How to Care for Clothing With Pleats or Ruffles
Heat-set pleats: Generally speaking, take these items to a dry cleaner. However, if your garment is made of a synthetic fabric, you can safely steam it.
Knife-pleated skirt: Lay the skirt on an ironing board and attach a paper clip to each pleat’s fold to keep it in place; clip about three at a time (shown, top right). Place the iron at the top of the pleat and burst the steam. Pick up the iron and set it down again farther down the pleat. (Don’t drag it across the fabric or the pleats will pucker.) Repeat on the rest of the pleats. Avoid ironing over the clips.
Tuxedo shirt: Turn the shirt inside out and iron the backs of the pleats, then turn the shirt right-side out, press down on several pleats, and give them a burst of steam. Pick up the iron and set it down again farther down the pleats. Repeat.
Soft folds: Use a steamer, because an iron will create hard creases. As you skim the steamer over the fabric, carefully hold the slack fabric straight with your free hand. No steamer? Spritz the garment with a wrinkle-release spray (try The Laundress Crease Release, $8 for two ounces, thelaundress.com), smooth out the fabric with your hands, and hang to dry (shown, bottom right).
How to Store
“Everything needs to hang,” says designer Rebecca Taylor. Give pleated pieces some breathing room to prevent crimping.