Types Of Pleats And How To Make Pleats – Types Of Pleats And Tucks

Types Of Pleats And How To Make Pleats – Types Of Pleats And Tucks

Pleats are the folds made on fabric by usually gathering the wide piece of cloth to fit narrower proportions. Pleats help in giving the clothing texture, shape, and volume. To create pleats, one has to start by gathering the desired length of fabric followed by pinning them in place, and lastly sewing. 

The earliest evidence of pleats dates back to the times before ancient Egypt. At present, there are several types of pleats depending on the different patterns used for the gathering in the folds. In this article, we will discuss the various types of famous pleats.

Regular Pleat Formation

The folds of pleats turn a wider piece of fabric into a narrower circumference. Pleats are created merely by doubling the fabric back on top of it and securing it using pins. 

The pleats fall under the category of “pressed fabric” because the fabric is either ironed or heat-pressed to create a sharp crease. One can also create soft rounded folded pleats by not pressing. Tuck is the pleat or folds sewn into place. The following are the different types of pleats and a brief description of how to create them.

1. Knife Pleats 

One of the most well-known types of pleats observed on the waistband of skirts is the knife pleats. The wearer gets a slim look because of the knife pleats. One can easily move by wearing knife-pleated skirts for the pleats hand loosely on the body. ‘Flat pleats’ is the other name for knife pleats because they typically overlap with each other and travel in one direction. 

To create this pleated one will have to make two folds of equal width, one on the inside (under pleat) and the other on the outside (over pleat). You can sharply press the knife pleats to create a prominent crease on the fabric. For creating a versatile and classy look, you can always rely on knife pleats.

2. Accordion Pleats

As you might have guessed, the resemblance of the pleats to the bellows of an accordion is the reason behind giving it the name ‘accordion pleats’. This type of pleats can fit well on most body frames and sizes. Accordion pleats are machine-made permanent knife pleats that remain the same even after washing and ironing. 

Sunburst Pleats (Sunray Pleats) are a type of accordion pleats where an individual creates zig-zag patterns on a semicircular piece of fabric by these heat-set pleats that widen out towards the bottom.

3. Graduated Pleats

Graduated Pleats

These pleats are flat or flared pleats, and it is the name of the machine-made knife pleats. The difference between standard flat pleats and graduated pleats is the width of the under pleats. It is because the width of under pleats in the graduated pleats type varies from the hip to the hem. The graduation of the flared feature of the pleats created in the fabric adds an elegant yet trendy aspect to the garments.

4. Crystal Pleats 

Crystal Pleats 

Crystal pleats are the delicate knife pleats that are common on men’s shirts like tuxedo shirts. To create the crystal pleats, you have to create narrow folds and sharply heat-press setting it at a 90-degrees angle from the fabric. Also, the pleats should measure 2 or 3 mm on both sides. The fabric with crystal pleat gets an exquisite and stylish texture.  

5. Box Pleats

Box Pleats

To make box pleats, you will have to fold the piece of fabric repeatedly back on itself which will form a series of pleats. Box pleats are knife pleats with folds in the opposite direction. 

This style of pleats rose to popularity in the 1940s when designers were experimenting with women’s fashion to bring styles that are more playful and exaggerated. Since the box pleats give a fuller and voluptuous look, in today’s time, it is the style of pleats rarely opted for in clothing.  

6. Inverted Pleats

Inverted Pleats

The trend of inverted pleats started around the 1920s. Inverted pleats are basically box pleats inside out (the back of the box pleats will look similar to what the inverted pleats look in the front). You have to bring two folds in a line in the center of either the front or back of the clothing (skirt say) to create inverted pleats. Knee lengths skirts with inverted pleats are very popular among designs.

7. Kick Pleats 

Kick Pleats 

If we are to join the inverted pleats along the fold edges that are a short distance from the top, then we will get kick pleats. In 1940, designers added kick pleats to the back of some traditional tighter-fitting skirts to make movement in them easier and provide comfort to the wearer. Kick pleats now are most common on the shorter side as they lead up from the bottom of the hem.

8. Fancy Pleats 

Fancy Pleats 

One can observe a lot of variation in the history of fancy pleats. These pleats come in all sorts of styles and have the space for experimentation. As a designer, you can create fancy pleats out of your imagination to give volume or texture to your clothing. There are several websites you can explore for inspiration while creating fancy pleats.

9. Sari Pleats 

Sari Pleats 

The most common garment to craft sari pleats is on the Indian ethnic clothing, a sari or saree. These pleats are primarily thin (like sunray pleats) that are at the center of the garment. We tuck the top end of the sari pleats, and the bottom remains flare. On removing the drapes of the garment, the pleats disappear too if not set using a pin.

10. Pintucks


Pintucks are the small pleats stitched along the length of fabric. This type of subtle pleats is commonly noticed on the front of tuxedo shirts. Pintucks add texture and dimension to the fabric rather than giving volume to the clothing like other pleats. 

Even though we create pintucks by sewing the pleats but often the stitching is not visible from far. For sewing the folds quite closely together, the stitching goes unnoticed. Hence, pintucks give people the illusion of being tiny fold pleats.

Final Note

A lot more can be discussed if we go on to describe further each type of pleat and its history. However, in this article, we have provided a great deal of information about the types of pleats. 

You can additionally search about how to make the types of pleats mentioned in this article. Hope this article will inspire and help the readers to create beautifully pleated attires.  

How many types of pleats are there?

There are 6 main types of pleats used to create shape and volume in clothing and home decor sewing projects. This tutorial will show you examples and drawings of the different types of pleats and how they can be used. For truly creative and unique pieces, different pleats may be used in conjunction or layered.

What is pleating in decoration?

Pleating is the process of putting a design of creases into fabric. Accordion, side, box, inverted, sunburst, air-tuck, Van Dyke, and crystal are trade terms for some pleat designs. Pleating is accomplished by machine or by the use of interlocking paper pleat patterns.

What is a basic pleat?

Pleats are a type of fold in fabric that can take on many different looks. A basic pleat is when the fabric is folded back on itself, thereby creating an accordion-like appearance. However, pleats come in many shapes and sizes. 

What is the name of pleats?

Plissé originally referred to fabric that had been woven or gathered into pleats and has also been known as crinkle crêpe. It takes its name from the French word for fold. Today, it is a lightweight fabric with a crinkled, puckered surface, formed in ridges or stripes.

What is an action pleat?

The action back consists of a pleat on each side, extending from the shoulder seam or yoke, over the shoulder blade, and finishing at the waist. The extra fabric in the pleat allows the wearer to move his or her arms forward for strenuous activity. 

What is a mushroom pleat?

Mushroom pleats are random and may be tighter or looser pleats throughout the yardage. This fabric is reminiscent of Fortuny pleats, with the advantage of being washable and packable. It stays pleated. Pleated along the width of the fabric (horizontally), and can be used in any direction.

What are crystal pleats?

Definition of crystal pleat : any of a series of narrow sharply pressed pleats all turned in one direction.

How do you make a kiss pleat?

What is straight pleat?

Accordion Pleats Straight It looks like an accordion because it is formed by two pleats which both have the same length. It’s a form of tight pleating which allows the garment to expand its shape when moving. his form of pleating inspired the “”skirt dancing”” of Loie Fuller. 

What is the difference between pleat and fold?

While folds are formed by uniformly gathering fabric along a seam or a hemline, pleats are formed by doubling fabric back on itself and securing it in place.

What is box pleat opening?

Box pleats are made up of two knife pleats facing away from each other or, in other words, they are formed when two folds of fabric are folded away from each other giving a wide vertical pleat. They are often used as stand-alone pleats on the back of a shirt or as a series of pleats on skirts or dresses.

What is pleats and tucks?

Pleats are an unstitched, folded dart held securely along the joining seam line. Tucks are narrow folds in the fabric and are used to control fullness and shape the garment. Tucks are usually formed on the outside of a garment but can be stitched on the inside as well. 

What is a kick pleat stitch?


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