Pleats refer to a type of fold that’s formed by doubling a fabric upon itself and then securing it into place. Commonly used in clothing and upholstery, pleats help gather a wider piece of fabric into a smaller circumference.
Needless to mention, pleats give garments more stylish and feminine looks. They’re simply the best embellishments for girls clothing. And in some cases, they make a garment much easier to wear.
The purpose of coming up with this post is to walk you through the different types of pleats used by sewists across the globe.
Let’s get into the details…
Knife pleats are popular in the dressmaking industry. They earn their name from the way they look—sharp, crisp folds running down the entire pleat length.
It’s also worth noting that all the knife pleats face the same direction.
Although these types of pleats are a bit time-consuming to create, you can easily accomplish them with proper marking and pressing. The end results are also amazing!
These pleats look like knife plates…and most people even confuse the two. However, there’s a distinct difference between the two in that the accordion pleats face opposite directions.
Unfortunately, accordion pleats a bit trickier to make and are seldom used in sewing.
Boxed pleats are folded in such a way that they meet at the top while the rest part of the pleat stays open. These pleats are widely used for fitting, e.g. on the back of a jacket. They can also be used in the place of gathers.
Since these pleats are incredibly easy to learn and create, all beginner sewers interested in pleats clothing should consider them as their beginning point.
Keep in mind that the easiest fabrics to make boxing pleats with include the wool, cotton, and linen. This is because these materials can be easily pressed with heat before being sewn into place.
Inverted pleats are a result of placing two knife pleats facing each other. They’re also referred to as box pleat inside out.
These pleats find wide usage in skirts and uniforms.
These are inverted pleats that are joined along the fold edges, just a short distance from top. When used in skirts, kick pleats are joined all the way up to the hips section.
You’ll usually find kick pleats in pencil skirts.
Cartridge pleats are simply round pleats. They’re popular with the door and window curtains since they provide good drape as well as fullness. Fabrics with firm, heavy construction can also be used with cartridge pleats.
Sunray pleats, also known as sunburst pleats, are usually placed at the center of a garment. They originate from the waist, from where they gradually spread out.
The pleats are best suited for synthetic fabrics or blends containing a higher proportion of synthetic fibers (say over 50%) to help sustain the pleats. Wedding dresses and circular skirts also make use of the sunray pleats.
The perfect example of this type of pleat is the sari pleats.
Honeycomb pleats are used to describe the narrow, rolled up pleats usually used as a founding for smocking. These pleats are plain strange and look like honeycombs (hence the name).
The pleat is used in today’s sewing world as a basis of smocking.
Despite their strange and complex looks, these pleats make clean and chic designs and they’re able to easily glam an outfit two folds. Likewise, they deliver an exotic look when used in upholstery.
These are parallel rows of softly, larger rounded pleats that resemble the pipe or pipe organ. Their looks are behind the reason why they’re referred to as organ pleats.
Experts suggest that these pleats are designed by inserting one or more gores into the panel of the given fabric.
These pleats look beautiful when used in gowns, where the organ pleats will fall beautifully down your waist.
These are pleats set in silk. They trace their origin all the way to the early 20th century to a designer by the name Mariano Fortuny.
Interestingly, the designer of this pleat used a secret pleat setting process which is yet to be understood.
This is a type of pleat where a large amount of fabric is neatly gathered into smaller area with the aim of creating long, tubular pleats from pleated point to the fabric end.
These pleats require more fabric to create compared to the knife and box pleats.
There you have it! These are the most common types of pleats used by sewers across the globe.
As you can see from our discussion above, different types have different applications depending on the type of fabric and your specific needs.
Most of the pleats are also easy to make, even for newbies, and are sure to give your clothing that feminine, classic appearance you’re looking for.