Dreaming of…pleated skirts (TUTORIAL)

You will need:
7 inch zip
Interfacing (optional)
Hook and eye or button and loop
General sewing kit

1. Cut out the fabric for your waistband. This needs to be the length of your waist + 3cm (for seam allowance) x double the depth you would want it to be + 3cm (for SA) interface one half if necessary – I didn’t as my fabric was thick, but if you have flimsy fabric it might be a good idea.


2. Cut fabric rectangles for skirt these need to be at least double the width of the waistband and the length that you’d like it to be plus 7cm for hem and seam allowance




3. You will now have 3 rectangles, 2 large ones for the skirt and one long narrow one for the waistband.

4. Sew up one side seam of the skirt, if you would like to use a french seam then follow these steps: place the 2 skirt pieces with wrong sides together and edge stitch.

Press seam to one side and fold the fabric so that right sides are now together and your previous seam is encased.


Sew down this side with a 1cm seam now.


5. On both your skirt and your waistband pieces, you now need to mark the centre back (CB), centre front (CF) and side seams. I use pins, but you could use notches or tailors chalk.


6. Match up your markings on the waistband and skirt and pin right sides together at these places.



7. Here’s where the pleating fun starts. You need to make your much bigger skirt pieces fit into your much smaller waist pieces. I always start at the centre front as I think that’s the most important part to get right – it will be where people’s eyes are drawn. (Especially if it’s wonky!)

8. Measure how much fabric you need to fit in. I had 21inches so I decided to split my pleats into 2.5 inch folds. (You will use 3 fold/ lots of fabric in each pleat). As you go, pin all of your pleats in place. I use 2 pins on each pleat, but use as many as you need to hold all your fabric neatly in place.


9. For the centre front I used a box pleat. This meant measuring 2.5 inches from the CF marking then pleating the fabric so that it was folded at this mark and then folded back on itself at the CF. this means I used 7.5 inches of fabric in this pleat. I repeated this on the other side of the CF mark so that at the front I now had a box pleat and a more flattering / streamlined shape.


10. From here I did knife pleats along the rest of the skirt, this was the same process as the box pleat, but a one sided one. I.e. From the end point of the previous pleat I measured 2.5 inches, then folded along this line and then folded the fabric back on itself. Repeat this process on both sides of the CF mark until you reach your side seams.




11. Repeat the knife pleating process from the CB mark, this time going the opposite way so that when you look at your side seam, it will look flatter and more flattering.

12. Now attach the skirt to the waistband sewing the pleats in place using a 1.5cm seam allowance (I used a 5mm seam allowance here as I cut my waistband too narrow-oops!)


13. press the seam allowance up into the waistband and press under 1cm fold on the unattached edge of the waistband.

14. Pin this waistband in place by folding down to enclose all the raw edges and then sew neatly along this fold, making sure you catch all of the fold in place.
15. Finish your raw edges of your unsewn seam. I used my overlocker, but you could use a zigzag stitch or binding (bonus points for that one!)
16. Decide where you want your zipper to start. I decided to start mine just under the waistband so I could add a button and loop.

17. Lay your zip on top of your fabric and mark where your stitching will need to end. This is usually a cm or 2 above where the zipper teeth finish.

18. Sew from this mark down to your hem, back stitching at your start and finish points and leaving it open above the mark. Use a 1.5cm seam allowance here.

19. Press open this seam allowance and continue pressing up to the very top of the skirt waistband.

20. Turn skirt so that it is right sides out and position your zip under the folded fabric.

21. Start with the left hand side of your skirt and line the teeth up with the folded edge of the fabric. Pin this in place.

22. Use a zipper foot to sew down the left hand side.


23. Close the zip and position right hand side of the zip under the folded fabric, overlapping the fabric so that it covers the teeth and lines up with the edge of the sewn down fabric on the other side. Pin and sew in place.



sew across the bottom of the zip

sew across the bottom of the zip


24. Attach button and loop or hook and eye at the top.

25. Hem skirt, I attached a band of contrast fabric to the bottom (oops forgot to take photos of the process), but you could just turn up twice if you wanted to.


And you’re done!


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