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How to Pleat Tulle

Pleat tulle to give it soft fullness.
petticoat image by Susanne Güttler from Fotolia.com

Tulle, with its delicate netted weave and feather-light weight, is an exceedingly popular fabric for both formal garments and decorating. Whether you see tulle as the foundation for a formal gown, a ruffle on a little girl’s party dress or a filmy canopy hanging from bedposts, tulle serves well in a variety of purposes. Sewing with tulle is not difficult because it conforms easily to various sewing methods. If you pleat tulle, you make tucks along an edge and stitch the tucks into place to create fullness.

Pleat tulle to give it soft fullness.
petticoat image by Susanne Güttler from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Pen
  • Matching Thread
  • Tulle Fabric
  • Tape Measure
  • Pins

Lay the tulle out flat on a work surface and determine which edge you wish to pleat. Place the tape measure along this edge and measure it. Determine the spacing of your pleats and the depth of your pleats, planning each pleat along the edge of the fabric. For example, if you want your pleats 3 inches apart and ½-inch wide along the fabric edge, you would make marks 1 inch apart (for the pleat) every 3 inches along the tulle fabric edge.

Make two tiny marks for each pleat with the fabric pen along the fabric edge. The first mark creates the depth line of the pleat, and the second mark is the aligning point of the pleat--you will align these two marks to make the pleat. As you align the marks, you will create an overlap of fabric.

Align the pleat marks you made along the fabric by pulling the left mark over to the right mark and aligning them perfectly. Pin the fabric in place to hold the pleat. Repeat this along the entire edge to pin each pleat.

Stitch along the pinned and pleated edge of the tulle, sewing ½-inch away from the fabric edge. Remove the pins when you finish sewing. The stitching line will hold the pleats in place as “soft pleats.”


Soft pleats will give your tulle fabric fullness both when used in clothing and decorating.

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