Book Review: Complete Pleats

Pleating techniques for fashion, architecture and design by Paul Jackson

Laurence King Publishing, 2015

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This is one of my favourite books and I consider it as the most important publication for someone who desires to create their own pleating designs. Actually, this is my first book about pleating.

Complete Pleats offers plenty of schemes, well written step-by-step folding instructions and photos of folded paper. There are also a few images of how pleats can be utilised in architecture, product design, or fashion. The core of the book is in the schemes that teach you how to fold paper properly. Moreover, it contains a DVD with instructional videos which I appreciate highly.

However, I have to remark that this is not the kind of inspirational books you open at any page, find a set of instructions and can start your project straight away.

Try hand pleating yourself

As the author recommends, I started reading it thoroughly from the very beginning. Equipped with a lot of paper, a ruler, and a pencil, I began my pleating exercise. I pleated almost every example from his book, ending up with a big box of successful and unsuccessful pleats (see the image below).

Pleated paper samples in a cardboard box created during writing a book review about pleating.
As you can see, paper can be folded in many different ways.

However, since failure is part of success, the more time I spent pleating, the more interesting ideas I was getting. Another benefit is that I started to understand the rules, possibilities as well as constraints of folding. After a while, I was able to combine different types of pleats and create some really cool designs.

Why you should pleat paper and read this book?

I realised that paper can be folded in numerous ways. For instance, it is possible to make 3D tunnel shaped objects just by folding paper in a certain manner. Also bending a finished pleat in different ways gives very different results (see the images below). I also discovered that even pleats can be pleated. This would not have occured to me before.

Hand pleated kraft paper in shape of a tunnel.
Bowl shaped hand pleated kraft paper.
Hand pleated kraft paper.
Bowl shaped hand pleated kraft paper.

Hand pleating fabric

The section about pleating fabric at home is quite useful. I picked a few of my paper pleats from the box and created various samples with different types of fabrics. As the instructions are rather brief, I made several mistakes I had not expected to occur. With some diligence I fine tuned the process and also made multiple samples of pleated polyester fabrics. The fabrics came out very nice and I am definitely planning to try out some fancy pleating designs on fabrics in the future.

During my experiments with pleating I wrote multiple blog posts about hand pleating fabric you might be interested in:

I will definitely look for inspiration for my future designs in this publication and probably buy another book about pleating. This one is currently used by a friend of mine who is a lecturer at a Faculty of Civil Engineering. She finds this publication great study material for architecture students.

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