Saturday, May 11, 2013

On my sewing table: Pleated silk skirt

I have a confession to make, readers. I have never made a pleated skirt before. Ok, I did, tried, but the pleats were a little messy, overlapping or spreading around the hips. Not significantly, but annoying enough to produce a wadder. What has changed? I've learned how to integrate the dart intake in pleats, and if you do not possess an 'ideal' figure, it is not done equally, readers. But more about it in a separate post  - it requires a more complex graph to demonstrate it, and I will post it once I the pattern is ready. Here I just wanted to show you the style I decided to make and my fabric choice (from the stash, readers - hail to stash busting!).

To make this skirt I decided to use this medium-weight Oscar de la Renta from my fabric stash. I bought it at Mood maybe two years ago, but in case you like it, they still have it in two other colors online. I think the weight is good to give a pleated skirt some body and structure, not too thin, not too stiff.

Now, let me warn you - this is my first pleated skirt based on this method and it may still go wrong. So just wish me luck and do tell me what's your experience with pleated skirts? Have you used commercial patterns or drafted it yourself? What was the outcome?


  1. I'll be watching this with interest as I'm keen to make a pleated skirt. That fabric is just gorgeous. good luck!

  2. I've yet to try a pleated skirt myself. So, I'm looking forward to seeing your skirt. I do want to create one for the Summer as they are a huge trend right now. I love the fabric too.

  3. I made a pleated skirt once and it didn't flatter my figure. Reason 1: I have a somewhat pear-shaped figure, so the pleats made my hips look big.
    Reason 2: I made the pleats 1.5" wide, so the pleats didn't run all the way to the hem. Kind of like in By Hand London's Elisalex dress, but not as dramatic.
    Reason 3: Instead of pleating it, I gathered my lining, which did not have as much drape as my shell fabric, making the skirt poof up at top.

    I think if I solved reasons 2 and 3, a pleated skirt *could* work with my figure. Hope this helps you, if you have the same figure type. :)

  4. I just bought a cheerful fabric today and it is screaming to be made into a loosely pleated skirt. I think I will start by trying to drape it to my figure. I hope it works! Good luck on your pleated skirt, I feel certain it will come out beautifully :)

  5. 1) I really look forward to your post(s) about this. I'm pear-shaped like Michelle, and so avoid pleats. But it would be indeed interesting to see if there's a way to subtly modify the pattern.

    1a) I know that pleats are hard to execute flawlessly even with a great pattern. I've thought that if I really wanted pleats I might go to Stanley Pleating in New York.

    2) I noticed that Claire Shaeffer has a book coming out on Chanel-style cardigan jackets in October. Although I was a little disappointed by her tailoring book (much less comprehensive than I expected; the "Vintage Couture Tailoring" book is better), I've pre-ordered it on Amazon.

  6. I love the fabric. I tried adding pleats to a skirt and it was a failure in terms of shape. Look forward to yours.

  7. Have made many for 6 yr old a daughter but haven't made one for self, thanks for the inspiration, will try and make one as I am in the process of wardrobe revamp!

  8. I've used commercial patterns for pleated skirts, and they've turned out relatively well! I'm excited to see yours made with silk, as I've only ever used bedsheets for mine :) The fabric is so lovely!

  9. I made one long time ago using a burdastyle pattern (from the '90s) - and it worked fine - I'll check if I still have the pattern!
    Speaking of skirt - any chance that you'll resume the last sew-along soon? No update for so long - too bad, it was such a wonderful project!
    Thanks for keeping us posted on all your projects and new techniques!

    1. yes inquiring minds want to know
      toss it or just unfinished?

    2. Unfinished, Chrissie, sorry for that. I will upload the next post very soon.



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