How To

Dressmaking, Featured, How To

How To : Make Perfect Pleats with a Pleating Board

After working on a few pleating projects (including the pleated Kate dress) I started to wonder how I could make the pleating process easier. Measuring those pleats, pinning them down and ironing them just to find they weren’t quite right was getting to be really frustrating. So it was around that time the light bulb above my head switched on and I had my Dragons Den moment (or not quite because this isn’t an original idea – boo) – I needed a template to run the pleats through! Bingo.

After a couple of attempts, I got quite a good at churning these things out and heres how you can do it too -



Strong spray adhesive = £4.99 Long ruler
Lining paper = £1.19 Pen
Scrap material = free Scissors
Iron and ironing board
Big table

materials needed

  • Cut a length of lining paper to your desired length.

I cut mine at 1 metre but you could go longer or shorter depending on what you’re making.

  • Mark the pleat folds along the sides of your lining paper.

Now you’ll need to make a decision on what size you want your pleats to be when finished. In these pictures I’ve used 35mm:20mm as my measurements. This means the pleat will look like a nice medium sized pleat – think gym skirt.

Allow for approx 2mm difference as your pleats won’t be the exact same lengths as your board.

marking the pleats

  • Lightly score a line along every fold.

This means, join up your marks and run a pair of scissors across just to make life that little bit easier when you come to fold the pleats. Scissors are perfect as they are not too sharp – just watch your pinkies!

scoring the pleats

scored pleats

  • Fold the scored lines in opposite directions to make the zig zag pleat formation.

Now this is the tricky bit. I used the edge of a table to find the score line and make sure the fold was completely in line. It’s easy to fold the paper in the wrong place or fold it in the wrong direction so be patience – it’s anti inflammatories worth spending extra time on this part.

pleated paper

  • Gather your paper pleats and iron the folds down.

Sounds easy enough right? No! Those pleats will not want to be gathered! Take your time, then when you’ve got them all in your hand get ‘em ironed in to place on the hottest steamiest setting you have.

pleated paper

  • Glue one side of your gathered pleats to a sheet of material.

I’d advise using a strong carpet glue for this bit. You could use PVA but this would wet the paper and take a long to dry – with you pressing down…far too time consuming. I used a heavy duty spray adhesive (cost £4.99 from haberdashery shop) that’s made for upholstery – does the job perfectly! It’s not wet, really easy to spray on both the paper and the material, no chance of the two surface becoming unstuck and it does not react to heat.

I’ve used some material that I’ve had folded up for years and will never find a project for, but it’s nice to use something interesting to give your pleating board some personality. When it’s glued, cut away the excess material. Then iron the life out of it until you are happy the the pleats are nice and sharp.

Apologies for lack of photography on this section (was far to involved to remember to take pictures!). You can view this section in the video below at 4:10 s.

strong adhesive spray

  • Tuck the material you wish to pleat into the paper folds and iron once in place.

Use a ruler or credit card to make sure the fabric is tightly tucked into the pleating board.

creating pleats

ironing pleats

  • Bend the pleating board to release the pleats and enjoy!
Voila! How easy was that? Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

pleated fabric

end of the pleating board

reverse of the pleating board

While your at it, why not make a few more pleating boards with varying sizes of pleats – it’ll be worth it the next time you want to make tiny tiny pleats for that urgent dress! Good luck!

multiple boards for different sizes of pleats

Nicole @ beaufrog

Dressmaking, Featured, How To

Kate Middleton, the talk of the country, can’t put a foot wrong when it comes to fashion.

For her first day as a Princess she choose to wear high street brand Zara, also worn by her sister Pippa and most recently the PM’s wife – the fashion label of the sophisticated ladies.

Kate Middleton wearing a blue Zara dress

Naturally, when I heard the royal blue dress was from Zara I jumped straight on the website (as did my sister I later found!) to find it was sold out in all sizes.

End of that then. But no I thought, this is just a simple under dress with a pleated bit of float stitched on top. Simple I thought, I’ll make one!

Here goes the story…


How To : Make Kate’s Blue Dress

The actual dress -

Blue Zara Dress

Nicole’s beaufrog dress -

Nicoles beaufrog royal blue kate middleton dress



3 meters of Royal Georgette Polyester = £6.45 Sewing Machine
1.5 meters of lightweight cotton = £4 Mannequin
1 cute blue button = 11p Pattern making book / pattern
Blue thread = £1.15 Iron and ironing board
Lot’s and lot’s of pins!

First of I had to understand the structure of the dress and plan the base. I used the bible that is Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich to create the pattern for a simple dress.

This book allows to create the basic pattern for almost anything, it’s all about learning the basic block then adapting it for your design.

making the pattern for the dress

Traditionally a dressmaker would create the pattern on tissue paper but I created this one on the computer  (in Illustrator) then printed it out across A4 paper and taped it together.

From this pattern, you can then create your basic underdress, tweaking the darts, shoulder, neckline and length on the mannequin.

making the under dress

Creating the pleats was the trickiest part of the make. I created 1 inch wide pleats on the sewing machine then ironed in the pleats while pinned down on the ironing board. Lot’s of effort went into creating them but I knew the dress just would not compete without perfect pleats.

sewing the pleats

I then attached the pleated material to the under dress sewing wrong sides together. The shoulders of the under dress had to be unpicked then re-sewn with the pleating. On the back of the dress there is a cute little button with a loop to secure it.

close up of the back of the dress

close up on the hem and the waist

Finally, a hem was placed on the under and over skirt. Creating the hem allowed the dress to be more fluid and floaty.

the front and back of the dress

The finished royal blue kate dress

Teamed with a smart blazer and belt, I have a dress good enough for a Princess!

final dress

So there you go, that’s my interpretation of the Kate dress.

Hope you enjoyed watching this come to life and look out for my follow up post where you’ll see the dress actually modelled.

Nicole @ beaufrog

How To

How To : Decorative Wall Hanging

This is my first How To so here goes…

Phase one of Project Art Room is to create a comfortable desk area from which I can blog. After moving the furniture around the room a couple of times, I settled on an alcove space next to the fireplace.

I took a step back and decided, this is all very practical but it’s missing some kind of creative energy – the kind of energy that makes you happy to type away. Hence the wall hanging


Wall Hanging - Before


Wall Hanging : After


Wood Material
Pencil Tape Measure
Stapler and staples Drill & countersink bit
Screws and wall plugs Hammer
Spirit Level


Step 1

Meaure the space and get yourself to B&Q (or a wood merchants) for your materials. I chose MDF but chipboard or hard wood will do the job nicely too.

At B&Q, you can have your wood cut to size free of charge which makes life easy!

Then, seek out some beautiful material that will look amazing over a large space. I chose this leaf pattern from Ikea.

How To : Material

Step 2

Drill the holes before you start to stretch your material. This will avoid damage to the material when you come to hanging the wood on the wall.

If possible, it’s best to countersink the drill hole too so that the screws will sit really neatly later on.

How To : Drill the holes

Step 3

Place the wood over the wrong side of your material. Pull the fabric tight and place a staple on each opposite edge until you have a staple of each side.

It’s important to build up the staples slowly so as to get the right amount of tension and avoid the material warping or going off centre. Also, keep the staples light so that they can be removed if you make a mistake.

Choose whether you want the corner fold to appear on the top or the sides of the hanging. I choose to place the corners along the top and bottom as they are least visible that way.

If you choose to put the fold along the top, complete the staples along the sides but leave around 6 inches skin care along the top to be able to make your folds.

How To : Staple material

Step 4

This is the tricky bit!

I like to create neat flat corners and always invest a bit of time into getting them as perfect as possible.

In the images below, you can see I’ve pushed the material flat against the corner, made a fold with the excess material, then folded the main material over into a really nice flat corner.

Once you’ve got it, staple it down quick!

How To : Fold Corners

How To : Staple the corners

Step 5

By this stage, all the material should be stapled and the corners secured. Take a quick look at the good side to see that you are happy with the covering then hammer the staples into the wood. This is the really satisfying bit.

How To : Hammer the staples

Stage 6

Now I’ll admit, I had quite a bit of help with the next part.

The walls that I needed to drill into are stone and needed to call in the man and his nifty tools. If you are doing this yourself, you’ll need a drill and wall plugs to attach to brick, or plaster board fixings for a studded wall.

I held the wood against the wall with a spirit level and marked where the screws needed to go. We then placed 4 drill holes into the wall and knocked in some plugs. You can then place your hanging against the wall and drive your screws into the plugs.

Wall Hanging : After

Stage 7

Drink a brew and admire your work :-)


You can use this method to create a head board, room divide or smaller pieces of individual artwork for your walls. You could even use the board as a notice board but make sure you choose a softer wood.

I love my wall hanging. It makes the space much cosier and comfortable to work in. A great alternative to feature wallpaper and cheap too!

Hope this has inspired you and please let me know how you get on if you attempt your own hanging :-)

Nicole @ beaufrog

This blog post is part of the ‘Pass It On Home Office series’, a collaborative blogging project.


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