Introduction: Easy Pleated Skirt - No Pattern Needed

It's surprisingly easy to make a basic pleated skirt.  You don't need a pattern - you just need some measurements.  And the great thing is, you'll just be cutting your fabric in rectangles, so there's nothing complicated about it!

With this skirt, I used 3 yards of fabric and added a contrasting color to the hem and waistband. 

Step 1: Materials

What you need for this project:

Fabric: See diagram to determine amount of fabric needed.  When in doubt, 3 yds will make most things!
Zipper
Hook & eye for waistband
Thread
Scissors
Iron
Sewing Machine
Pins 
Ruler

(honestly, I quit trying to use the ruler after about 15 minutes and just made the pleating up as I went along.)

Step 2: Cut & Sew Panels

So in the previous step you figured out how many panels you need and at what length.

Now it's time to cut them and sew them together to create one long panel that we'll pleat up.  

Sew together the pieces at the side seams along the selvage edges, and press the seams open.

Step 3: Make the Pleats

One reason it's great to have extra fabric is that you can play a lot with how deep you want your pleats to be and how full you want the finished skirt.

I tried out a bunch of different methods (including marking them all with a ruler and chalk) and then decided just to eyeball it.  Really, when you have a lot of pleats on your skirt, especially if it's a busy fabric, people won't notice the precision of your pleats.  

I ended up settling with 1" knife pleats.  See the first diagram to show you how they should look.  Each fold is 1" deep and none of them overlap.  Rather the top fabric comes to the place where the bottom of the fold stops.  It's easier to understand once you get your hands on it.  And again, there are no hard set rules here!  Do what you like.

Iron and pin your pleats in place.

Sew along the top of the pleats to hold them in place.  You're almost done!

Step 4: Finishing

I decided to add a contrasting color hem to the skirt, so I just serged that right on.  You can do this with a sewing machine, or skip it all together.  Either way, it's time to finish the hem on your skirt in whatever way you like.  

Try on your skirt and determine where the zipper should go.  Install the zipper according to the package's directions.

Add a waistband if you like - I chose to do one in the same contrasting fabric as I did the hem.  I added a little support in the waistband with some grosgrain ribbon, folded the fabric over it, and serged it to the top of the waist.  

Finish your waistband with a hook and eye.  

You're done!


Comments

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Herothemiss (author)2016-03-02

I'm going to make this right now. It's so cute!! I've been looking for a new project and this is perfect. Thank you!

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JessicaR22 made it! (author)2015-08-24

Thank you for the tutorial! I am a real beginner sewer so the zipper was challenging, but I got it (eventually!).

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ehj1492 made it! (author)2015-07-16

Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was super easy to understand and very simple to make. I had never sewn much more than hems on a machine before I tried this because I like sewing by hand, but this helped give me a confidence boost when it comes to using a machine, and I was very pleased with the two I made. Awesome! (you'll have to excuse my face in the first picture, I'm not a fan of taking mirror selfies)

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micalonga (author)2014-03-14

Hi! The tutorial looks pretty easy, i had to translate some words because i didnt understand well what i had to do, but nothing more than that. There's one thing i dont understand and i couldn't get it: in steps 1 and 2 i dont understand the panels thing. I get that you need like, 3 yds of fabric for starters?? and in the graphic it has the rectangle like divided in 3, are those supposed to be the panels?? and then in step 2 you have to sew them together, i dont understand from which part and how (i honestly couldn't understand the pictures, particularly the one with the white line in the middle). what are the measurements of the panels be?? like length x waist and then sew them on the 'lenght side'?? sorry i have so many questions; hope you understand what i mean :)

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jszemin (author)2014-02-27

Hello :D
This tutorial looks doable for me this beginner :)
However, I do not understand the measurement part. Please help me :)

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jszemin (author)2014-02-27

Hello :D
This tutorial looks doable for me this beginner :)
However, I do not understand the measurement part. Please help me :)

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Penolopy Bulnick made it! (author)2014-01-29

I made a pleated skirt using your tutorial! Yay! Prefect for my Halloween costume!

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Rhi-Rainbow (author)2013-08-25

So I had a bash at this tutorial, and with a little help from my mum it worked out quite well!
I've uploaded a picture :)
xx

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lingham1 (author)2013-08-13

Great tutorial! This is going to be perfect for a cosplay I'm planning for March.

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thekatiepett (author)2013-07-30

I was so thrilled to stumble upon your easy to understand tutorials! I'm starting on making my little girl (Miss Madeline Ann- who is a petite 6 month old sweet tart) a "spirit/cheer" skirt for her cousin's upcoming football season & Kentucky's Wildcat games, too! Yay! (a multi-tasking skirt) If you are able could you give me a few tips? I'm a newbie sewer & I'm AWFUL with measuring, ect. LOL- With that, she is about 23" long and pretty tiny..so how long would you imagine I need to cut the panels? If you can get back to me and follow me on twitter I'd so appreciate it or Facebook. But, I'm always on twitter - @TheKatiePett.
Love your tutorials, pleated maxi skirt is next on my list! I'm only 5 ft. tall so I MUST make my own, lol! xoxo- Katie

author
Rhi-Rainbow (author)2012-08-15

I love this skirt!
I've been looking for something to do with my old fabric (well, fabric that I decided I needed to have and never used!)
I'll try and post a picture when I'm done :)
Rhi.x

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MKosterich (author)2012-06-27

It is official, I will be making this. Now to find fabric and actually do it...

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scoochmaroo (author)MKosterich2012-06-27

And I'll help!

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Mrballeng (author)2012-06-26

When do you rest??? Keep up the good work.

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scoochmaroo (author)Mrballeng2012-06-26

I just got so revved up by the Fashion Contest!

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Ninzerbean (author)2012-06-26

I love it!

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Bio: Former Living & Food editor here at Instructables, now running Sousvidely.com! Follow me @sousvidely
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