Tricks of the Trade – How to Hem an Inverted Pleat

The front pleat on my 1969 Burda Dress is an inverted pleat – where two folds turn towards each other to meet on the outside.  These can be folded from a single Front panel, or as in my case, made from separate R and L Fronts and an extra centre panel that forms the back of the pleat arrangement.
This photo shows my inverted pleat opened out, and you can see the seams joining the three panels together:
These two seams are not pressed open, but lay flat towards each side so that they form the inner ‘fold’ of the pleat. This causes a slight complication at the hem as it cannot be turned up in the normal manner.

The easy way to approach this is to hem each panel separately first, then sew the seams of the pleat.  This has a disadvantage in that the seam allowance is readily seen at the hem fold.  Instead you can try the method I’ve used here.

Sew the panel seams.  I have marked the hem foldline with a small clip, and above this cut a V notch from the seam allowance exactly where the overlocked hem edge will fold to.  For instance, if your hem is 4cm, then the V notch will be positioned at 8cm.  Cut the V notch to within 1-2mm of your stitching line:

Press the seam within the hem allowance open:

You can trim 3mm from the lower half of the hem allowance to reduce bulk, and I removed the overlocking threads within the hem allowance too:
Then turn up and stitch the hem:
As you sew the hem and reach the V notch, take a moment to overcast the raw edges together to keep them tidy:

 

One last thing is to fold the inner fold of the pleat into it’s finished position, then on the inside, edgestitch where the hem folds:

This helps hold that foldline in position forever, and makes it easier when pressing too!

A box pleat is the reverse of an inverted pleat, and any seams on the inner fold will lay towards the centre.  You can use this hem technique on a box pleat as well, or any other pleat designed with a seam – it gives a tidier finish, don’t you think?
Happy Sewing!

How to Hem an Inverted Pleat

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

22 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade – How to Hem an Inverted Pleat

  1. Sherry thank you. You've resolved the problem I have with my orange ponte skirt which has two inverted pleats at the back that dont sit right because my hem treatment was incorrect. Next time will be perfect.

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