Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Making of a Pleated Skirt

Creative boredom strikes again.

Ever since college I wanted to own a skirt that looked like one of those in the sailor moon outfits. Okay, not really one of those sailor moon girls but school girl, plaid skirts that could make me look girly...somehow. And since shopping for one never ended in an actual purchase because I always just skim through the skirts and walk over to the notebooks and pens, I decided it was time to experiment.

The skirt on this picture is a product of a lousy experiment. I Googled instructions on how to sew a pleated skirt, trust me, but I don't think I followed them exactly. First, of course, you need cloth. I suggest you buy cloth that you actually want to wear as a skirt. Even if it's just your first try, who knows you could make a skirt that would pass quality control. It would be a shame if you used curtain cloth because you didn't expect it to go so well and you end up not being able to wear it because, well, who wants to wear curtain cloth? Buy the cloth you want and you're sure to be careful to sew the skirt right.

Next thing you need to do is learn what in the world a cross-grain is. Because I did not learn what it is when I was sewing this skirt, then I'm not in a good position to tell you either. Google it. Once you understand what it is, you can then decide what length your skirt should be and then add about 2 inches for the hem.

Once your desired length is cut, start making pleats. I used the trial and error method which means I first started making 1 1/2 in pleats until I realized my skirt width wouldn't fit me anymore. Because I knew I would somehow make a mistake the first time I do it, I used pins (needles, actually...couldn't find the pins) to position the pleats. Then when I finally decided to do half-inch pleats in a 1 1/2 in interval, I sewed the tops of the pleats in one neat line.

Once the pleats have been sewn and it still fits your waist, you're doing it right. This part, however, did not go right with me. The skirt waist was too big so I had to change my design. I decided to sew the hem, which is the 2 inches we added to the length of the skirt. Then...

If you haven't noticed that there is no picture of the finished product where I said 'The skirt on this picture is a product of a lousy experiment', then you might not have been paying too careful attention. Or maybe you thought I forgot to upload the picture. In defense, I don't have the picture yet because I don't have the finished product yet. It's still at home, waiting for me to finish it and actually wear it. But since I got you reading this far, you deserve to know what I plan to do next.

Since the waist is too big and I haven't joined the two ends of the cloth yet, I think I'm going to make a wrap-around skirt instead. I'm going to place two or three buttons on one end, then measure where I should place the holes to hold the skirt together. Oh, but before I do that, I should cut out at least 8 inches width of cloth to make the waistband. Folding the cloth in half lengthwise, I should then sew it on the top of the skirt where the pleats are. This is to hide the messy threads I made while sewing the pleats and also where the hook and eye or any latch you were supposed to put on a normal skirt would be.

Now that I have the waistband, I shall then sew in the buttons and voila! The skirt is finished. I think I should iron down the pleats to highlight them. Or maybe I should iron them down before I sew the buttons in. Isn't it obvious that I don't know what I'm doing? This is just great!

I'm going to post this now and when my skirt is done and wearable, I'll post the picture too. (maybe on a separate post just to make sure you read the whole of this. =)

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