A couple of people asked me what pattern I used for my pleated skirt, so I thought I would post DIY instructions.
The basic construction is simple but the planning can be a little tricky, so I broke the instructions into two parts:
- What measurements do I need?
- What fabric should I buy and how much?
- How do I figure out these pleats?
- How do I mark the pleats on the fabric?
- How do I sew the pleats?
- How do I finish the skirt (zipper, waistband, hemming)?
Welcome to Part 2!
How do I mark the pleats on the fabric?
Now that we've got our pleat diagram finished, we need to transfer markings onto our fabric. You have a couple choices - you can use transfer paper and tracing wheel or tailor's tacks.
I used tailor's tacks but I'll start by explaining the transfer method.
Find a piece of paper that's long enough to fit all your pleats on (it will be the same length as the fabric you need, which you figured out in Part 1.)
Use the pleat layout sketch to help get the right number of pleats and spaces.
Remember that in this exwe want 13 pleat spaces and 12 underlays, plus seam allowance at either end to insert the zipper at the centre back.
Now take your pleat diagram and use it to draw as many pleats as your skirt requires on the piece of paper. Don't forget to include seam allowance for the waistband and zipper.
Once you've traced enough pleats, use transfer paper and a tracing wheel to trace it to the upper edge of your fabric.
Using tailor tacks is much the same. Instead of tracing the pleat diagram over and over onto paper, I made a cardboard jig and basted tailor's tacks around it over and over until I had the right number of pleats. Again, I left seam allowance for zipper and waistband.
Here's what your jig might look like.
I used foam core under my fabric, so I could just pin right through the jig and my fabric and then baste in tailor's tacks, marking the edge of the jig and the pleat space.
How do I sew the pleats?
Now this is the part where all the hard work starts to pay off!
Stitch each pleat, matching up edges of the pleat space. The pleat underlay is folded underneath. Repeat for each of the pleats.
Does it look like a skirt now? It's getting close, right?
Before we move on, press your pleats and baste the top edge of the pleats, so that things don't shift around as we sew on our waistband. Line up the markings in the centre of the underlay with the pleat stitches, so that the box pleat is even.
How do I finish the skirt?
Almost there! We just need to insert a zipper in the centre back, add a waistband and hem.
I'll leave it to you to choose which methods you use but I will share that I used an invisible zipper and my waistband is a grosgrain waistband made using the method found in Classic Tailoring Techniques: A construction guide for women's wear by Cabrera. I love this method! For hemming, I added a little bit of lace ribbon and hand stitched an invisible hem.
Done! Please let me know if anything doesn't make sense or needs further explanation. Send pics of your finished skirt if you use this tutorial!