Pleating is one of the most common ways to fold a shirt. This is an essential technique to learn in order to improve your comprehension of folding in general. Simply put, pleats are the basic construction blocks of fabric folding, they are essentially small folds and can come in all shapes and sizes. Even spirals and crumples are composed of pleats, even if they don’t seem like it because the folds are disorganized and random. Most of the time the pleats arrange themselves randomly as you fold the fabric. This time you are gonna learn how to control and manipulate the pleating process to make long, unbroken folds.
How to fold pleats
Like most other folding techniques, it’s easier to pleat by using a slightly damp shirt. Pleating is an easy folding technique to learn and is the basis for many patterns. Throughout the process, take your time and observe how the fabric reacts to your manipulation. The most common pleating method is to create long, unbroken pleats that typically span the entire width of the shirt.
First, lay a slightly damp shirt flat on a table. Using your index finger and your thumb, try pinching the fabric. With your fingers one to two inches apart, pinch the fabric and bring your fingers together. As you pinch and bring the fabric together, the fabric has nowhere to go but up and it will fold to make a pleat. Try using both hands at the same time for greater control. Your goal is to make long, straight pleats that span the entire width of the shirt.
Keep in mind that you can pleat the shirt in any direction. You can just as well make a straight pleat as you can make a diagonal pleat. Another technique is to pleat the shirt in an arc or semi-circle, also called fan fold. Once you know how to pleat you can combine it with other techniques to make many designs. If you have difficulty making your pleats you can begin the pleat on one end and continue building it for the rest of the length one step at a time.
– Combine a mirror fold with a diagonal pleat to create a wedge design.
– From a single point on the edge of a flat shirt, pleat in an arc to create the fan fold.
– Starting with a shirt folded in two, create a fan fold to make a full circle
How to dye pleats
The pleats are a stable fabric structure that should stay consistent. Still, they need binding to make sure that they stay in place and do not move when transporting or flipping the shirt. All the pleating techniques can be dyed in a similar manner. They are many ways to dye a pleated shirt, just like there are many ways to dye any technique. We will cover the most common and interesting methods.
With the straight pleat and diagonal pleat, a common dyeing method is to dye the shirt in a series of repeating colors. Most commonly, pleated shirts are dyed by using multiple colors that you use alternatively. You usually will dye perpendicular to the pleats using slim straight lines while alternating colors. Using your dye bottle, squirt a small stream of dye on the shirt, being careful not to spread the dye too wide.
An interesting way to dye the pleats is to first dye it normally on one side and then inverting the colors on the other side of the shirt. For example, if you dyed the shirt using yellow, blue, and red, you can then dye the other side using blue, red, yellow. Inverting the colors this way will make it so the colors overlap each other and can give you more color combinations.
We are Samuel and Francis. About two years ago we bought our first tools and supplies for tie-dyeing. Ever since then we’ve been learning the skills of folding and dyeing in intricate ways. We’ve learned from our experiences on the field about what techniques works and what doesn’t. This is the site were we share everything we’ve learned.
There are far more complicated folding and dyeing techniques involving the pleats. Just like you can make your pleat in any direction, you can also make slanted pleats, fractional pleats, and zig-zag pleats. Practice and efforts will give you the abilities to modify your pleats with great control.
There are also other ways to dye normal pleats. You can, for example, place the dye in a zig-zag pattern instead of placing it in a straight line.
Patterns using pleating
Here you can find the all the patterns we have that use pleating in their building process.
Each pattern you see here has it’s own video where we show you how to fold and dye the design.
– Click on the shirt to play instructions –
Samuel and Francis
We are the sole owners of this site, we live in Canada where we work everyday on making tie-dye more accessible to everyone. We are always looking forward to teaching you something new.