Are you in the mood for pleats this summer? Well, I know I am! With Mood’s amazing stretch linen and free Vernal Jumpsuit pattern, you will be the talk of the town. This pattern is easy to hack into a dress and a fun way to test your pleating skills, which can change depending on your pleat style. Not only is linen a great fabric choice for this dress, but I would also suggest trying cotton, double cotton gauze, crepe, and voile.
First, let’s get into basic types of pleats and how to make them.
Pleats that go in one direction.
Accordion pleats are evenly spaced-out pleats. These are normally done by a machine rather than by hand.
A box pleat is a pleat is when the fabric is folded away from each other.
How to calculate the pleats for a box pleat. Measure your waist and divide that by the number of pleats you want. Since each pleat takes 3 times the width, multiply your waist number to get how much fabric is needed to complete your skirt.
Example: Size 10, Waist 27″
27 divided by 10 = 2.7″ pleats
27″ x 3 = 81″
81″ = 2 yards 9″ = 2.25 yards
How the skirt above was calculated:
Knife Pleated Skirt
Original WL 27″
Dropped WL 32″
Note: all seams are 1/2″ unless indicated otherwise
For the basic pleat, you will need to measure your waist, then multiply by 3, and then add your seam allowance for the back. Each pleat regardless of the size will have three layers of fabric, the top layer, middle layer (the fold), and bottom layer.
Note: it will be easier to hem your fabric before forming the pleats.
Example: 1″ knife pleat
32″ x 3 = 96″
96″ + 1″ + 1″ = 98″
Total yardage is 2 yards 26″ for the pleated part of the skirt. For narrow fabrics, you might want to double the amount of yardage because of how wide the fabric is.
Tip: If your fabric is too narrow or want your stripes to be vertical, find your length of the skirt, cut two sections out, then sew them together.
For this skirt, I made 1″ pleats using the knife pleats. To mark the pleats, measure 1″ across the length of the fabric using pins. Once that is completed, start folding and pressing in one direction. Once the pleats are all pinned and pressed, sew a line across to secure them. (Follow the direction of your pleats when sewing). Then edge stitch down 3″ on each pleat. Note you are going through all the layers.
As an alternative option, you can edge stitch down the entire pleat on the fold line. This will ensure that the folds will not disappear when washing. (Note, you are not going through all the layers of the fabric, just sewing on the fold).
The process for making the template mark between the center back seams at 1in or whatever you want your pleat size to be. Once marked, I would label them 1,2,3 so you know what to fold.
Tip: If the fabric is stripped or is plaid like I used, then you could use the fabric as a guide for the pleats.
- Make notches at the top of your fabric 1in apart
- Tailor tacks (which would take forever to do)
- Mark with chalk and do dots instead of a whole line (because of smearing onto the fabric).
- Use two colors of pins, one color will be the initial color, the other will be the color that is getting folded.