Accordion pleats or knife pleats are uniform-width folds stitched on a blouse, skirt or dress -- extending to the bottom of the garment. They are also characterised by a very sharp, crisp appearance. Creating accordion pleats as you sew a garment is not a complicated process, as long as you measure precisely and mark each measurement. However, accordion pleating requires three times as much fabric for garments such as A-line skirts. For example, a skirt that is 36 inches around at its bottom hem will require 108 inches -- or three yards -- of fabric.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sewing machine or needle
- Straight pins
- Pen or dressmaker's chalk
Lay the fabric flat in front of you.
Measure along the edge of the fabric that will be the top hem of the garment, or the beginning of the pleats. Accordion pleats have a 3-to-1 ratio, which means that for every visible pleat, there is twice as much fabric folded beneath it that is not visible. If you want 1-inch pleats, measure 1 inch, then 2 inches, and repeat. Mark each measurement. Do this across the entire hem.
Use the scissors to make a very small cut along the marked hem at each mark. Each snip should be roughly one-quarter inch, but you do not need to measure them or be exact.
Pinch up the fabric, and match the first cut to the second. The first 1-inch section will be visible, and the first 2-inch section will fold in half beneath it. Hold down the fold. At the edge, the fold will look like a Z.
Pin the pleat in place with a straight pin. Run it vertically through the middle of the pleat so it is parallel to the line marks on each side of it. The first 1-inch section should now be pinned down next to the second 1-inch section.
Repeat the folding process with the second 1-inch section to form another Z-fold. Pin it into place.
Repeat the folding process until you have folded and pinned the entire skirt.
Iron the pleats. Lightly press the pleats beginning at the top of the fabric where you placed the pins. Iron until the fabric holds the pleats on its own.
Sew a hem one-quarter inch in from the top edge of the fabric. Sew over the pleats, stitching them into place. Remove the straight pins as you go.
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