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|
- 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.
- 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!
- 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 worth spending extra time on this part.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bend the pleating board to release the pleats and enjoy!
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!
Nicole @ beaufrog