Re-setting Pleats on a Synthetic Skirt?

November 15, 2011

I thrifted an accordion-pleated skirt (The fabric is creased, but the pleats aren't sewn. It is sort of like a lampshade.) a few years ago. Like the dumb young 'un I was, I put it through the washer and dryer, and the pleats have mostly fallen out. I can still see where they were, but they've lost almost all their crispness and volume.


Is it possible to re-set the pleats in this sort of skirt? The fabric is some sort of synthetic. I'm afraid that if I take an iron to it, it'll melt, but I also suspect that the pleats were heat-set in the first place.

Thank you.

By Rachel W.


November 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've repleated polyester by using a damp press cloth on damp fabric. You have to use a real press cloth, no substitutes. Then you have to let the fabric cool completely before moving it.

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful
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Use Saddlebag's tip. I've restored many a pleat with that method and it works great.

I've learned over the years that hand basting across the pleats really helps when restoring a set of pleats-makes the pressing a lot easier to control.


Also, using the thin end of a wooden shim helps maintain the correct depth of the pleat while basting (mark the correct pleat depth on the shim then insert it at every pleat you are basting), and being sure to use a strongly contrasting thread when you do the basting helps make it easier to remove after the pleats have cooled-usually 24 hours for maximum hold.

Make sure you catch the fabric at both sides of the pleat, where the crease shows on the front of the garment AND the fold that goes under the next pleat crease.

Depending on the length of the skirt, you'll want at least three or four rows of basting across the pleats encircling the skirt so that the finished result is even.

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful
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Re-read your question, and it occurs to me that your fabric may not be suitable for basting with thread and needle. You can use one of the basting tapes, here's an example of one:


I don't think you can press and then remove the basting tape, so you'll want to be careful to press around it, working in stages to baste-press-wait for cooling-remove the basting tape-move it to the next section, etc.

Hopefully your fabric will be able to be needle and thread basted without leave poke holes in the fabric. Otherwise, you have a lot of work cut out for you every time you clean this skirt.

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November 18, 20111 found this helpful
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I don't have a lot of experience with pleated skirts, but My daughter had one when she was a little girl & the same thing happened. I believe it was polyester or acrylic. I just sent it back through the wash again, then while it was wet.


I carefully folded it accordion style on the pleats so that it was one long strip (does this make sense when you read it?), then I knew I needed some way to keep it this way until it dried, so I wrapped it tightly & carefully in a towel & let it sit a couple of days until it was dry. It worked, so that's what I did with it every time I washed it.

May work for yours, or it may not. But you do need to wrap it tight in the towel so it doesn't come undone & be very careful you don't wrap it wrong or it will come out with folds or wrinkles where you don't want them.

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