Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY: Pleated skirt tutorial

I've been away for a little while because I've been sick. I got some weird vertigo symptoms after a nasty cold, so I've been unable to do much in the last week or so, as moving makes me dizzy which then makes me nauseous. I'm still a bit dizzy, but since I've been going crazy doing nothing, I decided to try to make a pleated skirt. It took me way longer than usually to complete the sewing project, as I had to take breaks all the time due to dizziness. Who knew folding pieces of fabric and pinning them together could be such an effort?

Anyways. I found this tutorial for a pleated skirt, but I decided to make some modifications.

Above is the fabric I used. It's this cotton/linen type of fabric (I think it was originally meant for curtains, but whatever).

Start by cutting two rectangles of the fabric. I decided to use the entire width of the fabric I had and just make more pleats to make it fit my waist, so I only had to decide on the length. I made mine 65cm (~25") and then made the hem with an extra wide seam allowance at the end, but you can make it any length you want.

Mark the top center of the width of your fabric, then start making pleats towards the center from both sides. You can measure and mark the pleats if you want to be super accurate, but I just made them without any exact measurements, estimating the width as I went along. Note that if you want to add a zipper in the back (as I did) and not in the side seam, you should leave a gap between the middle pleats of the back piece and not pin the centermost pleats right next to each other. I left a gap of about 2-3cm (~1") for the zipper in the middle of the back piece.

Once you're finished pinning the pleats, the skirt piece should look like this (the front piece without the gap in the middle):

The width of the piece should be half of your waist measurement plus seam allowance. I made mine a bit big, just in case, because I could always add a pleat to the side seam if I wanted to. Turns out there was no need and it was good that the measurement leaned a bit towards the too-big side, as the end result fits me perfectly.

Top-stitch over the pleats to keep them in place:

Next, I wanted to add pockets, so I cut the pocket pieces. Pockets should be shaped approximately like this, unless you want to make square pockets:

There are four pieces in the picture, they're just on top of each other. Make sure your hand fits the pocket.

Estimate where in the side seam you want the pockets to be, then pin them along the side seam, right side to right side. Measure the distance from the top to make sure the pockets align once you sew the side seams together.

(Here you can sort of see the small gap I left for the zipper in the middle.)

Sew the pockets along the edge of the skirt using the same seam allowance you're going to use for the side seams themselves.

Press the sewn pockets open with an iron:

Then lay the skirt pieces on top of each other, right side to right side, and pin. Sew along the edges like so:

If you haven't added pockets and want to insert the zipper into the side seam, leave the other side seam open at the top for the zipper and sew it in. As I added the zipper in the back, I did like this:

Slit open the gap in the middle of the back piece (make the slit about as long as your zipper) and add a zipper. I've usually just pinned the zipper and sewed it on, making it more or less visible, but this time I tried this tutorial that I found. And it worked pretty well!

My zipper seams are always a bit wobbly since my old sewing machine doesn't have a zipper foot, but it doesn't really bother me. And I think the zipper turned out just fine, plus it's not as visible as the ones I usually manage to sew.

Then, it's time to add the waistband. Make it a bit longer than your waist, as it will overlap the zipper part. Press the raw edges in and then fold the whole thing in half and press again. You'll get something like in the middle picture here:

My waistband was about 8cm (~3") when I cut it, and it turned out narrow (which was what I wanted). You can make it wider if you want.

Next, pin the waistband over the pleated top of your skirt, encasing the raw edges of the pleats inside the fold of the waistband:

Sew the waistband on, also folding the raw edges in at the ends.

Make sure there is overlapping fabric, as the next step is to add a hook and eye:

Then it's only a matter of hemming the skirt, and your pleated DIY skirt is all done and ready to use!

Rocking the new look:

(Sorry about the pale zombie no-makeup look. In my defense I have been sick...)

But yeah, I'm really loving the pleated skirt, and it was so easy to make, too! What do you think? :)