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How to order Combo Pleating

Combo Pleating Gallery

combo pleated sleeves attached to a sheer body
use of all 3 types of pleating, box accordion,and side
combo box pleated floor length skirt in beige


Please read How To Order Custom Pleated Fabric before starting this process. Once you have decided to order combo pleating, follow the steps below to understand the additional steps necessary for calculating and preparing your order. Important information about combo pleating:

- It can be pleated in a mold or by machine. Usually the length of a mold is 4 yards, but it could vary depending on the style of the mold. The pleating is done in increments of 4 yards. If pleated by machine the length can be as long as 50 yards. 

- The length of the pleat in most molds is 48in. wide.  Some molds are available in 60in., 72in. or longer. If pleated by machine the maximum width is 59in. Please contact us for any specific sizes you require. 

- Combo pleating could be made straight or a-line.  This depends on if it is made on a machine or the particular style of the pleating mold.


pleating mold size diagram


Step 1. Pick the combo pleating style. Combo pleating has many variations.  Some styles have a different scale and some a more definite repeat. These types of pleating also tend to have a name rather than a numerical reference due to the complex nature of the style.  Since there is no real industry wide standard, it's best to reference a picture when communicating about this type of pleating.  Usually, small scale pleating (1/2in or smaller) is done with a machine and larger pleats are done using a mold.  A typical mold is 48in. x 4yds. 


Step 2. Determine how much pleated fabric you need.  The amount of fabric needed is based on the number of garments you are making or your pattern specifications. If you are making a skirt, for example, then please provide your hip measurement and skirt length. If you do not have a pattern or tech specs, we also provide Product Development Services. 


Step 3. Calculate open yardage. Once you know how many pleated yards you need you can determine how much "open yardage" is required before pleating.  Usually specific pleat styles have a specific "loss factor" or "loss ratio" indicating the amount of fabric that will be needed. In most cases, the standard pleating loss factor is 3:1.  Three yards will yield one yard of pleated fabric. However, we do have the capability to pleat fabric deeper or more shallow in certain sizes. Generally, deeper pleats have a more couture look than shallower pleats.  

Step 4. Choose your fabric quality. This is entirely based on your project needs.  However, you should consider the following: 

- The thinner the fabric, the smaller/finer the pleat size. Thicker fabrics will force you to use larger pleat sizes. 

- The thinner/softer the fabric, the more flowy it will be.  Stiff fabrics have a tendency to get more stiff after pleating. 


Step 5. Hemming. If a crisp hem is desired it is usually easier to hem before the pleating is done.  This step is usually completed by our clients. If necessary, we can provide this service.  Doing this will add several days to your order, depending on the quantity you require, the fabric you choose and the type of hem. Some  specifics regarding hemming:

- A thick hem could create problems or increase the size of your pleat style. 

- If your seamstress stretches the hem during the sewing or pressing process it could render your fabric useless. 

- Thin hems like pearl edge are usually best for medium weight fabrics, and thinner fabrics like chiffons could be baby hemmed. 

- Pre-hemming machine pleating requires tremendous precision. If not it can damage the fabric and render your fabric useless. 


Step 6. Direction of pleating. When pleating fabric in panels, there are several options to choose from. Pleating can be done parallel to the selvedge, perpendicular to the selvedge or along the bias. There are many variables that would determine which is the most suitable, too many to describe here. However, better constructed garments are usually pleated parallel to the selvedge and less expensive garments are pleated perpendicular to the selvedge.  Each case is unique and if you are unfamiliar with this terminology we recommend either working with a professional patternmaker or hiring our Product Development Services. 

Also, if you are pleating in panels (parallel to the selvedge), we do not recommend joining panels before pleating.  This could possibly lead to the seam landing on the face of the pleat. If you require all the panels joined before pleating we recommend hiring our Product Development Services.  For more information regarding this step, please consult Chapter 8 of Pleating: Fundamentals for Fashion Design. 

 Step 7. Cutting and prepping your fabric panels.  If you are working with a seamstress or a sample room, they should cut the fabric panels to the specs you require and hem the panels so they are ready for pleating.  Please be sure the dimensions of your panels are not larger than our mold dimensions listed in Step 1, and the panels are a true rectangle and not warped due to incorrect cutting, hemming or pressing.  If they are not a true rectangle, your fabric may become useless or severely comprise the quality of your pleats. If you do not have a professional sample maker you can hire our Product Development Services.