7 Types of Pleats Every Detail-Oriented Dresser Should Know

Do you know the difference between an accordion pleat and a crystal pleat?

Types of pleats - person in pleated skirt
Photo: Getty Images

You may know a pleated dress from a flat one, but do you really know what type of pleat caught your attention? For the shopper with an eye for detail—or anyone looking for that just-right wedding dress—knowing the difference between an accordion pleat and a knife pleat can help you find that just-right article of clothing. (And if you're looking to make your own garment, knowing your pleats is triply important.)

Pleated dresses have been a look-to-try for a while now, but picking the right pleat for your figure (or occasion) can help you avoid a misshapen fashion emergency. Here, we depict seven common types of pleats, plus how to tell them apart, so you can find a pleated look that works for you.

Read on for pictures and descriptions of different types of pleats, and note which ones catch your eye—next time your browsing sewing patterns or clothing racks, you'll be able to put a name to the fold that catches your eye.

01 of 07

Accordion Pleat

Types of pleats - Accordion Pleat picture
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Resembling—you guessed it—the bellows of an accordion, these narrow, often heat-set pleats create a raised zigzag pattern and widen slightly toward the bottom, which is why they're also referred to as sunburst pleats.

02 of 07

Bias Pleat

Types of pleats - Bias Pleat picture
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Pleats made in fabric cut on the diagonal. They're usually stitched down only at the top and left unpressed so that the folds look soft and drapey, similar to what you would see on a Grecian-inspired dress.

03 of 07

Box Pleat

Types of pleats - Box Pleat picture
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Fabric folded to create a wide, flat area at the top. Can be used as a single pleat (for instance, at the back of a shirt yoke) or as a series of pleats (like a cheerleader's skirt).

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Crystal Pleat

Types of pleats - Crystal Pleat picture
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Very fine, sharply pressed pleats that lie flat and overlap each other the way vertical blinds do. You'll often find them spiffing up tuxedo shirts.

05 of 07

Godet Pleat

Types of pleats - Godet Pleat picture
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Hollow, tubular pleats that create a fluted effect. Designers sometimes use them to make a mermaid-style gown flare out toward the bottom hem.

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Inverted Pleat

Types of pleats - Inverted Pleat picture
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Two folds brought to a center point and pressed. An A-line skirt will frequently have a single inverted pleat in the front that forms an upside-down V. A kick pleat at the back of a pencil skirt is a mini version.

07 of 07

Knife Pleat

Types of pleats - Knife Pleat picture
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The most common style, these pressed pleats are generally about one inch apart, all facing the same direction. Usually used in multiples. (Think kilts.)

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