Sewing high quality fitted garments on sewing machines often requires the use of several different techniques to shape the fabric. Pleats that are sewn into a garment allow for it to be more fitted in one area, while leaving some give in the fabric below it. Pleats can be sewn with Janome sewing machines such as the Janome 2206  with a bit of practice and are useful when making, skirts, pants, blouses, and other clothing. By using the tips referenced below, almost anyone can create great pleats with their sewing machines that will yield a comfortable, nicely-fitted garment.

What Are Pleats?

Pleating is a sewing technique achieved by folding layers of fabric over themselves so the top part is more fitted, while the bottom part can expand and open up. Pleats can be sewn on most sewing machines, including Janome sewing machines like the Janome 2206. When sewn correctly, they add a stylish and professional touch to many types of garments.

How Are Basic Pleats Sewn?

There are two basic types of pleats that can be sewn on a variety of garments: box pleats and inverted pleats. Both are sewn in almost the same fashion, except for the way in which the fabric is folded. Each pleat begins by making three marks on the fabric, a center placement line and two fold lines. The fabric is folded on the fold lines and drawn to the placement line, with the pleats as wide as the fold lines. The pleats are then sewn as follows:

  • Box Pleats - Box pleats are created by folding the two sides of the fabric to be pleated away from each other so the pleated fabric lays on top of the garment. Starting on the wrong side of the fabric, bring in the sides to form a fold that lays on the back of the fabric, then pin the folds into place. From the front, the folds will be underneath the top part of the pleat, which should look like a box of extra fabric laid over the folds. After both folds are pinned, machine baste the top of the pleat in place and then topstitch if desired. Box pleats are most suitable for the backs of shirts and along the waistband on pleated skirts.
  • Inverted Pleats - Inverted pleats are basically the reverse of box pleats, with the extra fabric being folded underneath the garment. They are created by marking the placement and fold lines on the front of the fabric, then folding the fabric in toward the top of the fabric. As with the box pleat, pin the folds into place and machine baste the top, then topstitch if desired. The results should look like two folds facing each other on top, with the expandable, extra fabric hidden underneath the folds. Inverted pleats are most useful for pants and pleated skirts.

Besides box and inverted pleats, there are other attractive pleats that can be sewn on sewing machines like the Janome 2206. Pleats such as the bias pleat, crystal pleat, knife pleat, and godet pleat are all sewn in slightly different ways and create slightly different layering looks. Pleats sewn on sewing machines such as Janome sewing machines can be practical or decorative depending upon the fabric and the garment. Regardless of the way pleats are used or folded, learning how to sew them is a useful skill a sewer can learn to improve the look and function of their wearable creations!

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