Box pleat skirt tutorial

August 25, 2012 at 4:28 am (Uncategorized)

This morning I was inspired by my hoards of scrap fabric to make something new. I made a totally adorable little box pleat skirt. It was so simple, I’m sure anyone can do it. Bear with me, I’m not a photographer by any means and I’m a home taught seamstress, so I’m no expert, but with basic sewing skills, you can do it.

First, we need to draft your pattern. Start by taking measurements around your kiddos waist and hips. We’re going to refer to these measurements from here on out as W and H. I would add an inch to each of these for comfort, but it’s up to you. Now, starting at the waist, measure down to the level where you measured the hips (I call this WTH as in waist to hips), and measure the total length you want the skirt to be (this will be L).

How many pleats do you want? It’s totally up to you. If you’re making more of a cheer skirt, you’ll want more pleats. I did 6 since this was a fairly small skirt. 8 is pretty good for older kids.

Now, let’s get into that pattern. Starting with the pleated area, which we’ll call the panels and inserts. Take your hip measurement and divide it by the number of pleats you want. For the panels, just add seam allowance; for the inserts, times that number by two then add seam allowances. These will be the widths of those pieces. The lengths of them will be L minus HTW plus one seam allowance and the hem. Cut as many panels and inserts as you planned for to these measurements.

For the upper part of the skirt we’re going to get into some old school geometry. Remember all that circumference stuff? We’re actually going to use it. We need to create a piece that’s going to look like 1/4 of a donut. The first formula will be (W+SAs)*2/3.14. Did you get all that? Take your waist measurement and add seam allowances, multiply that by two, then divide by 3.14. This will be the radius of the curve we’re going to make. Now you need your WTH measurement plus one seam allowance. Cut a square of fabric that measures radius plus WTH on all sides. This is what you’ll cut your 1/4 of a donut from. If you want to use interfacing for this part, cut a piece to the same measurements.

You’ll also need a strip of fabric to finish the top edge. I did 3 inches wide by my waist measurement. For a larger size, I’d probably make that 4 inches wide. You could use bias tape too if you’d prefer.

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Let’s get sewing!

Start by alternately sewing together the panels and inserts side by side into a long strip. Once all pieces are sewn together, connect them into a circle. Press and hem one edge. This part is a little tough to explain, so bear with me and see the attached pictures. To start the pleating, bring the edges of two panels together, folding the insert underneath. Press and pin to keep everything in place. If you want the pleats to be more permanent, you can stitch along these folds. Continue pressing all the way around. Then set this section aside for a moment.

Grab that long strip. Press it in half the long way, then open that up and flip the edges in. Press again. Stitch this to the shorter radius of that 1/4 donut piece. Fold that donut piece in half, right sides together and baste along the short edge. This is where your zipper will end up. Now it’s time to pin the pleated circle to the piece you just basted and sew them together. Take your time. If they aren’t lining up perfectly, ease them together as you go.

Now, all you need to do is put in your zipper in that section you basted. For this step, I’ll leave you to YouTube. I’m definitely not a zipper pro and don’t have any pics of the zipper installation.

That’s is, you’re done. Congrats!

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