Knife pleats are a nice way of gathering fabric that looks elegant from its classical cuts and lines. They might be a little tricky to do for a beginner, so I’ve made this list of tips to guide you as you make your knife pleats!
Knife Pleats: 7 Easy Peasy Tips in Making Knife Pleats
Knife pleats, or side pleats, are my favorite kind of pleating. They look clean and classic, giving the garment or home decor an element of timeless beauty to them. For beginners, knife pleats may look a little intimidating to make. I mean, it looks like there are lots of pleats to fold and sew over! But don’t worry, I’ve made this list of tips to make pressing, folding, and sewing knife pleats a lot easier! Read on to learn more.
1. Use a Strip of Paper as a Guide
In a regular pattern, like the one shown above, the dashed lines mean they have to be folded and pinned to the adjacent solid line. This pattern makes four pleats.
Tip: To make it easier for you, you can use a strip of paper cut in your desired width to guide you. Place your paper strip over your fabric and fold your fabric according to your paper’s width. Easy!
2. Give Your Pleats Enough Spaces in Between
As you fold your knife pleats, make sure you space each pleat properly. The gaps help define each pleat as much as the folds do. Space them too closely and you’ll be making an accordion stacked together. (If that’s what you’re going for, then sure.)
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Fabric to Go On
When you fold your pleats, your fabric shortens. If you’re doing a pillow, you may add to your fabric by sewing an extra length to it. But when you’re making a dress, you might want to compute how much fabric you’ll be needing before you start folding.
4. Your Choice of Fabric Matters
If you want your pleats to really stand out, choose your fabric wisely. Cotton fabrics are easier to press and the folds hold on much longer. Knit fabric, however, is softer and its folds hold poorly in it.
5. Press Your Pleats With the Highest Heat Temperature
In pressing your pleats, you can go as hot as your fabric allows you to. This gets the folds down quickly and effectively. Make sure you don’t go over the temperature your fabric can handle or else you’ll burn your fabric.
6. Sew in the Direction of Your Knife Pleats
To sew your pleats, you’re going to make a basting stitch first to get every pleat into place. Go in the direction of the pleats, not against. Aside from this being easier for you, it lessens the chance of your pleats getting ruined.
7. Make a Narrow Hem or an Overcast Stitch to Avoid Bulky Hems
In some garments, knife pleats have hems that are free to move. In cases like these, make a narrow hem or an overcast stitch to avoid having hems that are too bulky.
To learn more about how to make knife pleats, watch this video from Professor Pincushions for a step-by-step tutorial:
Wasn’t that easy? Learning how to make knife pleats don’t need to be painful for you! As you go along sewing them, you might even discover a tip or two to make the process even easier.
Do you know other tips on pressing, folding, and sewing knife pleats? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to discover other beautiful ways on how to gather fabric? Check out How To Gather Fabric Using A Sewing Machine!
Featured Image via cotswoldcollections