Pleated Pencil Skirt Tutorial by Sarah

Hi, I’m Sarah from The Winthrop Chronicles and so happy to be here with you today. I am a former NBC reporter turned stay-at-home mom and avid blogger. I love spending time with my three little ones and documenting it on my blog. I also love to craft and am getting a bit more brave with the sewing machine.

I remembered seeing some cool skirts on this blog, so I made one following this tutorial. The good thing about this pattern is there is a lot of material, so you don’t have to worry about being perfect, but it can also be hard to work with so much fabric. This was definitely my practice skirt. There are a lot of things that weren’t perfect with it, one of them being that the waist is too big so it sits lower on my waist than I prefer. But, once I did the waistband, invisible zipper, and invisible hemline, I felt pretty confident I could try to make my own pattern and try another skirt.

For the second skirt, I added pockets, a slit in the back, and some pleats — all a new experience for me. I took what I learned from the first skirt to help me with some basic measurements.

So here is what I did differently for the second skirt…

What you’ll need:

  • yard and a half of fabric (You might be able to do it with less, but I needed some extra in case I messed up since it was only my second time making a skirt…and I did mess up so I was glad to have the extra fabric.)
  • matching thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • zipper

Measure the front panel of your skirt with the top of the skirt a few inches bigger for the pleats than the bottom. I measured mine 24″ long on top and 20″ wide for the bottom of the skirt. Depending on how many pleats you want, be sure to account for the extra fabric. When the pleats are done, the top should measure half of your waist measurement plus an inch for seam allowance.

Create the pleats by gathering fabric and pining it. It doesn’t matter how far apart they are, just as long as it’s symmetrical. Make sure that the waist with the pleats is half your waist measurement.

Fold over the edges to make the pocket line as seen below.

For the pockets, I used measurements from a different dress I had.

Pin the pockets together as seen below and sew them. Then iron over a small edge. This will attach to the skirt.

Attach the pockets by pinning the ironed fold of the pocket to the folded pocket line of the front panel of the skirt. In the picture below, you are seeing the back of the panel upside down.

For the back, get ready to do some math… You will need to cut 2 panels as seen below. They should be the same length as the front panel.

When measuring the width of the top of the panels (skinny part), here is the math:

your waist size divided by 2
2″ for the slits/pleats you will cut at the top
1″ seam allowance on the side seams
1″ seam allowance for the zipper     +  
what the top panels should equal together

You will have to divide that in half to get the measurement for one panel.

The bottom of the 2 panels together should be the same as the front of the skirt, which in my case is 20″. As you can see in the picture, there are a few inches of extra fabric to allow for the slit at the bottom.

Cut a slit at the top of each panel. Make sure they are equally distant from the center. I cut mine 2 1/2″ long and 1″ across at the top in a triangle shape. Then sew the slit by folding over the panel on to itself, the right side of the fabric in.

This is what it looks like when the pleats on the back are done.

For the slit at the bottom, fold over the fabric on to itself and pin. You may need to do some hand stitching here. I looked at another skirt I had and did my best to recreate the slit.

To do the waistband, invisible zipper, invisible hem, and attach the front and back panels together, follow the original tutorial I used for my first skirt. And, you’re done! Now you have a new skirt!!

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