Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Tutorial ~ Easy Peasy Pleated Miniskirt

So for a moment there it actually looked like Spring... Never mind, armed with my sewing machine and some Hawaiian-style surfer print cotton, it still can be.  At least until it really is.  So grab yourself a couple of metres of fabric that makes you happy*, stick on the following playlist, and let me quickly show you how to make this supercute pleated miniskirt.

You will need:

2m fabric
1m ribbon for the waist fastening (cut in half)
invisible zipper (approx 6 inches long)
sewing machine with matching thread
measuring tape

Start with the waistband.  Cut a rectangle of fabric that measures about 6 inches deep (double the depth it will be once folded plus seam allowance) by your own waist measurement in inches,  plus 1 inch on each side seam allowance (generous allowance I know, but better to add extra so you can let some out if you need to!).  This waistband will be meeting at centre back (like this one), not overlapping, so no fannying around with hooks and eyes or buttonholes, we'll just be sewing some ribbon into the seam to make for a pretty bow tied in back.

Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.  Then open it up and, right side facing you, place your lengths of ribbon at each end, aligned with the fold.
    Fold over again, this time right sides together sandwiching the ribbon, and stitch those short ends with a 1 inch seam allowance.  Turn right side out and double check that it still fits your waist before trimming seam allowance!

    Now we need to make three little notches along the raw edge that will correspond to three little notches on the fabric for the skirt to make sure the pleats are evenly spaced.  Do this by folding the waistband in half, snip a notch at the fold (centre), then fold in half again and snip that fold (quarters).

    At this point you'll need to decide which side of your waistband is the outside and which is the inside.  The fabric I used for the waist had some grass print so obviously I went for the side where the grass was right way up.  Now press the notched edges inwards, with the inside of the waistband slightly deeper than the outside - this is so that when you come to edge stitch the waistband to the skirt, you'll be sure that the needle will go through all the layers.

    The skirt!  Cut a big rectangle approximately double the width of your waistband (or wider if you want more pouff) and however long you want your skirt to be, adding at least three inches for seam and hem allowances.  Always better to cut longer and shorten than to cut too short.  Press the side edges in by half an inch.

    Make three notches along the top in the same manner as for the waistband.

    Open up your waistband so you can see the notches and match up the central notches on the band and skirt.

    Pin the skirt to the inside of the waistband where the notches correspond.

    Arrange the pleats evenly between the notches and securely pin into place.

    When you're happy with the arrangement, fold the top of the waistband over and pin close to the fold.  When you turn your skirt to the wrong side, make sure that the pins are also holding the inside folded edge of the waistband also.

    Time to insert the invisible zipper... For some reason, despite having sewn countless invisible zippers, I always find it a daunting task.  Then I do it, remember how easy it is and feel a bit silly.  Either way I'm not going to try to walk you through it myself... I'll hand you over to the professionals at the Coletterie for a proper tutorial instead!  One word of advice though: make sure you lower the setting on your iron if you want to avoid melting/curling up your zip... Like I did...

    silly me...
    much better

    Now you can edge stitch the waistband to the skirt!  Stitch with the right side facing you keeping your stitches as neat as possible and close to the fold.

    Seeing as you pressed the waistband so the inside fold would come down a little lower, all three layers should have been caught as you edge stitched the outside.

    All that's left to do is the hemming!  Make sure you try on the skirt first so you can be sure to mark the length you want.  Then press the hem in twice and stitch.


    *Preferably a lightweight woven fabric like cotton, but would look equally cute in jersey too - although I'd only recommend that to sewers with a little experience sewing with knits.  Non-stretch fabrics are much easier to work with if this is your first attempt!


    1. OMG! You are so talented! Love that skirt!!!!

      hugs from New York,
      Ask Erena
      P.S. See what is new in my shop:-)

    2. Cute skirt. I just last night curled a zipper in the same way. DOH! I wonder if it will ever come back to shape??

    3. I realy like your skirt! We call it: HIP in Holland.

    4. This is awesome. I'm totally making one! I've been looking for something like this for a while now! Thanks for that!

    5. This is an awesome skirt! I'd seen your blog on the interwebs a while ago and then couldn't find it again. You're in my reader now and I'll definitely make this skirt once it gets warm again! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

    6. Thank you for this tutorial! I love your version and I just finished my version and posted about it on my blog:


    I love hearing your thoughts, and if you have any questions at all, I will reply to them within these comments - so please be sure to check back to get your answer!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...