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Permanent pleats.

Pamela_Marshall's picture

I How do the clothing manufactures make those permanent press pleats? These are the pleats you see in pants, skirts and dresses. Usually with permanent press fabric. These are the pleats that never need pressing and never wash out. It is like making a permanent wrinkle in the fabric. I have been sewing pleats for years and always need to iron the pleats on home made garments. Does anyone have any ideas?

Kathy_McGuire's picture

(post #27696, reply #1 of 3)

Hi - I attended sew expo this year and at the Clotilde (?)and they had some products that helped you make these pleats. They even talked about how to make the pleats permanent. Here is a link to pleating products on their site:

Hope this helps.


Lucky_Weddigen's picture

(post #27696, reply #2 of 3)

Permanent pleats are heat set and done in synthetic fabrics. You can do pleats in natural fabrics but they will always need to be pressed/reset. Even some Mary McFadden dresses are done in ploy to hold the Fortune style pleats (not that a McFadden gown would ever be washed). There is a company in Brooklyn, NY that will do pleating. Very reasonably priced. Koppel Pleating.

A trick to make besetting on-permanent pleats: After establishing and pressing pleats, I edge stitch the bottom 2 1/2 -3" of the inside fold of each pleat. When necessary to press, the pleat is easily re-established using the sewn-in top edge and the edge-stitched bottom to give a sharp edge crease.

Frances_Kavanagh's picture

(post #27696, reply #3 of 3)

Permanent pleats can be done on thermoplastic fabrics e.g. polyester, by using heat and also, preferably, steam to set them. Here in Manchester, England I would not go to the trouble of doing it myself. Local firms that set pleats for the garment industry are usually happy to take individual orders at a very cheap price. They will do any kind of pleat required - fold a piece of paper to show them what you want, including bouble and triple pleats within pleats. They charge about £3.50 for a skirt length. They do mail order for about £7.00 for addresses in England. You may be able to find similar firms in your area.

I have experimented with different percentages of polyester As little as 50% has given me permanent pleats, despite the fabric seeming to crease on sitting. With hand washing and drip drying the pleats have never come out over several years of wear.

You need to be careful not to touch the pre-set pleats with the iron while constructing the garment as this will undo the pleats

Pure wool can be pleated but it is not so permanent and may need to be re-pressed. Pure silk is no use at all - go out on a damp day and the pleats will fall out. Fortune had some special method which he kept secret and the secret died with him as far as I know.

You also need to remember that hems should be completed first. You may also need to allow extra width as once pleated the pieces can only be joined at certain points of the fold. If you require more information let me know.

I hope this information is not too late to be of use to you.