Hi! I’m Rachel and I have a recently-rediscovered passion for sewing.
After suffering what can only be described as a brain freeze when putting in the pleats for my Belladone dress I have decided that I need the practice and so have put together a little tutorial which I hope will be of use not only for myself but for my readers as well. Today’s Cheatsheet is the first of a series of posts walking you through the humble pleat.
To begin we will be looking at the inverted box pleat which is a key feature of my next make Deer and Doe’s Chardon skirt. The Chardon features no less than nine inverted box pleats making it the perfect opportunity for pleat practice!
Inverted box pleats are formed on the wrong side of the fabric, therefore we need to ensure all foldlines and pattern markings are made on this side of the garment.
Continuing to work on the wrong side, fold the fabric so that each set of foldlines meet to form a seam or underfold; the Chardon includes some very useful arrows to help with this. Pin and/or baste the fabric together at the foldline to secure the seam ready for stitching like so:
It is worth taking your time at this point so you can ensure that the folds are straight and correctly matched. I tested my pleat by folding it to one side of the fabric and checked to see that the top seam matched the top of skirt piece.
Once you are happy with the placement of your pleats it is time to stitch them in place following the instructions in your pattern.
Stitching complete, press the underfold of your pleat flat against the wrong side of the fabric. Turning the fabric to the right side, press again.
Here are my well pressed underfolds:
To keep those pleats firmly in place I would recommend topstitching on both sides of the foldline. With tailors chalk or a strategically placed pin, mark your starting point on the fabric. I would recommend starting from the bottom of the foldline and working your way upwards towards the waistline. This will flatten out the fabric and prevent any unwanted puckering.
Here I am topstitching my skirt with a 0.25 inch seam allowance.
Happy? Your pleats should look like so:
Have you tried making inverted box pleats? Let me know how you got on.