How do I sew pleated fabrics?

Posted by Sarah Wadey
on March 06, 2022

Ever had your eye on a fancy fabric but unsure how to sew and finish it?

That’s how I felt about plisse pleats but I was determined to find out how to make this gorgeous fabric look it’s best! 

Plisse pleated fabric top

This fabric needed a simple style with minimal seams to allow the plisse pleats to gently skim the body. 

I first discovered how amazing pleated fabrics could look in a simple style when I made my Quick 30-minute elasticated waist skirt

I loved working with a fabric that did all the talking! 

So I knew I needed to design a simple classic top to make this pleated fabric sing! 

I designed this pattern for Love Sewing Magazine, a simple v-neck top, created to showcase this fantastic pleated polyester fabric.

You can find this pattern in issue 105 of Love Sewing Magazine - buy your copy here! 

So, what did I learn about sewing pleated fabrics?

First, as it’s a tightly woven polyester, I found using a fine microtex needle prevented snags and skipped stitches.

I also needed to change my overlocker needle to a nice new sharp one to overcome this! 

The pleated fabric likes nice long stitches, so the pleats have room to nestle into each other between the stitches a little. I elongated the straight stitch length to 3.5mm to join the seams.

I decided to use an exposed overlock stitch at the hems. I tried turning the hem up but it was bulky and wobbly and not to my taste. I found simply finishing the edge with a 3 thread, narrow overlock stitch gave the neatest result. 

And that’s it really! Go for a simple style with minimal curved sewing lines and you’ll love sewing plisse pleated fabric too! 

Happy Sewing!