Pleats are folds in fabric designed to remove fullness without removing fabric. Pleats can be functional or decorative, and are most commonly used on garments and upholstery projects like drapery.
Inverted pleats are pleats made from two folds of fabric whose edges meet on a centre line on the right side of the fabric. The folds of fabric invert the pleat from the right side of the fabric to the wrong side, and give the pleat an inverted appearance. To make an inverted pleat, mark three evenly spaced lines on the right side of your fabric. Fold the outer two lines toward the centre line and pin in place. Iron so the pleat lies flat, and secure the pleat by hand sewing or machine sewing across the top.
A box pleat is similar in construction to an inverted pleat in that it is constructed from two folds of fabric that meet on a centre line. Box pleats, however, are worked on the wrong side of the fabric rather than the right side, and are visible from the right side of the fabric. To make a box pleat, mark three evenly spaced lines on the wrong side of your fabric. Fold the outer two lines toward the centre line and pin in place. Iron so the pleat lies flat, and secure the pleat by hand sewing or machine sewing across the top.
A kick pleat is a type of pleat that tapers from the bottom of a garment to the top. They are generally found on skirts, and allow for ease of walking.
Accordion pleats, also called fan pleats or sunburst pleats, are made from two or more box pleats stacked on top of each other. Because they can be bulky, they are usually only used for lightweight fabrics. To make an accordion pleat, work the fabric as for a box pleat, stacking two or more pleats on top of each other (in other words, two sets of pleats that meet at the centre line). Hand sew the top of the pleats and fan out the bottom. Iron to hold the pleats in place, and then hand sew or machine sew to secure.
Knife pleats are pleats folded across a piece of fabric, where all the folds are in the same direction. To make knife pleats, mark a series of evenly spaced lines on the right side of the fabric. Fold the second line over so it touches the first line, and pin to hold into place. Repeat this, stacking the pleats one on top of another until you have folded them all. Iron to hold the pleats in place, then hand sew or machine sew to secure.