Pleated fabrics and the fashion designs that incorporate their unique qualities began with the pleated ruffs of the Renaissance then early folk costume and continued through the elegant era of Fortuny to the exciting couture work of many prominent contemporary fashion designers such as Issey Miyake and Babette and, of course, the beautiful shibori work from Japan. Pleated designs are now greatly accelerated by the heat-setting qualities of many new synthetics, making them washable. Clothing designed with pleated fabrics can solve production issues in sizing since the pleats expand to accommodate physical disproportions or weight changes, making it possible to use small, medium, large sizing instead of standard sizes which means fewer returns and happy customers. Pleated fabrics also offer a wealth of design possibilities since pleats add strength to silhouettes for forming collars and sleeves, for instance, as they stretch; they reflect light in fascinating ways and they skim the body in a smooth line and yet stretch for comfort perfectly -- a joy to wear! How to: Patterns for Pleats.