How Do I Accordion Pleat?

Written by grace riley
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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

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Straight pins
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Pen or dressmaker's chalk

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  1. 1

    Lay the fabric flat in front of you.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    Repeat the folding process with the second 1-inch section to form another Z-fold. Pin it into place.

  7. 7

    Repeat the folding process until you have folded and pinned the entire skirt.

  8. 8

    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.

  9. 9

    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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