Several months ago I was searching online for a guide to making crochet box pleats, but all I found was guides for stitches that were more like gathered fabric than pleating. The closest I found, and it is a very great tutorial, was this post on crochet pleats from April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio. It goes along with a pattern of hers for a girls jumper that was published in Interweave Crochet, Winter 2010. It was very, very helpful and I’d recommend a look at it.
However, since there is a lack of tutorials for this crochet skill online where there are multiple guides for many others, I thought I’d try making a basic guide including two ways of making crochet box pleats. The first way is basically the same as Banana Moon Studio’s guide, while the second is different.
This post is quite long, so click through the jump to see the full post.
This tutorial is written with the assumption that the reader has basic knowledge of crochet stitches and terms, and is probably at least an intermediate level. This tutorial is also in American crochet terms.
Note: I crochet left-handed, therefore pictures show left-handed crochet, however, if you let your mouse hover over them, they should flip so right-handed crocheters can follow along easily.
Way Number One –
For the purpose of this tutorial I’ve started out with a row of dc. You can use any stitch for pleats, but I’m using dc here because the post of the stitch is very easy to see.
In this way of doing pleats you are basically building the pleats as you go. Imagine making a skirt. The first row is the bottom of the waistband, and pleats will be worked off of that to form the skirt. To work the pleats, you will need to make stitches into the post of the stitch, the front loop of the stitch, and the back loop of the stitch. It may sound a bit complicated at this point but hopefully it will make more sense as you go along.
Begin working your row normally until you get to the point where you would like to start your pleat (Note: For this sampler, I have used a piece of scrap yarn to mark the center of my pleat, but I would suggest on actual projects, especially if you are making more than one pleat, using stitch markers to mark the beginning, center, and end of each pleat.) Start your pleat by working back post stitches for half the length of your pleat.
It should look something like this. Turn your work.
DO NOT MAKE A CHAIN STITCH. Continue by making dc along the loops closest to you until you’re back at the start of your pleat.
It should look something like this. Turn your work.
Again, DO NOT MAKE A CHAIN STITCH. Continue making dc into the remaining loops.
These loops can sometimes be hard to maneuver your hook into. Holding down the dc worked into the previous loops and posts as demonstrated in this picture should make working into these last loops much easier.
Continue working into the loops closest to you past the center of your pleat and on until you reach the end of your pleat.
It should look like this.
Now the next part is pretty simple. It’s basically just a reverse of what you’ve already done. Turn you work, then work dc into the remaining loops until you reach the center of your pleat. Turn again and work dc into the back posts until you get to the end of your pleat, then finish the row with normal stitches.
Your finished pleat should look like this.
From now on continue your rows normally, being careful to work into every stitch along the folds of your pleat. This, along with turning your work constantly as you stitch along the pleats may seem tedious for the first several rows, but will get easier as you go along.
Way Number Two –
In this method, you basically treat the crochet as a piece of fabric. Again, imagine you’re making a skirt. Crochet a rectangle of any stitch or stitch pattern in the length and width you’d need for a skirt, taking into account extra material needed for folding pleats. (Note: Using more complicated stitch patterns is much easier with this method than with the first, just because of how the pleats are constructed.) Stitch this into a circle (or tube), mark off the pleats, fold, and then crochet through the layers to secure the pleats, while creating a waistband. Hopefully this tutorial makes the idea a little more clear.
For the purpose of this tutorial I’ve simply crocheted a small block in dc. Again, I’ve marked the center of the pleat, but when making an actual project you should mark off the beginning, center, and end of each pleat. If you use scrap yarn or safety pins, you can even secure your pleats before stitching them in place.
Start your row normally, stitching until you get to your pleat. Fold your pleat as shown in the picture above. Again, on an actual project I would recommend marking off and securing your pleats before you start stitching them in place.
This next part is the trickiest part of this method. Work your next stitch into all three layers of material. Sometimes it can be hard to see whether you’ve gone through all three layers or whether you’ve accidentally missed or skipped a stitch. Just take it very slow and be patient. Once you start getting the hang of it, it should get easier.
Your first stitch should look like this. Continue to work carefully across your pleat.
Finish your row normally. When done, it should look like this.
Whew, that was a long post. I hope it helped and maybe even inspired you to try adding some pleats to your crochet projects! Ever since I learned how to make them, I’ve been thinking up all kinds of dress and top designs using them.
This is my first ever attempt at a tutorial, so I hope it made sense. If there’s something I didn’t explain well or that you need me to clarify please don’t hesitate to ask!
Both of these methods have their pros and cons. I think it’s up to personal preference and the particular project to determine which is best.
Have a beautiful and blessed day!