Design Variation : Inverted Box Pleats
Box pleats aren’t reserved for cheerleader uniforms anymore. Here they are inverted and transformed into a chic detail, showcased in modern metallic fabric and a short hemline. Like most pleats, box pleats can be pressed into a hard crease or left unstitched for a softer, less tailored look.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your basic flared skirt front and back patterns on drafting paper. Do not include seam or hem allowances yet and leave space all around for design features. Trace the darts. The skirt has a center-back zipper.
2). Lower the waistline and shorten or lengthen the skirt as desired.
3). Make the waistband. Draft a 2½”- to 3″-wide contoured waistband with separate facings. Plan a waistband extension for a center-back zipper.
4). Plan the pleats. Determine how many pleats you want and how deep they should be; the pleats in this skirt are 3″ deep and inverted (see Pattern Drafting Note below). There is one center front pleat and two additional pleats, each 3″ away from the center toward the side seams. There are no pleats in the back.
5). Draft the pleats.
a) Draw a slash line from the dart point down to the hemline parallel to the center front for the two side front pleats.
b) Cut the pattern apart on the slash line and tape the center front section to patternmaking paper with plenty of paper on both sides. Spread the side of the skirt away from the center twice the determined pleat depth and tape it in place. Then extend the center front equal to the determined pleat depth.
PATTERN DRAFTING NOTE : Box pleats are easy to add to any design by simply bringing two folds of fabric together. They can be drafted so the folds meet on the wrong side of the garment for traditional box pleats, or with the folds meeting on the right side of the garment to make inverted pleats, as done with this skirt.
6). Mark the pleat folds with small clips into the seam allowance. Or, you can mark the inside and outside foldlines the entire length of the pattern, so you can transfer them to the fabric and make it easier to fold the fabric.
7). Complete the pattern. Add ½” seam allowances to all of your pattern pieces. Add 2″ hem allowance. Add grainlines, note to cut the front on the fabric fold, and add registration marks.
›› 1½ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› ¾ yard of fusible interfacing
›› 7″ zipper
›› Zipper presser foot
›› Hook and eye
Sew the Heavy Metal Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
- From fabric : one front skirt and two front waistbands on the fabric fold, and two skirt backs and four back waistbands.
- From interfacing : one front and two back waistbands.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each waistband.
3). Fold the pleats. Refer to the registration marks to fold the pleats in the skirt front and pin them in place across the top edge. Baste across the top edge.
4). Insert the zipper. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, insert the zipper and stitch the center-back seam.
5). Sew the side seams. With the right sides together, stitch the skirt front and back together along the side seams.
6). Assemble and attach the waistband. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch the two interfaced back waistbands to the interfaced front waistband at the side seams. How to assemble and attach a two-piece waistband and facing with a waistband extension.
7). Hem the skirt. Carefully press under the lower edge of the skirt ½” to the wrong side, and then press under 1½”. Topstitch close to the inner folded edge, or sew the hem as desired.
FABRIC NOTE : This skirt is made of a metallic, floral-print fabric. Though the end result is wonderful, pressing metallic fabrics can be tricky. Always use a press cloth between the fabric and the iron and lower the heat setting to prevent damage to the fibers.
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