Pleated skirt pattern
Take your dressmaking skills to the next level with Leah Farquharson’s simple pleated skirt made without a pattern.
This pleated skirt is great to wear all year round! Team it up with sandals in the summer for a cool, comfortable look or layer it up with tights and a cosy cardigan in the winter. We’ve chosen a vibrant, summery fabric here, but you could choose a more neutral shade to transform this pleated skirt into a favourite wardrobe staple.
Learning how to sew pleats is an essential skill if you want to make your own clothes – and this pleated skirt pattern is a good way to pick up the basic techniques and make something beautiful in the process. Using this step-by-step guide, you can stitch a skirt that fits you perfectly using our sizing guide below.
Looking for more skirt patterns? Learn how to make a circle skirt, get ready for summer with our DIY maxi skirt pattern or learn how to sew a wrap skirt.
If you’re new to sewing and you’re looking to develop your skills then check out our beginner’s guides for lots of great tips and advice. Learn how to use a sewing machine and how to use a sewing pattern, or explore our sewing for beginners guide.
Read on to learn how to make Leah Farquharson’s pleated skirt pattern at home…
This article was first published in Simply Sewing magazine – the UK best-selling magazine filled with projects for everyone who sews or wants to start.
- Please use a 5mm (¼in) seam unless otherwise stated.
- Unfortunately the fabric used is no longer available.
You Will Need
- Rayon or other light flowing fabric (2m (2 yards))
- Medium weight iron-on interfacing (1m (1 yard))
- Zip (22cm (8 3/4in))
- Matching thread
- Basic sewing kit
Referring to the size chart above, cut the waistband, skirt front, and skirt back pieces from your fabric. Sizes 10 and up may require wider width fabrics or extra fabric to fit the needed width of the skirt. Calculate the fabric required from the table before you buy it.
Cut out the waistband lining from iron-on interfacing.
Joining the back to the sides
Fold the skirt back in half lengthwise with wrong sides (WS) together and press. Open up the piece and cut carefully up the pressed seam to make two halves.
Match the skirt back pieces to the corresponding sides of the skirt front with right sides (RS) facing and pin together.
Stitch together down both seams.
Making the pleats
The joined skirt front and back needs to be pleated so that it is the same measurement as the length of the waistband. Inverted box pleats work well here and are made by having two pleats facing each other.
Each pleat will need twice the fabric width of the finished pleat so you’ll need to do some calculations to work out the width of each pleat and how many to add. We have inserted six pleats on our skirt.
Each pleat has two outer fold lines, two inner fold lines and a placement line, all spaced evenly apart across the skirt. Mark these lines in pencil onto the WS of your fabric.
Fold the fabric RS together along the placement line, matching inner fold lines and outer fold lines.
Tack the outer fold lines together then press the pleat flat so they match up with the placement line and the inner fold lines become the outer edges of the pleat.
Carefully tack the pleats in place using the longest stitch setting on your machine.
Attaching the waistband
Centre the iron-on interfacing on the WS of the skirt waistband fabric and press.
Place the waistband and pleated skirt top RS facing, matching raw edges, and stitch together all the way around.
Press the waistband piece upwards.
Topstitch the seam allowance of the waistband in place just 2mm ( 1⁄16in) up from the seam. This give the waistband a neat edge.
Stitching the back seam
Place the skirt open and flat RS down then measure 7.5cm (3in) down from the top edge and mark this point.
Measure 20cm (8in) down from the marked point on the waistband and mark. These points mark the start and finish of the zip.
Fold the skirt piece RS together so the raw edges of the two back pieces meet.
Beginning at the top mark and using a 1.5cm (5⁄8in) seam allowance, machine tack by stitching together with the longest stitch length on your machine down to the lower marking.
Without stopping, shorten your stitch length, reverse stitch to secure, and continue the stitching all the way down to the bottom.
Inserting the zip
Press the skirt back seam open. Working on the inside of the skirt, centre the zip, RS down over the machine-tacked section of the seam. Line up the top of the zip slider with the top of the tacking.
Stitch around the zip from one top edge to the other. Turn the skirt RS out then remove the tacking stitches.
Finishing the waistband
Measure and press the top edge of the waistband under by 5mm (¼n) to the WS.
Press the waistband in half WS together to cover the raw edges of the seam. Press into place.
Pin the bottom edge into place then topstitch 2mm ( 1⁄16in) from the top edge.
Slip stitch the sides and lower edge of the inside of the waistband to secure.
Hemming the skirt
Turn the the bottom edge of the skirt under by 1cm (3⁄8in) to the WS, then turn it under again by 3cm (1¼in) to the WS and press to create the bottom hem.
Stitch in place to finish.
You’ve finished! Enjoy wearing your beautiful pleated skirt!