how to iron a pleated skirt

How to Iron a Pleated Skirt (in 7 Easy Steps)

If you, like me, have ever incorrectly ironed a pleated skirt, you know what dangers lie ahead. Improper ironing can permanently remove your pleats. Ironing a pleated skirt takes a little know-how, but with the correct tools and knowledge, you can keep your pleats looking crisp.

How to Iron a Pleated Skirt

Some types of pleated skirts, like accordion pleats, cannot be effectively ironed. Some materials, like synthetic fabrics, cannot be ironed. Learn what kind of pleats you have and check your care tag to ensure your fabric is iron-safe before you begin.

  1. Use the lowest heat setting on your iron. If your iron has a steam function, turn it on.
  2. If there are pockets, turn the skirt inside out and press them flat.
  3. If you use starch spray, lightly mist the fabric inside to reduce the risk of staining.
  4. Drape the skirt with the waist near the narrow end of the ironing board. Press around the waistband first. If you don’t have an ironing board, try these “ironing board alternatives.”
  5. Find the pleats. Pinch the top of the pleat and pull down towards the bottom hem of the skirt. You can use pins, binder clips, spring-loaded clothespins, or paperclips to hold the crease while you iron. Paperclips work best when you have overlapping pleats, such as knife-pleats or top-stitched pleats.
  6. Lift and press your iron, ensuring you maintain the original crease in the pleat. Don’t drag the iron because this can dislodge the fold and ruin the pleats. You can use your iron steamer to help set the pleat.
  7. Hang promptly. When hanging your skirt, use a clip hanger that won’t dent the fabric and ensure the pleat falls in its intended shape. Resist the urge to fold the skirt over a hanger; you’ll undo your hard work.

Does your ironing board ever gets jammed? Fear not…read our helpful article on “How to Close an Ironing Board.”

How to Iron a Pleated Chiffon Skirt

Chiffon is a delicate material and is pleated using the accordion method. There is no sensible way to iron pleated chiffon. Instead, you’ll want to use a garment steamer or a hot shower to relax accumulated wrinkles. In short, don’t use an iron on your pleated chiffon skirt.

Garment Steamer:

steaming a pleated skirt

These handheld tools effectively release wrinkles from garments in a gentle way that won’t harm delicate chiffon. They aren’t costly, usually in the range of $20-$30.

  1. Start by hanging your skirt. Let gravity help the process along.
  2. Test a small area first. Make sure your steam treatment isn’t going to stain or warp and will effectively relax wrinkles before you do the entire skirt.
  3. Move side to side. Working at a steady pace, hold the steamer a few inches away from the chiffon skirt and move from side to side, starting from the top and working towards the bottom hem.
  4. Once you finish steaming, let it hang. Hang drying helps the steaming work its magic and sets the fabric in its wrinkle-free state once it dries.

Shower Steaming:

If you don’t have and don’t want to invest in a garment steamer, don’t worry. You have a garment steaming room already in your home. A hot running shower can create the same effect.

  1. Like the garment steamer, start by hanging your skirt. Ensure it’s on a clean hanger, preferably a padded cloth hanger, to reduce pressure on the fabric where it hangs.
  2. Hang the dress from the back of a door or a hook on the wall. Don’t hang it from the shower rod; you want to avoid getting the skirt wet.
  3. Run the hot shower. Keep it going for about 20-30 minutes to allow the steam to permeate the air.
  4. Once you finish steaming, air out the room and leave the skirt hanging to dry and set.

How to Iron a Skirt with Small Pleats

It’s essential to understand what kind of pleating your skirt has. Never iron accordion pleats. You can iron top stitch, kick pleats, inverted pleats, and knife pleats as described for non-chiffon pleated skirts. Knife pleats and top-stitched pleats layered pleats over each other. It’s easiest to use clips of some kind to help hold the pleat in place while you press the iron.

How to Get Wrinkles Out of Pleated Skirt Without an Iron

pleated skirt with wrinkles

Options for getting wrinkles out of pleated skirts without an iron include:

  • Bringing it to the dry cleaners.
  • Put your dryer-safe skirt (check the care tag to verify) in a dryer with a damp rag at low heat.
  • Use a garment steamer or the shower steaming method. Thicker, denser fabrics will take longer to dry and set.

Pleated skirts are cute garments that do require a little extra care to keep in pristine shape. With these tips, you can keep your pleats crisp and maintained without fear of damaging their pleasant lines. Remember not to iron chiffon or accordion pleats, gently steam those or take them to the dry cleaners for expert care.

More Ironing Tutorials:

Ken Lyons
Ken Lyons is one of the founding members of Cleaner Digs. He is also the senior editor and contributing author. Ken has owned and operated two cleaning companies in the past: one commercial and one that serviced residential customers. He writes for Clean Digs to share his professional expertise on cleaning and organization. He's been a fastidious cleaning nut and writing about it for more than a decade.