Explaining And Understanding Different Types of Pleats

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Pleats are used in all kinds of garments and they are obtained when the fabric is folded several times and secured in place. You can get a better idea if you take a look at the dress or a skirt. It will likely have pleats. But, there are different types of pleats and now we will discuss all of them.

Types of Pleats

Accordion pleats

Pleats come in straight down form and they are wide between 3 and 13 mm. They are all equal and very long, common on long skirts.

Types of pleats - accordion pleat

Image: Allegra K


They are turned in the same direction. You can see them on cheerleaders short skirts. They are very small in size.

knife pleat

Image: Chassé


Sunray pleats start at the waist and go all way down. The must be made of synthetic materials in order to maintain the shape.


When you fold two knife pleats into the opposite direction you will get box pleats. They are more elegant than knife pleats and they are used for modern skirts, also short.

box pleat

Image: Amy Byer


You can make any type of pleat into kick pleat. The secret is in the stitch that comes at the beginning and allows for gradual expansion. This type is also considered as elegant and used accordingly.

types of pleats - kick pleat

Image: Classroom School Uniforms


They are small, round and they are used commonly as trimmings.


The secret is in the stitching which is done in the middle or in the first part of the pleat. It explains above and below the stitch.


It is similar to the first type here but with much smaller pleats. They are gathered around using stitching.


They are actually used for smocking. The name comes from the shape which is identical to honeycombs. We can see them in elegant dresses and skirts.


Fortuny pleats are old and they were used commonly in the 20th century. They are made of silk and used for blouses and shirts.


They are created from a large amount of fabric gathered to form circular pleats.


Inverted pleats are completely opposite than box pleats. Each knife pleat can be folded to the next one, so they meet in the center. This type is used for uniforms and formal outfits.

DKNY Paradox Inverted Pleat Sheer Window Curtain Panel Pair

Image: DKNY


The name refers to the design of the pleats, which are round and look like organ musical instrument. They can be seen on elite dressed and wedding dresses.


They are used in kilts, traditional Scottish clothing. They have one, box pleat in the center, on the back.

Kingussie pleat

Image: Genuine


Add two box pleats at the back of a dress and you will get Watteau pleats. They were used in the 18 century.


Cartridge pleats are used for drapes only, not for clothing.

Final Words

These are all different types of pleats you can possibly see today. Each one is beautiful in its own way and used for a specific purpose. They are difficult to make, but they are stunning in the lack of a better word.