October 6, 2010

As requested...

by Creative Mama in her comment to my latest post.

She wants to know how to draft that pleat I used for my skirt because, wait for it... She wants to get back to wearing skirts!
Now, I need to make one thing clear: I don't grant all requests. Not because I'm nastly but mainly because, in many cases, it's not as simple as it seems. That's why I do tutorials for jersey tops, but not for trousers.
However, this is a very simple request to grant AND for a good cause.

Dear Creative Mama, if you've done any pattern drafting yourself, you probably have a skirt sloper (when I learnt pattern making, everyone had to start with that, even if you not planning on ever making a skirt). If you don't, you can use any normal pattern for a straight skirt. I' going to give the instructions for a pattern without seam allowance.
On your sloper or pattern, the back piece will look like this:

If it has added width for a back vent, remove it.
Make sure the pattern is at the length you want.
Determine how deep you want your pleat to be. In the finished product there will be two double pleats on top of each other, behind the center back seam. So the added room for movement will be pleat depth times eight. My pleats are 5 cm deep.
The pattern for the pleating looks like this:

The dotted lines will be the fold lines. There's 5 cm between each of those in my pattern.
When you are sewing the skirt, simply start by sewing the center back seams of pleat and skirt above the pleat.
Then, press the pleats, matching the diagonal lines at the top.
Stitch the tops together, ending at the center back seam.

To save fabric or to use a contrasting colour in the pleat, you can also cut the pleat section seperately. In that case, just take care to keep the seam, joining it to the skirt, out of sight.
It is important to pick a fabric which can be pressed well or you could (which I don't like, but it is an option) narrowly topstitch each pleated edge to keep it in shape.

I hope this is clear to you. Just let me know if there are any more questions. Or suggestions. Or other requests. Or thanks ;)


  1. Thanks a ton. I self-draft my patterns and was confused with this vent pleats. Thanks again for taking time to do this. Sewing part is still bit unclear to me as to how to start with, do i need to finish the pleats first and then go ahead with CB seam will align properly, will it pucker.... please do clarify, Thanks again...

  2. I mostly lurk here, but I wanted you to know that I find this really interesting and helpful. I am trying to learn to draft very basic patterns from Cal Patch's book, but I have no concept of how to add interesting details by myself. I find your blog very inspiring as I struggle through the beginner parts. So, thank you!

  3. Lovely! So simple once it's laid out like that, but a lot of mental gymnastics if you don't know what you're doing :)

  4. Thank you for this,it makes a simple skirt so much better and good instructions too,I will be trying this on my next pencil skirt.

  5. You are kind, to be doing tutorials like this... Well done!

  6. Thank you.... actually i can't thank you enough. my long pending problem got solved... though i have to redraft my sloper to my current measurements, i tried this out with my DD's Skirt and here is the result....


  7. i always wondered how to do these!! thank you so much for simplifying. I will be trying this asap!

  8. The finished dress (skirt & top) which is Dress no.7 of my Navarathri collection of 9 new dresses for darling daughter can be found here. Thanks once again for the vent pleat draft...


  9. i'm confused about what the patterns should look like! i would really like to use this double box pleat for my senior project can you please upload some more pictures? a little step by step but no really!! please please please!!!