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Pleated trim skirt refashion

I have a lovely little suit that I made myself when I started my first teaching job at age 23. I am now 34, and there were two problems with that suit.

1) The pants are tapered, pleated, high waisted and soooo unflattering (but that’s how all pant patterns were back in the day)
2) The skirt is waaaay too short. Apparently I thought it was OK to wear min-skirt suits back in my 20s.

Now that I am a more dignified (ha!) and stylish (haha!) woman in my thirties, I thought it was time to redo the suit. I needed to add about 3 inches to the length, and that meant a ruffle or a pleat. Since pleats are more mathematical and formal in my opinion, I decided to sacrifice the horrid pants to make pleated trim to lengthen the skirt.

Here is what I started with:

After I took the hem out, I gained about an inch. I serged the bottom edge (this was made well before I had a serger) because I still think it’s fun to serge and to help keep the edge from unraveling. 
Next, from the pants I cut two 5 inch wide strips as long as I could make them. I folded them in half, wrong sides together, and ironed. Irons and pleats go hand in hand. 

As a sidenote, at this point in my redo I decided to reuse the pants pockets in the skirt. I’m not going to cover that part of my project (if you really want to know how to sew in pockets, See Kate Sew has a tutorial here), but it meant that this took much longer than I intended, though it turned out even more awesome than I originally thought.

Next, I made a chalk mark every 2 inches on my strip. I eyeballed the width of the pleats, pinning and ironing as I went (be careful of hot pins!). Here’s what I ended up with:

Sew across the raw edge, about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Go slow, this can get bulky and give your machine trouble depending on the thickness of your fabric.

After I sewed the pleats down, I also serged the raw edge. I disengaged my knife when I did this, again out of concern about the bulk of the pleats I was making.

Then, I serged two short ends together, making sure to catch the serger tail in my stitching. Now I had one long piece of trim with this in the middle:

I lined up this seam with one of the side seams on the skirt, then began pinning trim. 
When I got to the other side seam, I cut off the trim to match the skirt, and serged that edge. You may have to futz with the pleats in that area a bit to make sure they don’t fold up all funky. Sew the trim in place inside the serged stitches, and flip the trim to the inside. Then I topstitched right next to the trim, to keep it from flipping out.
And here is my new, thirties appropriate skirt. It just grazes my knees, and the new pockets make it much more functional. And I was in too much of a hurry to model it with the suit jacket. Sorry!
Want more pleats? Check out 

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! Just finished making pleats to attach to the hem of a skirt (which was formerly a pair of pants), and will be sharing pictures on my blog once I’ve hemmed them on! Your skirt turned out beautifully – I’m so glad you shared your technique.

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