Knife Pleat Ruffle – Video Tutorial

The knife pleat ruffle is one of my favorite embellishments, and can be used to add detail to a lot of things, including pillows, valances, draperies or clothing.  It looks tricky to  make, and while it can be time-consuming to sew, it really isn’t that hard make these ruffles.  I’ll show you how easy it is with this step-by-step tutorial.

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How To Make A Knife-Pleat Ruffle - Video Tutorial from

Knife Pleat Ruffle

Before we go into how to make the knife pleat ruffle, I’m going to show you a few ways that I have used it.  This first example is a valance that has a knife pleat ruffle along the bottom edge.


These euro shams are embellished with knife pleat ruffles.


I used a knife pleat ruffle detail along the bottom edge of this sundress.  You can read about it here.


How To Make A Knife Pleat Ruffle

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Fabric – Amount needed will depend on your project.  See instructions below.
Sewing Machine
Small piece of cardboard
Glass Head Pins


For this example, we are going to make a 1″ ruffle that will be 10″ long.  Make sure to add a little extra to your finished length.

  1. Figure out how long the finished knife pleat ruffle needs to be for  your project.  
  2. To find the length of fabric needed for your ruffle, take the finished length of the ruffle and multiply it by 3.  Example – 10″ x 3 = 30″.
  3. To figure how wide to cut your strip of fabric – take the ruffle width and multiply it by 3.  Example – 1″ x 3 = 3″.
  4. For our example we will cut out a strip of fabric that is 3″ x 30″.Fabri-strip-for-ruffle
  5. If needed, sew several strips together to get desired length.fabric-strips-sewn-together
  6. Fold and press fabric strip in half.fabric-strip-folded-in-half
  7. Serge the raw edges together.
  8. The last step to making a knife pleat ruffle is to pleat the fabric strip.  It will be easier to understand the process if you can see it being done, so I’ve created this video to walk you through the pleating process.

If you would like to see how I used this pink knife pleat ruffle, check out the How To Make A Pillow With A Knife Pleat Ruffle post.


I hope you enjoyed this knife pleat ruffle tutorial.   If you add this ruffle to your sewing projects, please share, I would love to see them!


  1. I have been sewing for 40 years and pleats have always scared me because they just looked sloppy! Thanks Jann for the awesome video, will definately try this on a dress for my 14 month old grandaughter! Btw, still plugging away on the pillow ‘flowers’!!

  2. I love the video. I have been sewing for 45 yrs and you make it so easy to learn how to do this. I can not wait to try it on my pillows. Thanks so much for your help, Jann.

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  6. I LOVE this tutorial. I always wondered how to do this, it looks hard but now I see how easy it is. I’m going to have to come up with something to sew so I can do this! Thanks for sharing it at the party. I pinned it to the party board! 🙂 Have a great week.

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  8. This is a really great tutorial and you make it sound so simple. Thank you so much for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy

  9. Been sewing for 4 years and found this tutorial AMAZING! Definitely will add the Ruffles to a pair of pajama shorts! Super cute! Thanks so much!

  10. Hi Jann,

    I love this tutorial and would like to make a couple of Knife Edge Ruffled Pillows for my bed. My only question is how wide do I cut the cardboard so it will work out, cutting the fabric 3x the length around the pillows?

    Thank you!

  11. Jann, I stumbled upon your site and it is a treasure trove! Thank you! Your knife pleat tutorial was terrific, and I am looking forward to more sewing projects based on your posts.

  12. I have a couple of tops I want to make, and I don’t want to put ribbing around the neck and the sleeves. I’m going to try this as the finishing. Do you think it might work?

    1. I’ve never used knife pleating in the way you mentioned. It might work, but I’m not sure. Good luck with your projects.

  13. Hi Jann,
    Just goes to show that the simplest methods are the best! When I saw this tutorial I was thinking, gosh, will I need to invest in a pleater and will it be a laborious process? But this is fantastic, thanks Jann!

    1. Janet, I’m so glad this was helpful! I tend to make things harder than they need to be, but this pleating method is very straight forward. Good luck with your sewing projects!

      1. Hello, I am not finding the video tutorial for the knife edge pleated ruffle. Has it been taken down?

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