7 Types of Pleats Every Detail-Oriented Dresser Should Know
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Hollow, tubular pleats that create a fluted effect. Designers sometimes use them to make a mermaid-style gown flare out toward the bottom hem.
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.
The most common style, these pressed pleats are generally about one inch apart, all facing the same direction. Usually used in multiples. (Think kilts.)