How to make a beautiful pleated skirt?

How to make a beautiful pleated skirt?

It's still fashion, the pleated skirts. They come in all sizes and colors, including our fabrics! In our other inspiration post you can read how to process a fine pleated fabric as a "quick sewing project". A bit more effort is required for a skirt with larger pleats. But we already tested it extensively and made a step-by-step guide for you!

The description is based on a piece of pleated fabric of a certain width, with a length of approximately 74 cm (as in the photo). You can also make a longer or shorter skirt, the method remains the same! 


You need:

  • Your fabric
  • Matching sewing thread
  • A zipper of approx. 20 cm
  • Matching ribbon
  • Button

Fold the ribbon in half. Measure the distance that you want, depending on where you want your skirt to hang, at the waist or lower on the hips. If you let the skirt hang a bit lower on your hips, the pleats will flatter. Be sure not to take it too large, because in our experience, the skirts often turn out to be wider because only the waist ribbon is tight!

Add 2cm extra for the overlap at the zipper where the button will be sewed at the end. Stitch the short sides of the waist ribbon. Leave enough seam allowance on the inside to adjust later after stitching the zipper. Turn the ribbon with the right side out and stitch the top border together, very close to the side.

Close the pleats by using removable tape, such as washi tape. Make sure that all pleats are nicely closed. Sew on approx. 0.8 cm from the side. You can then remove the tape. Make sure that you stitch straight, this stitching will later be your guide for the waistband.

 You only have one side seam, the one where you have to insert the zipper. Start for the zipper on the side of the pleated skirt where the zipper must be stitched 'underneath' the pleat. Unfold the pleat depth and cut off where the next pleat would begin (you might have to loosen a small piece of what you have already stitched).

Finish this side with a zigzag stitch or overlock stitch. Iron this piece flat on the fold. Be careful not to flatten the next fold!

Put the top of the zipper at the top side of the fabric. Align the teeth of the zipper with the center of the pleat, the side aligns with the overlocked edge. Make sure that the teeth of the zipper do not pass the fold (or pleat), because then your zipper might become visible, to be sure, you can place it a little further to the overlocked side. Stitch the zipper with a zipper presser foot on a single layer of fabric (unfold the pleat for this again).

Then fold the pleat back to the inside and stitch on top.

Now you have to stitch the other side of the zipper. To be sure that you cut the right pleat for narrowing the piece of fabric to your size, it is best only now to cut off the extra piece of fabric that you left (and not in the beginning). To do this, first pin the ribbon that you stitched earlier, onto the top of the fabric, by sliding the fabric in between. Note that only 1 cm of the fabric is in between, so just beyond your stitching on 0,8 cm. Also start with that side of the ribbon where you already stitched the zipper.

The end of the ribbon must end between two folds. If necessary, adjust the length of the ribbon a little, for this you initially left the extra seam allowance. You have to loosen the seam that you stitched first to secure the pleats.

Now cut the fabric at the height of the next fold (see red arrow). Finish with a zigzag stitch or overlock stitch. Iron the last fold (see yellow arrow). 

Place the zipper on the pleat where the other pleat will overlap if you close the zipper. To do this, close the zipper once and slide it nicely between the folds, then it becomes clear where your zipper should be. Pin in place. First sew the zipper on by hand so that you can close the zipper to double check whether the zipper is nicely hidden between the pleats. Stitch the zipper with a zipper presser foot. Then fold the seam allowance (on the side of the teeth of the zipper) to the inside of the fabric so that you can slide the fabric nicely between the waistband. 


Now close the rest of the seam . Pin both side seams together and sew on approximately 1,5 cm from the edge (or in the pleat that you ironed flat, but which is still visible). Start stitching at the bottom so that the bottom of your skirt is straight. 


Now you can slide the waist ribbon nicely over the fabric. Pin and stitch close to the edge. To be sure that this stays in place, it is best to fix it by sewing by hand before stitching it in place.

Put a snap button on the part of the ribbon that overlaps the other one, so that your skirt closes nicely at the top.

The bottom can be nicely finished with a rolled hem (with an overlock stitching machine). Then flatten the pleats by gently ironing on them. Or you can leave the selvedge as it is of course, or trim the 'fringes' of the selvedge of the fabric (do not cut into the fabric, because then it will fray).  

You can now also buy our skirts in a sewing box with all the essentials. Click on this link

Happy sewing!

Need inspiration? Click on the photos below and go straight to this product! For 44,5 euros you have a piece of fabric for a beautiful skirt!


Back to blog