Frequently Asked Questions

Please kindly find below many of our most ‘frequently asked questions’. 

Invariably, we are asked many of the same questions everyday and others not so frequently….. so please do not hesitate to call, email or drop in and see us to discuss any concern or idea you may have – collaboration is the execution of a great idea/design!


What is pleating?

Pleating in it’s varying forms is ALWAYS in fashion – it is material origami – only limited by your imagination.

 It is essentially a fold in material made by doubling the material upon itself and then pressing into place with the assistance of a steam heat process – absolutely NO chemicals are used in our services.

Who do you pleat for and where can I see your work?

Over our 80+ years of experience, Specialty Pleaters have serviced an inordinate amount of customers large and small.  Due to Privacy rules and customer’s intellectual property we are unable to share our varied and esteemed list of customers, save for our generous and extremely loyal customers whom have willingly and generously allowed us to use their names and finished garment photos on our website. 

Take some time out - come into the factory and see many of our sample pieces and talk to us – you’ll never know how you’ll be inspired!! Better yet – forward your pictures of finished garments to us and we’ll place them on our Website, Facebook, Pinterest and/or Instagram – you never know where it will lead for you and us!!

Is there a ‘minimum’ order quantity?

A minimum 1 metre charge is applied to all jobs.

In essence, no job is too small - this is particularly prevalent to students, as we know that you’ll be the future of our business and we’d like to invest in your career early on.

However, at times, there may be a ‘small’ set up fee for the machine or if the pleating requires a specially tailored new hand pattern a ‘pattern making fee’ may apply.

Are all our pleating samples on our website?

Most are but unfortunately not all – due to all the different textures and compositions of materials or textiles the same pleat can look different just by using a different material.  We cannot simply photograph all our work and similarly - many of our clients prefer that we don’t.  We have many samples on the website and more at the factory – remember to ask us to have a look next time you’re in.

Is it best to provide a sample prior to doing production?

Yes, we always recommend that customers do a “sample” or a “test piece” prior to doing any sort of production no matter how big or small the production will be for two simple reasons, :-

  1: to make sure of the materials suitability to pleating

  2: to get a proper visual of what the customer can expect from their material/fabric

All care and our utmost attention is given to producing high quality pleated work, however Specialty Pleaters (Australia) accepts NO responsibility beyond the cost of pleating.

Unfortunately, on rare occasions especially with sunray pleating and/or pleating with very fine and/or pale coloured materials water marks can develop from the heat setting process which involves steaming.

What material can I pleat with?

Any material can be pleated in theory except for 100% nylon, as nylon will tend to melt before it gets pleated due to its low “set point”.

The only exception for pleating nylon is in the past we have had good results pleating a fabric that had only 20% or 30% nylon and 70%-80% polyester.

What material pleats the best?

Without a doubt the best material to pleat with is 100% polyester.

Polyester will hold its pleat the longest of all the materials, unlike nylon, polyester has a very high “set point”

Other materials such as silk, satin, chiffon, organza, taffeta will all pleat just as well as polyester, they will give you a great sharp pleat and look fantastic however they may not hold the pleat as long as polyester would.

Similarly, Cotton and Linen will also pleat but are prone to creasing very easily and generally do not hold a pleat well or as long.

How much material do I need to start with? Are there width restrictions?

This ultimately depends on the type of pleat you require and/or if it is pleated by a hand pattern or machine.

For instance, knife pleating generally has a 3:1 ratio for the completed piece and we recommend that you factor in an extra 10cm to ensure you have sufficient material to work with.  

Other width restrictions are dependent on the machine used for your work – we have tried to describe this is most of our pleats but please remember to discuss this prior to cutting and if in any doubt please call or email.

Further, we kindly ask that all material is cut per your own requirements and prior to delivery to us – as we are not equipped as ‘professional cutters’.

I have a pleated garment and want to replicate it?

Call, email and/or send us a picture and together with our experience and industry contacts we’ll be sure to be able to help you.

I want to make a pleated garment but don’t know where to start?

Again, call or email us and we’ll assist as much as possible, if not – we’ll refer you to our industry contacts.

Should the material be hemmed before pleating?

If you are having your material sunray pleated then we recommend NOT hemming your material, mainly due to the fact that if the hem on the material is not perfectly flat (if there has been slightly too much tension being pulled while hemming) then this will most often lead to “chipping”. Chipping is like having folds or creases across your sunray pleats.

If you are having knife or box pleating done, then yes definitely have your material hemmed before pleating.

For all other pleats please refer to their detailed descriptions or if in doubt please contact us.

Do you pleat leather?

Yes, however please talk to us and provide a sample for us to experiment with before heading into mass production.  As dependent on its width and finishing textures pleating leather can be a bit ‘tricky’.

What size sunray’s can be made in our patterns?

We offer small, medium, large and extra large sizes of Sunray Pleating Patterns and PROUDLY boast to have Australia’s largest Sunray Pleating Pattern!!

Our largest pattern is 180cm drop (6 foot).  Specifically, we refer to ‘drop’ as the length of the garment from waist to hem. 

How to cut the material for sunray pleating?

Any material that is to be sunray pleated should be cut into a half circle (if you imagine a donut cut in half).

The inner half circle is for your waist measurement while the outer half circle is your hem.

The distance between your inner half circle to the outer half circle is called your “drop” (measurement “A” in the below diagram.

Measurement “B” and “C” should both be the same measurement as “A”


Garment care

How should I care for my pleated garment?

We strongly recommend that you have your pleated garment “dry cleaned only” and make sure that you ask the dry cleaner if he/she knows how to dry clean pleats!!!

This may sound a bit odd, but we regularly have dry cleaners coming in and asking us to re-pleat the garment.

If you take the chance and wash your garment in the washing machine or place it in the tumble dryer you may see your pleats soften and get rounded or in the worst case totally disappear.

I’m a Dry Cleaner - what if the pleats fall out?

In most cases we can re-pleat the garment but it first needs to be unpicked from the garment to allow us to place it back into a pattern or machine, once the fabric is re-pleated then the garment needs to re-sewn together again Marilyn FAQ.png