How To Pleat Fabric? Part 5 – How To Hem Pleated Fabric?

Different types of hems on pleated fabric.
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If you have already read my blog post about pleating accordion pleats or pleating knife pleats, you may also wish to learn how to hem pleated fabric.

Should I finish the hem before pleating the fabric or after?

I have tried various methods of hemming both before and after pleating the fabric. In this blog post I’m going to show them one by one.

In this tutorial you will see how different hem types look on pleated fabric:

In short: usually, you would like to finish hems of pleated fabrics before pleating them (at least that is my experience with hand pleating fabric at home :). Keep in mind you have to use 100% polyester threads.

With hemming fabrics after pleating you achieve some unusual designs. Have a look at the photos. I find them interesting.

I recommend making a pleated sample with the selected hem type. So, hem the fabric first and pleat it afterwards.

Sewing a single-fold hem before pleating fabric

Start by finishing the raw edge of the fabric. With medium weight fabric either use a simple zig-zag stitch or a three step zig-zag stitch on a standard sewing machine.

If you wish to finish the hem on an overlock machine, set your overlock machine to a narrow three thread overlock stitch with medium stitch length.

Single fold hem on pleated satin fabric.
Single fold hem on satin fabric.

Sewing a double fold hem before pleating fabric

Fold the fabric hem twice, sew and pleat. If you use a stiff and heavy fabric like duchess satin, the result may be a little bumpy on the right side (the folded edge on the wrong side will be embossed to the right side). However , with a fabric like lightweight satin, the result is quite ok (see the images below).

Double fold hem on pleated satin fabric.
Double fold hem on satin fabric.

Sewing a rolled hem before pleating fabric

I decided to sew a rolled hem on my overlock machine. Nonetheless, you can also use a dense zig-zag stitch setting on a standard sewing machine. Use 100% polyester thread of a colour similar to the fabric or a contrasting colour as I did in this tutorial.

Rolled hem applied to satin fabric.
Rolled hem applied to pleated satin fabric.

Applying a bias binding tape before pleating fabric

For this tutorial I have made my own bias binding tape. I USED the same fabric as for pleating and a metal bias binding tape maker. If you would like to purchase a binding tape in a store, make sure it is made of 100% polyester.

It is evident that the bias binding tape got wrinkled on some parts. I think I’ll will have to experiment with this type of hemming a little more. I’ll let you know, what the problem was.

Bias binding tape applied to satin fabric.
Bias binding tape applied to pleated satin fabric.

Hemming the fabric after pleating

Remember, once you pleat a fabric, it wants to remain in the shape you have defined by the pleating mould. It will “resist” bending or folding in a different way.

By hemming the fabric after it has been pleated, you will distort the pleats at the fabric edge. This will result in some designs you may or may not like.

Sewing a single-fold hem after pleating

Single fold hem sewn after pleating the fabric.
Single fold hem sewn after pleating the fabric.

Sewing a double fold hem after pleating

Double fold hem applied to fabric edge.
Double fold hem applied to pleated fabric edge.

Sewing a rolled hem after pleating

Rolled hem applied to fabric after pleating.
Rolled hem applied to fabric after pleating

Applying a bias binding tape after pleating

Bias binding tape applied to fabric edge.
Bias binding tape applied to pleated fabric edge.

Conclusion: How To Hem Pleated Fabric?

I have shared with you a few possibilities and it’s up to you to choose which one suits your project best.

If you ask me, sewing a single-fold hem before pleating fabric is the hemming method I recommend as it creates the least bulk at the pleated fabric hem.

If you are interested in pleating, check out also my other blog posts. For example pleating permanent knife pleats or samples of different pleated fabrics. If you are interested in a more advanced pleating design, read this blog post.

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