Thursday, June 02, 2011

Pleater Board DIY

Not all of us have the good fortune to have or know how to effectively use this glorious pleat machine aka smocking machine to make pleats.  As much as I dearly wanted one It was just not practical for the pleats I needed to make for my wedding dress.  I still wanted them to be pristine and even.  Then a friend suggested using a pleat board and DING DING DING we had a winner.  The other wonderful thing about this Idea is that it is something that I am capable of making on my own.

Essentially for a Pleat board you are going to be making a folding series of pleats in a more heavy duty material.  I chose to use a thick sew in heavy weight Pellon interfacing with no glue on any of the sides.  You kind of have to use something that has no glue or it will completely defeat the purpose of making a Pleat board since you will be doing a lot of moving and ironing and it would get messy.
First I marked off every inch to since I wanted to make my first set of pleats 1 inch.  In hindsight if you know you are going to make small pleats do them first because you can easily take 1/2" pleat board and make 1" pleats by skipping every other pleat.
I also went overboard and decided to make 2 yards worth of each size pleat.  Once again not necessary because if you are doing a long yardage you will eventually be moving the board along either way. 
After marking the length of interfacing comes the not so fun but completely necessary part of folding the pleats and ironing them into place.  You can use pins to help you hold them in place but I tried to avoid that as much as possible since any bumps you make in the board will transfer to your fabric when you pleat it.

Personally as I do this I use my iron on the highest setting with full steam then use a ironing cloth over the pleats as they form.  If a spot is giving me difficulty I lower the steam and do a good press till it holds the shape.  Using starch to help it is useless since you will be ironing over these pleats over and over again when you pleat your own fabric.

Now that you have your Pleat board done here are some illustrations from someone else on how to use it!  Basically you wedge your fabric into the pleats and Iron it.  I like to use a metal ruler and keep it in place and iron over both the fabric and the ruler.  The metal ruler helps conduct the heat along the entire length.  I also use whatever temperature is appropriate for the fabric being pleated with a lower steam level.  As I work my way along I will pin at the beginning of the length of fabric to help keep it from sliding around.

The end result is gorgeous and even pleats.  Yes making a Peat board takes a good amount of time but once you have it this is a time saving tool that will give you great results.  For my pleats I finished the edges first with a narrow hem stitch like you see on silk scarves, this way I don't have to worry about destroying my work if I need to go back and finish the raw edges.


  1. excellent tutorial ....... thanks

  2. excellent tutorial ....... thanks

  3. Hi thanks for the tutorial. I would like to know what kind of material/paper you used for the board. Can I use a pattern paper or better a cartolina (harder paper)? Thanks!

    1. I was using a super heavy pellon interfacing.

  4. Hi thanks for the tutorial! I would like to know what kind of paper you used for the board. Is the paper thick or thin but not so thin like pattern paper? Thanks!

  5. Great, thank you! I will do this soon.. I am so inlove with the pleats!!

  6. Great work!
    Mr Pleater sells pleater boards, the sizes start as small as 8″x8″ and go up to size 26″x26″
    The boards can be found at:

  7. But how to make longer pleated skirts? I would need to make a really big pleater board.