Box Pleat – A Detailed tutorial

How to make simple box pleats and how to determine the width of each fold and the measure of cloth needed to make the folds

What is a box pleat?

This is a pleat with a box shape on the front, with parallel creases facing opposite directions – such a simple explanation for a very versatile pleat. You can make single box pleat, double box pleat, inverted box pleat, all with the base knowledge of how to make the box pleat and all of them makes the fabric folded look special

a box pleated skirt

It is made by folding the fabric so that under edges are turned towards the center back of each pleat. When you look at the back of the fabric you will find two equal folds of fabric folded towards each other and meet with zilch space in between

Pleats are generally added to contain the fullness of the fabric and box pleats does this beautifully. The fabric falls in attractive folds when pleated this way.

Box pleat – Dimensions

As always it is better to start with knowledge – of how much fabric you need to take for all the box pleats you want to make, how many number of pleats should fit in, what should be the width of each pleat etc. Infact, for precise looking box pleats, it is imperative that you start with measurements

The  basic measurements you need for making box pleats

First and formost measure the area you will be attaching the pleats to (without any seam allowance) This is taken as A

How much fabric you should have for making the pleats:

 3 * A  + seam allowances on either side of the fabric edge

What should be the width of each pleat

Decide on the number of pleats you want to fit in there ; take this as B

Determining the width of each pleat is simple : A / B

For eg take the case of a skirt yoke with box pleats attached ( sewing pattern and tutorial for pleated skirt here) – Measure the bottom edge of the yoke (full round) you have finished . Take this as A = 44 . Decide on the number of pleats you want. Take this as B (8 pleats) So A/B = 44/8 = 5.5 inches will be the width of each of the pleat

boxpleats on tops
Box pleats on necklines

How to easily fold the box pleat

After leaving the seam allowance Mark half of the width of the pleat along one edge of the fabric. I have marked from A after leaving 1/2 inch seam allowance. A-B, B-C, C-D etc are marked half of the pleat width of 2 inches each

mark the box pleat dimensions

Fold and bring the second mark (B in the picture) to the first mark A. Then fold C to A. 

fold the fabric according to the dimensions
Press with your nails along the folds
Now carefully Open the second fold – Voila, you have your box pleat

Pin the box pleat in place. You can also use tailor tacks to keep the pleats secure. Start doing the same thing with the next marks.Now C will the starting point instead of A.

fold the fabric into box pleats

After I have pinned all the box pleats I baste stitch with hand sewing stitches or machine stitches taking care that none of the folds are deformed at the back or front.

box pleating

After the whole pleated fabric is basted in place, you have to attach it to wherever you are attaching it to. It is not as simple as sewing together two plain fabrics. You will have to ensure that the folds donot get caught in your stitching at all times

Inverted box pleats : This is nothing but box pleats made the same way as described earlier but made from the back side. In the front of the fabric  now you will get inverted box pleats!

When choosing fabric for box pleats my favourite is to choose it with checkered patterns or striped patterns – lines and measured distances between them gives you easier and accurate folds. Pleating distorts the prints and patterns so if you have a plain fabric or one with lines it is far easier to pleat than pleating with large prints. If you use large prints, they maynot match and can look distorted.

Related posts :  How to sew a Box Pleated Skirt with yoke : Free sewing pattern 

sew box pleated skirt with yoke

10 Names of different types of pleats ; How to sew Kick pleats. ; Names for pleated skirts

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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