Design Variation : Knife Pleats
A knife-pleated skirt hangs straight off the hips, and has a pencil shape when stationary. However once you move, the pleats flare at the hem to allow for a comfortable (and a totally cute) silhouette. These knife pleats are pressed in one direction and are very similar to the tucks featured in the Quick Draw Skirt. However, unlike tucks, they are not stitched down the entire length of the skirt.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your straight skirt front and back slopers onto drafting paper, leaving space all around for design features and seam allowances. Change the pattern to a one-dart silhouette in the front and back. Lower the waistline and change the skirt length as desired on the front and back slopers.
2). Draft a one-piece waistband with separate facing following the instructions with a ¾”-long extension for a hook and eye at the left side seam. (The waistband shown is 1″ wide.)
3). Draw pleat line markings. This skirt has three pleats on both sides of the center front skirt. To plot them equally across the front:
• First measure the skirt pattern width at the bottom of the waistband and multiply times 2 to get the full skirt width.
• When adding six pleats, you are dividing the skirt into 7 equal sections, so divide the full skirt width by 7. Example: if the skirt front is 18″ across, 18 divided by 7 equals 2.57; you can round that off to 2½”).
• Since you are drafting a half skirt with the center front cut on the fold, you will need to place the first pleat line at half the pleat distance from the center front (2½” divided by 2 equals 1¼”). For clarity, the illustration shows these measurements, but yours will be different. Your center pleat may or may not land in the center of the dart, but that is not important.
• If there is any dart showing below the waistband seamline, measure the width of that dart and save it for step 5.
PATTERN DRAFTING NOTE : To create knife pleats, you will slash and spread the pattern apart at designated pleat markings. First, you’ll need to decide how deep you want each pleat and where you want to plot them. The instructions given will produce this skirt design, but mesurements will vary depending on your size.
4). Slash and spread the pleats. For this step, you’ll need tape and a large piece of patternmaking paper. Cut the pattern apart at the marked pleat line closest to the center front. Tape the center front of the skirt to the paper and spread the remainder of the pattern at the first pleat line by twice the desired pleat depth. (If your pleat depth is 1¾”, spread the pleat by 3½”.) Continue across for the remaining pleats.
5). Adjust for the darts. If there was no dart below the waistband seamline, skip this step. Otherwise, you need to incorporate the dart width into the pleats.
• Divide the measurement you saved in step 3 and multiply it by 2 (the number of darts in the whole skirt front). Example: if the width of the dart is 1½”, then x 2 darts = 3″.
• Divide that number by the total number of pleats (in this case, 6). Example: 3″ divided by 6 equals ½”.
• To make the pattern adjustment, divide that amount in half (per the example, one half of ½” is ¼”) and shave that amount off both sides of each pleat along the waist. Blend the new pleat foldlines by drawing a smooth curve from the marks to about 4″ below the waist.
TIP : You might want to mark a vertical line down the center of the spread sections to indicate the inside fold of the pleats.
6). Draft the back pleats. Repeat steps 3–5 to draft pleats on the skirt back (if desired).
7). Complete the pattern. Add ½” seam allowances to all the pattern edges except the center front and center back, which should be positioned on the fabric fold and don’t require seam allowance. Add 1½” for the hem allowances.
Sew the Great Scot Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
• From fabric: one skirt front and one skirt back on the fabric fold, two waistbands.
• From interfacing: one waistband.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one waistband.
3). Transfer the pleat foldlines onto the fabric by hand-basting or using a temporary fabric marker. Snip into the end of each pleat fold ¼”.
›› 2½ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› ⅓ yard of fusible interfacing
›› 7″ zipper
›› Zipper presser foot
›› Hook and eye
›› Matching thread
›› Temporary fabric marker (optional)
4). Sew the side seams. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch the skirt front to the skirt back along the right side seam. Insert a lapped zipper in the left side seam, following the instructions.
5). Hem the skirt with your desired hemming technique, or turn the lower edge ½” and then 1″ to the wrong side and edgestitch the folded edge in place. It’s important to hem your skirt before pressing the pleats.
DESIGN TIP : The pleats can be pressed into a hard crease or left loose to hang freely. Use your design judgment to see what works best for your fabric and silhouette.
6). Press the pleats. Following the pleat foldlines you marked in step 3, press the pleats into place. Press lightly for soft folds or press firmly for hard creases. Press from both the right and wrong side of the fabric. If desired, adjust the pleat foldlines at the side seams to hide the seams.
7). Baste the pleats in place along the top edge of the skirt. If you want, stitch along the outside folded edge of the pleats all the way or partially down the length of the skirt.
8). Add the waistband. Follow the instructions to assemble and attach the one-piece waistband with separate facing. Hand-sew the hook and eye on the overlap and underlap of the waistband above the zipper.
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