Sunday, 6 December 2015

Making: Partially Pleated Mini Skirt

 photo HalfPleatedMini4_zpseyofa9cs.jpg
The other day I had a plan of sewing a basic pleated skirt, and I got all the way through measuring and ironing all my pleats... When suddenly an image of a half-way pleated mini floated into my mind. I went through all my Pinterest inspiration files and sure enough, there, at the very bottom of one of them, I found it. A navy version would have been even better, I admit, but this lilac cotton had to go somewhere.

TOOLS:
 photo 0 Tools_zps2kdmqgns.jpg
1 m of fabric (I used 100% cotton)  |  Scissors  |  Pins  |  Thread, sewing machine & needle  |  15- cm invisible zipper  |  Ruler/measuring tape  |   Button in case you want to add extra hold to the waist, I didn't end up using mine

I. Cut your fabric into two identical rectangles, whose size will depend on your size and how many pleats you want. The width of one, once pleated, should be half of your hip circumference (or if you want the skirt to sit on the waist, your waist measurement) + 3 cm for seam allowances. If doing 2-cm wide pleats like I did, one pleat will require 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 cm of fabric. The length of the waistline I left without pleats was 20 cm. So, width of one rectangle should be: (# of pleats x 6cm) + non-pleated waistline length + 3 cm. The length is determined by how mini you want to go.
 photo 1 Cut pieces_zpshjmlv8xh.jpg
II. First construct your pleats. As you can see, I started at 20 cm and drew a mark every 2 cm.
 photo 2 Mark Pleats_zpss8xmbc2w.jpg
Next, press the pleats. In the image below you see the two first pleats opened up, and the rest folded. Note that every other fold will be hidden - your first mark (A) needs to meet with your third mark (B), then your fourth mark (C) with your sixth mark (D) and so on.
 photo 3 Press pleats_zpszc0vtpik.jpg
Repeat the process so you have both the back and the front piece nicely pleated and well-pressed. You may notice I did one pleat more for my back piece since there's more ground for the skirt to cover on that side:) At this stage, you can also add some more structure to the pleats by sewing a straight stitch either on the right side at the edge of each pleat, about 5 cm down from the top, or inside the pleat fold on the reverse side. I wish I did that at this point - I underestimated the power of my hips in opening up the pleats when the skirt is worn, so had to come back to add these stitches later on.
 photo 4 Both pieces pleated_zps50lhjv0g.jpg
III. To secure your pleats, pin them in place:
 photo 5 Pin pleats_zpszhjpcddk.jpg
.. And sew a straight stitch through at the top.
 photo 6 Sew pleats flat_zpsgu16olfb.jpg
IV. Next pin your invisible zipper on one side of the skirt, so it starts 2 cm from the top edge. Sew in place. Continue the stitch all the way down to complete the side seam.
 photo 7 Pin zipper_zpsfx0r63qj.jpg
V. Then finish the other side seam - place the pieces right sides facing, pin, sew, and press the seam open.
 photo 7.1 Pin other side seam_zpsoyylyuai.jpg [Here's the added fun I had to do - since I didn't sew the pleat tops in place earlier, I had to squeeze my presser foot in there at this stage. Because obviously that was easier than taking 1 minute to pick the stitch holding the pleats together at the top... Here's what it looked like on the reverse:
 photo 8 Added seams_zpsqdm5vtjf.jpg
.. And on the right side. I made the stitch right next to the zipper slightly longer on purpose since that area usually has the most movement.]
 photo 9 Added seams from right side_zpsququoee8.jpg
VI. After all the hassle I finally got to the end. To finish the waist band I just did a double fold with the extra I left above the zipper end, and sewed in in place by hand. Finally, I repeated the same procedure for the hem.
 photo 10 Folded waist band_zpsv3rzjmtg.jpg
When done you'll definitely want to press the pleats once more to give them a crisp look.
 photo HalfPleatedMini_zps3k6brfue.jpg  photo HalfPleatedMini3_zps7iut0jsg.jpg  photo HalfPleatedMini2_zps9immt5gs.jpg
The tutorial for the layered top I'm wearing is here.

xo,

Julia

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