Machine pleated, or pre-pleated trim is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a flat trim – ribbon, lace or something else entirely – that has already been set into pleats or folds.
Pre-pleated trim can be a huge time saver, especially if you’re doing Victorian costuming or anything along those lines – gothic Lolita, steampunk, etc. Pleating can be time consuming and, with slippery fabrics or fabrics with a spring hand to them, pleating can be a real pain in the behind. Trust me, I almost lost my sanity trying to pleat silk organza one time. It’s often worth paying a little extra cash to let someone else take care of that for you.
Just as there are many ways to pleat fabric, there are many ways to pleat ribbon. Most common is knife pleating, but you can also find box-pleated, accordion-pleat and invert-box-pleat trims.
There are hundreds of pleated trims out there. If you can find it flat, you can probably find it pleated. And if you can’t find it, consider making it yourself. There are a lot of online tutorials for making your own pleated ribbon trim and some of them get really fancy. Visit the resources page to learn more.
Whether or not a pleated trim is washable depends on what it’s made from. It should come with some care details when you buy it. When in doubt, assume it’s a cold-water, lay-flat-to-dry situation.