Different Types of pleats
Pleats are classic, there is no two way about it. They look extremely feminine and enticing. I think pleats make the perfect embellishment for girls’ clothing.
Pleats are basically folds formed in fabric, usually as a means of gathering a wide piece of fabric to fit another one of narrower proportions. They are different from gathering in that the folds in pleats are wider, and they are formed and pinned in place before sewing.
When you sew your own clothes you are creating your own couture and have the luxury of making these coveted pleats. What you get in store brought clothes are machine made pleats but now you can hand pleat to glory. There are many types of pleats but the types given below are the most popular and commonly used pleats.
These are firmly pressed hand made pleats, which are all facing one direction. They are the most used pleats and are mostly seen all around the waistband of skirts.
Accordion Pleats are machine made knife pleats. The pleats formed by the machine remain permanent even after washing and ironing. Sunburst pleats are beautiful Accordion pleats which are narrow at the top and gets bigger as it goes down to the hem; this pleats give a nice flared effect and is very popular. Crystal pleats are very fine knife pleats usually found in tuxedo shirts. These are narrow, sharply pressed pleat set at 90-degree angles from the fabric
Box pleats are basically knife pleats formed towards opposite directions. They can also be formed one on top of the other (stacked) forming double box pleats.These pleats are full length pleats which are rectangular in shape.
These pleats are formed by placing two knife pleats facing each other. You can also call it a box pleat inside out.
These are inverted pleats joined along the fold edges a short distance from the top. In skirts the kick pleats are joined till the hips.
These are thin pleats which are usually placed in the center of the garment. A good example is the pleats of a sari.
Pleats are said to have originated from the Egyptians. Those Cartridge pleats around the necks of the English queen is testimony that pleats have been in fashion all along. Can you imagine a kid’s dress or skirt without a pleat. Blouses without pleats or gathers look so plain.
There are many kinds of pleating which I think is best attempted by professionals. Some of them like pinch pleating, contortion pleating all create interesting effects. But as of now if you are a beginner, start with these pleats and they will not disappoint you.
Tips on sewing pleats
Always mark the pleats and sew. The pleat lines should be marked with chalk at the fold and center mark. You can draw 1 inch mark for this.
Pin all the pleats – Use plenty of pins to pin the pleats together.Use the pins vertically. If there are two folds together as in an inverted pleat, use one each on either side o the folds.
Press the pleats in place after pinning. Pressing will keep them in place and you will be able to sew neater pleats because of the crispier folds you get after pressing with a steam iron
Basting is an optional step which you should do if you feel even a small doubt that you will bungle when sewing. Basting stitches can be easily removed ( use a stitch length of 4-5) and saves you lots of time you will be spending removing the stitches if somehow the pleats shifted despite of the pins. The basting stitches should be done 1/4 inch from the fabric edge.