How to Pleat Organza

Trend cycles rotate faster than NASCAR tires. No matter what your body type may be, certain design elements keep your wardrobe on track. Romanticism is in vogue, inspired by the versatility of flirty, sheer, lightweight fabrics like organza and lace. Shaping devices like darts and pleats add motion and fullness to any dress as easily as mark, fold and press.

Choose a pleat type: knife (pressed in one direction, usually 1/2 to 1 inch apart,) box (folded to face each other) or inverted (starts at centre front and folds out toward side seams.) Choose a pleat style: soft (steamed not pressed) or crisp (pressed.) Consider the type of fullness you want to create.

Setting the iron on the silk setting, turn the steam on and press the organza. Using the ruler as a guide (pinning alongside the ruler for a straight line) and starting on the left side of the fabric, mark your pleat folds with silk pins from the waist to the hem (1 inch apart.) Again using the ruler as a guide, make a dotted line 1/2 inch to the right of the straight pin pleat line with ball-head pins from the waist to the hem. Remove the ruler.

Fold the edge of the silk pin pleat guideline over to the dotted ball head straight pin guideline. Finger press the pleat then remove the silk pins and press the pleat guideline next to the dotted ball head straight pin line. Set the pleat by pinning it into place, repressing and repeating to the edge of the fabric. Machine baste at the waistline, remove the pins and edge stitch from the waistline down 1/2 to 1 inch on each pleat.


Use a pressing cloth to avoid burning the fabric. Maintain cutting, marking, and stitching accuracy to ensure uniform appearance of the pleats. Consider testing pleats on muslin or practice fabric. Check your iron setting before you begin and ensure that the steam is turned on when you press. Add a 1-inch seam allowance to the fabric.


Incorrect iron settings can burn your fabric. Mistakes can distort the waistline of your skirt by up to an inch. Steam can cause third degree burns. Consider hemming the garment before pleating it.

Things You'll Need

  • Organza
  • Serrated scissors
  • Silk pins
  • Straight pins with ball head
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Narrow straight presser foot
  • Universal point needle
  • Lingerie thread
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About the Author

Ebony Adell has been writing professionally since 2010. She specializes in fashion, art, design and product development. Adell holds a Bachelor of Arts in apparel product development from Mount Mary College.