One of the more challenging aspects of making clothing with sewing machines at home is getting the perfect fit.
Pleating is an age-old technique that has been used in countless clothing styles to do just that. The right pleat can transform loose, frumpy fabric into a perfectly fitted dress or pair of slacks depending on the pleat used.
What Are Pleats?
Pleats are folds sewn into fabric to either create fullness or make a more precise fit. They are used on everything from skirts and dresses to pants and shirts, positioned anywhere that some precise fitting is required.
Done in many different ways, pleats give garments a good fit and are a main component of garments sewn on sewing machines in certain fashion styles.
As versatile as they are, without pleats everyone would have to wear loose, baggy clothing that was uncomfortable and looked messy. Pleats are a critical sewing element and a technique that all sewists should learn how to make.
How Are Pleats Made?
Although each of the many different pleats you can make with your Juki HZL-DX5 involve a slightly different process, the basic technique is still the same. Fabric is folded forward and back in specific ways to either take the fabric in or create texture and fullness when sewn in place.
The top of the fold is usually sewn into a waistband or bottom of a top while the bottom is left to lay naturally or allowed to open up depending on the garment style.
What Are The Different Types of Pleats?
There are countless types of pleats that have been used for different purposes and in different garments throughout the years. The most common and popular ones that you may find in patterns to sew on Juki sewing machines include:
- Knife Pleats - Crisp back and forth folds of the same width that show the top side of each fold while hiding the back. Used commonly in skirts and dresses to add some style and comfort, knife pleats are usually at least an inch wide and can be much wider.
- Accordion Pleats - Accordion pleats are basically very small knife pleats, usually about ½” wide.
- Sunray Pleats - Another version of the knife pleat, sunray pleats are ;made by making smaller folds at the top of the fabric and angling it out to make wider folds at the bottom. This is an attractive pleat for skirts and dresses that have a small waist yet spread out into a much wider and fuller bottom.
- Box Pleats and Inverted Box Pleats - Box pleats are pleats made by folding two wide knife pleats away from each other as opposed to in the same direction. Usually set in the front of a garment, a single box pleat with the folds under the waistband offers fullness in the front. Inverted pleats are made by folding the knife pleats forward instead of backward, creating a fitted, drawn-in look with the fullness behind them.
- Godet Pleats - Godet pleats are made by sewing a triangular piece of fabric into the garment with the point set into the waist and the widest part at the bottom. This unique pleat creates flowing fullness without the sharp folds common with other pleats. Godets look amazing on flowing skirts and dresses made with softer fabric that has a natural fall to it.
Pleating is a technique that anyone sewing clothing with sewing machines like the Juki HZL-DX5 should learn to improve fit and add great style to their clothing. Stitched on high-quality Juki sewing machines, the right pleat can transform a constricting garment into one that is comfortable to wear and looks great, too!