to use in sewing knife pleats are garbadine, tightly woven wool and linen. Depending on the pleat style you want to make, you can stitch it to hang freely or down.

How To Sew Knife Pleats

  • Use tailor's tacks to mark the pleats positions on the fabric
  • To hold the pleats in place, tack about 5cm pleat to the top before you attach them
  • Remove the tacks after you stitch the pleats in place
  • Press the garment with iron

Accordion Pleats

Accordion pleats are another type of pleats that are best sewn by professional dressmakers. Accordion pleats look like the accordion bellows with narrow folds. These pleats are very tiny and are made on a lengthwise grain that are straight and when you look at it it looks like accordion fold in shape.

Edge Stitched Pleats

You can use edge stitched pleats to make any pleat crease look very tailored and perfect. This stitched pleats are used to hold pleats in place and to add a trim appearance to any pleats. Mostly, this type of pleats are used on flared skirts as the pleats can be done on the bias grain.

How To Sew Edge-stitched Pleats

  • You can create the pleats as in normal pleats
  • Press and tack in place
  • On the folded edge top stitch using sewing machine as you start from the bottom and stitch to the top.
  • To have a perfect edge stitch pleats, make sure that you put the hem first in the garment before you edge stitch.

How To machine stitch A knife Pleat


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    • bizwin profile image

      Christabel Evans 5 years ago from England, UK

      @cloverleafarm, thank you for dropping in and commenting. You are rights, initially to pleat is like learning to drive a spaceship, afterwards it's like you want to make pleats in all your clothes.

      @RNMSN, it's great to know that you learn something out of this hub. Thank you for your comment.

      @Phoebe, it's true, it is difficult to explain, especially put in writing how to do things, but with sewing experience, i just write it as if i'm explaining it to myself. Thank you for passing by.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great hub. I took me forever to get pleats down right. Once you do though, you'll want to pleat

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      Great work! It can be difficult to explain how to sew things sometimes, but you did an excellent job!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      wonderful hub bizwin! I can do the box pleat pretty good for shoulder and back seams but trying to put more than one or two in a row always confounds me! The video really cleared up knife pleats for me. Thanks!