I have been dreaming about a pleated midi skirt for ages, and I have loads of Pinterest images saved for inspiration, but somehow I never really got around to making one. I kept looking for patterns and none seemed to hit the mark. Until I asked my friend and sewing goddess, CL Hardie (The Thrifty Stitcher) of the Sewing Bee fame, and she recommended a pattern whose skirt was just right.
I also had the added incentive of a relaxed wedding we had to go to, plus I really wanted this part of my Red Spring capsule to take it with me to the US for my trip last week. It really was the central piece around which I imagined everything else, so definitely no pressure there…
It also happened that I noticed there was a sale on the McCalls website, which usually means that if I order 3 patterns plus shipping still ends up being cheaper than buying them full price in the UK. I got two other MacCalls Spring patterns that I was lusting after, but goodness knows when will they make my sewing queue at the rate of my productivity (or lack there off) lately.
But more about this skirt…
The right pattern for my pleated midi skirt
I had a very clear picture in my head of the kind of skirt I wanted, but I could not seem to find the right pattern. I wasn’t sure if the fullness was from a circle type skirt, or was it more of an A-line… I had considered the Stephanie Skirt from Just Patterns, but again, it didn’t feel full enough. Then CL sent me the link to Gertie’s pattern for Butterick, B6556 and I had my aha moment! It was just perfect and I could always draft a waistband and extend it a bit to get a midi length.
The right fabric makes the perfect pleated midi skirt
It also so happened that I had just welcomed the perfect fabric into my stash recently and it all came together like magic.
A little while ago, I was invited to a blogger event (I wrote about it on my FB page, please scroll down a bit) at Fashion Capital, a social enterprise, ethical garment factory and sewing apprenticeship centre in North London. We had a fantastic opportunity to meet Pattern Cutting Master Claudette Joseph and get a taster session in origami pattern cutting (one word: mind-boggling), but we also got to choose some fabric from their stock.
The great news is that they also have an online shop of designer leftovers from their production work, with really really great fabric at fantastic prices (£8/m for real silk!???). It will definitely become my go-to destination for online fabric, but you can also go and have a look in person. (Btw, this is not sponsored, just wanted to share this really great treasure trove of fabrics).
But I digress.
What I meant to say that as part of that event, I was offered this piece of heavy-weight crepe-backed satin that I didn’t really know what to do with until the skirt idea popped into my head. It’s quite heavy and shapely and if pressed really hard, it will definitely hold a crease until the cows come home. And it’s quite swishy too and hangs really well (it’s quite heavy), so there I had it, a match made in heaven.
Because I wanted to be able to wear it in more casual situations, I decided to use the wrong side of the fabric as my right side, so it’s more mate and less well, satiny.
Putting it all together
This is by no means a complicated make. Just follow the instructions on how to assemble the skirt, as per the pattern. I added about 20 cms to the skirt, but because the waist ended up higher than the pattern, final length might vary depending on your preference.
For the waistband, I wanted a bit of a wider one, that sat quite high. My love of high waists in trousers and skirts has been mentioned before. So I cut a 6cm wide piece to match the length of the pleated front and back pieces. This resulted in a 4cm wide waistband. I shaped the side seams like a half-moon, so that they came in really tight in the middle and a bit wider where they met the skirt pieces and each other at the top. I then interfaced both of them and sewed the side seams and pressed and then the top seams and folded.
I used bias binding pressed in half to finish the edge that was not sewn to the skirt. I then attached the waistband to the skirt pieces (they had already been constructed as per instructions, including pockets).
I added an invisible zipper and attached the edges of the waistband by machine for a clean finish.
Last part was to finish the hem, which I did by overlocking and then folding over by 5cm and machine topstitching. All side seams and the pockets were finished with the overlocker.
I initially cut a size 14, the amended to 12, but even that was way too big, so I think I would be ok with a 10 next time. I recommend pinning all the pleats and side seams and trying it on so you can make sure you have the right size before cutting out the waistband and sewing the pockets on. Or, even better, measuring the waist circumference and comparing with the resulting skirt circumference, then adjusting the pleats/side seams as required.
If you follow me on IG, you would have seen me wax lyrically about how much I love this skirt and you would have seen quite a number of outfits I came up with based on it. It’s a definite winner and on its way to being a staple in my wardrobe. I have already worn it 5 times, so I’m sure I will reach the mythical 30 wears in no time at all.
Now, the only problem is that it whetted my appetite for making more of these… How many midi pleated skirts does a girl really need?
Pleated Midi Skirt – Details
Pattern: Butterick B6556 Size 12
Fabric: Heavyweight crepe backed satin from Fashion Capital
Notions: invisible zipper in skirt length, a piece of interfacing
Alterations: only used the skirt pieces and added a waistband
Next time: cut a size 10 and make the waistband a tiny bit tighter
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MIDI SKIRTS? DO YOU USE PATTERNS FOR PLEATED SKIRTS OR CALCULATE YOUR OWN? ANY OTHER GOOD MIDI SKIRTS PATTERNS I SHOULD CHECK OUT?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR TWEET ME @SEWRENDIPITY.