It’s time for another BurdaStyle project and for my September make I have something a little different from my usual style. A pleated midi skirt.
(Note: I was gifted the PDF pattern free of charge. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy here for more information)
So, a while back my mum sorted through her fabrics and she offered me length of off-white slubby linen-look Poly-blend fabric to add to my stash. At the time I hadn’t a clue whether or not I would even use it. But then a germ of an idea formed (isn’t that always the way?) and I started to think about a possible skirt.
If you read my post of a couple of weeks ago that highlighted the new Autumn season trends, then you’ll know that pleated midi skirts are one of the trends that I mentioned and also off-white is one of the Pantone’s
Now, to be honest trying a midi pleated skirt is totally new to me and a little bit of a style trial. But if we don’t try new things once in a while we never learn or grow eh? Nothing ventured and all that…Anyway, I felt compelled to try out the style and although I don’t have the Victoria Beckham physique (she rocks a pleated midi) I thought why not?
Once I had set my heart on the midi style, I thought that it would be great to sew it as my September BurdaStyle project so I searched the website and found a couple of suitable candidates. I actually did a little vote on IG stories and the more popular one was number 120 07/2016 which coincidentally was shown on the model at the longer length in white so it already looked the part 🙂 The yoke on this skirt design is actually a bit more forgiving for my low waist to hip ratio because it reduces bulk around my midsection (hello full tummy and flattened backside).
There are only 3 pattern pieces for the skirt…2 yoke sections and 1 skirt piece. I cut a size 38 and had to grade out at the waist even further. It’s worth pointing out though, that the pleated skirt pattern pieces are cut cross-grain with selvedges going across the skirt width. They are very wide pieces! Read on for a few pointers about cutting and marking:
Pleats 101: Tips For Preparation:
- True your fabric grain as accurately as possible. I was lucky with my fabric and I could visibly see the grainline really well due to the
- Meticulously mark all of the pleat matching lines with long basting stitches in a contrasting thread colour.
- Before doing any sewing, take the cut and basted pieces to the ironing board and slowly fold and match the basting lines for each pleat…press well and pin in place. Work along the back and front skirt pieces until every pleat is pressed and pinned.
- Lay the pressed and pinned fabric pieces on a work table and baste horizontally across all of the pleats in about four stitching lines, spacing them evenly and starting just above hem level. You can now remove the pins because all of your pleats are held nicely in place while you get on with skirt construction.
Ok, so after I’d finished with all of the pleat preparation I set about sewing the skirt together. A quick pin fit of the yoke meant I needed a bit more wiggle room so I stitched smaller seams. I basted the skirt sides together and temporarily attached the yoke, but on trying it on, I discovered that the pleats looked like they might open up a bit too much when the basting was all unpicked and they wouldn’t have hung nicely, so again, a bit more room was needed in the width.
Now at this point I went off a bit in my own direction…
You see, the pattern is designed with quite a blank pleat-free area at each side, which of course makes it easy to let out or take in. I needed to let out…except I didn’t have enough in my seams (maybe I should have sized up)…so, my solution was to use some of my leftover fabric to cut an extra couple of widths of
Doing this extra couple of pleats meant that I had a pleat almost against the concealed zip, but thankfully it wasn’t close enough to interfere with insertion.
The skirt yoke is meant to be self-lined, but I cut down on bulk a little and used a fine cotton lawn lining instead, which I also used to line the main skirt. To stabilise the waist edge I stitched a narrow cotton tape into the seam.
The final making stage is the hem…Read on for tips on the hemming process that I used and an extra really useful pleat tip.
Hemming And More Pleat Tips:
- Remove all of the horizontal basting lines to free the pleats, but leave the vertical ones. Try on and mark the length.
- Cut a not-too-deep hem allowance. Overlock to neaten
- Fold up the hem and baste close to the folded edge…DO NOT PRESS IT YET.
- Stitch the hem up either by hand or machine
- Get the skirt onto the ironing board and line up all of the pressed folds, matching the basting lines,thoroughly press the pleats through the hem in sections as you go all around the skirt.
- The 6th and final tip is one which will really help with the worry of pressing the pleats back in after the skirt is laundered….What you can do is stitch close to the edge of each inner pleat fold on the inside of the skirt right through the hem and up to within a couple of inches of the yoke. You won’t be able to see this stitching in the outside. It takes a while to do, but is so worth it and when you wash the skirt you already have instant folds to help with the pressing process. It’ll be a doddle trust me!
This photo shows the stitching in detail:
When I was thinking of styling for this skirt I was considering
I’m wearing my leopard print sweater here because I can vaguely recollect seeing Victoria Beckham in a soft, slouchy ‘V’ necked sweater with a pleated midi…and if it’s good enough for her… 😉 I won’t deny though, I had to think a bit harder for styling ideas, but I’m sure I’ll get there. If this skirt turns out to be one that I don’t reach for much, at least I can say I stepped out of my usual style zone and gave it a go.
So that’s it from me for this week, See you soon and keep sewing xx
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Beautiful skirt Diane! Love the way you’ve styled it with the sweater and boots. 🙂
That’s kind of you to say. Thanks so much Lisa x
Oh, I love this skirt on you! I’ve never attempted pleats before, but your skirt is so beautiful I might have to put it on the to do list. Winter white is my favorite color to wear around the holidays, could see this skirt going to a holiday party? Love your animal print with it too!
Thank you Linda! Yes, I think this may well be my new holidays outfit. You should definitely have a go at one.
What a great tip on keeping the pleats in place! Thanks. I was thinking about making one and had all sorts of possibilities in my mind, e.g. get some polyester knife pleated, buy some ready made pleated fabric… or my mister said he saw the skirt I’d like being advertised by M&S which put me off a bit!
Thanks Kate! I’m glad you like my handy tip. And what do men know eh? 😉 It’s all in the styling…
Your new skirt is so lovely on you! I would call this winter white as well; it’s one of my favourite shades for winter.
Thank you, Carolyn! I’d call it winter white too 🙂 One of my fave colours as well.
It looks great! Tofu is such a funny name for that colour. I always think of that as more brownish, but I guess that’s because of deep fried tofu from the takeaway!
Thanks Catherine! Hehe, yes, goodness knows who chooses the names for the colours in the Pantone range.
I hope you do end up reaching for this skirt often because it looks terrific on you Diane! Silhouettes are really changing so we have to get used to them (again)…
And I love your detailed sewing tips… so fantastic.
Thank you, Jen! I’m sure I will. And I’m glad you found all of my tips useful.
Inspirational – thank you.
The skirt looks really terrific and easy to wear – I’d think you could style this anyway you want. I’m in the semi-planning stages of a similar skirt but in wool tartan…..so your sharp pleats, while a joy to behold, are a wee bit intimidating….
Aww, thank you so much, Ruth. Ooh, a tartan one sounds divine! Just go for it. And wool will press like a dream.
Love the skirt and all your tips for sewing it.
Thank you so much Celeste! Glad to pass on any information that might be useful. 🙂
Beautiful skirt Diane! I haven’t worn a pleated skirt in so long I can’t remember (close to 50 yrs I would imagine 🙂 ) but this one on you I REALLY do like. The length with those pleats in white is stunning. Your mum will be thrilled to see what you made with her gifted fabric. One mystery that was never solved, “How did you manage to iron such crisp pleats into polyester?!”
Thanks, Kathleen. I’m going to show the skirt to my mum tomorrow. I’m sure she will be pleased to see what I made with the fabric. I’m so glad you like it. As for the pressing…well the fabric seems to behave really well for some strange reason…It’s odd for a polyester, though I’m wondering if there may be a touch of something else in with the poly? It’s an unknown really as mum had the fabric for so long.
Oh I love this. We would call it winter white and it’s a very trendy colour in any year! it suits you perfectly and is clearly beautifully made. I clicked on your link to have a look at the one on the model, and I like the summer version too.
We could call it winter white, couldn’t we? The names Pantone come up with crack me up! Thanks for the lovely words Sue xx
What a stunning make! Those pleats look so beautiful and crisp. I think that the midi pleated skirt really suits you – sometimes it’s good to try out new styles!
Oh you’re so kind, thank you! Yes, definitely, it is good to try new styles…we never learn what we like if not 🙂