If you read or have seen the Harry Potter movies, you know that in Hogwarts, the students are separated into four different houses; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
For the midnight release of the book, I decided that I needed to support my favorite house, which is Hufflepuff. For my outfit, I made a Hufflepuff themed pleated skirt.
Step 1: Supplies List
Here are the supplies that you will need:
Your sweet self
Piece of paper
Thread (which matches your darker color fabric)
Either a Serger Sewing machine or seam tape
And at least one yard each of fabric of the two colors of your house.
Something to use as a closure (see in closures)
Ribbon of either house color to use as trim. (about 4 - 5 yards)
Eyelets and and eyelet setter and string
lots of saftey pins
whatever your imagination brings you...
Step 2: Choosing Your House and Fabric
Although I picked Hufflepuff, it doesn't mean you have to.
Here's the houses and the corresponding colors...
Gryffindor: Scarlet and Gold
Hufflepuff: Yellow and Black
Ravenclaw: Blue and Bronze (the Bronze is turned to grey in the movies)
Slytherin: Green and Silver
If you like all of the houses, a creative and colorful skirt can come out of combining them all.
Having trouble picking a house?
Why not take this quiz here (even though they think Hufflepuffs suck... the test works)
Once you have picked a house, head over to either your 'clothes to donate' to rummage for fabric, or go to your local fabric shop.
I chose the latter, and bought cotton fabric used for quilting. It is very worth it to buy the fabric that is slightly more expensive (the cheaper ones were about 2-3 dollars, the one I got was 4) because it is thicker, does not wrinkle as easily, and is not see through. I bought two yards, but I only used a little more than a quarter of that (This was 60" wide fabric, not 45").
I would prefer something along the lines of linen look alike, but they did not have the colors I needed. You are almost guaranteed the right colors with quilters cotton (simply because there is such a large selection).
Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Measure around your hips (where you would like the seam on the skirt to fall). My measurements were about 42 inches.
I wanted pleats that were about 2 inches thick.
You can change what length you want your pleat.
So, divide your measurement by two. That's how many rectangles you will need. If it comes out to an odd number, you'll end up adding one more.
With 2 inch pleats, each piece of fabric you will cut out will have to be about 6 and a half inches. To ensure equal cuts of fabric, I pinned both pieces of fabric together, cut out a 6.5 by 11 rectangle out of paper, and used that as a pattern. (Note: if you added the one extra rectangle, you can either make these rectangles slightly smaller, or sew a larger seam.)
Pinning the fabric together not only keeps it so that even if you mess the sides up a little, the will match, but also cuts cutting time in half.
I cut the full 2 yard length of the fabric. Also, I kept the bottom end on the fray free part of the fabric. If you do not have a piece of fabric that has a frayless side, you will need to either hem the fabric or add a ribbon trim.
After all the rectangles have been cut out, pin them together in alternating colors.
Step 4: Sewing and Hemming
Where you pinned the rectangles together, sew them. If you do not have a serger sewing machine, you can buy seam tape to both strengthen the seams and prevent fraying. If you have a serger, just finish the seams using that.
If you want to hem your skirt, the best time to do that would be now. Unless you decide when you finish your skirt, that it is too long and hem it then, but after the pleats are in, it is a pain to iron the fabric the perpendicular way and have it fold correctly without ironing every pleat again.
A ribbon trim would add a nice touch. You could pick either color as the trim, or if you are lucky find a ribbon with both, but I think the skirt would look best with a dark trim.
Although I have not done it yet, I will be adding a black ribbon trim to my skirt to finish it off and hide the inside seams better.
After this is done, you are ready to pleat.
Step 5: Pleat, Pin, Iron, Starch...
It is much easier to show you pleating rather than explain it.
For every pleat, you will want to pin the top and the bottom vertically (horizontally too if you feel like it moves too much). This makes for much easier ironing and later sewing.
Iron the pleats flat. I iron them as soon as I pin them. After about 3 to 4 pleats, I use spray starch and iron over them again. Starch is an amazing friend that will make your skirt look professional.
Now you have your enormous scarf like sheet turned into a compact set of pleats. But now, nothing to put it on.
Step 6: The 'mini Skirt'
I like to call this part the mini skirt. You will need three measurements for this.
1. The measurement you already collected previously for your hips
2. Where on your waist you want the top of the skirt to be
3. The length from the top to the bottom.
See the diagram below for how to cut the mini skirt out. (Cut out two identical pieces)
After the skirt is cut, pin the pieces together (with the top folded down). Sew the top hem flat and then sew up one side of the skirt. The other side will be left disconnected, but sew hems on those to make it look nice.
When all the sewing is done, the skirt should kind of look like the second picture.
Step 7: Attaching the Pleats to the Mini
Now is the time when it will all finally start looking like a real skirt.
Start pinning the pleats to the mini skirt. I would recommend NOT starting one end of the pleats at a seam or a center front or back. The last pleat might be slightly wider or thinner than your other pleats, but it will not be very noticeable. (in fact, I tried to look for my connecting pleat to show you, but I could not find it.)
When you get to the end pleat, line it up with the first one and pin those together.
Since the top parts of the pleats are not as even as the bottom, I first used the serger machine to even them up, but you can always just sew the skirt first and then cut the seam even, and then sew with a zig zag.
For the regular sewing of this part, I used a stitch length that was about 2.75 (in between 1 and 2 on my dial). A short stitch length will prevent your skirt from falling apart
When you get to the part where the pleats meet up, just sew those where pinned and clean up the seam by using the serger or seam tape.
Step 8: Closure
I like to use grommets or eyelets and string as my closure for all of my skirts. Just punch holes on each side of the seamed parts on the mini skirt part and add grommets. Using the contrasting color for the string would be nice. (sadly, I only had a navy blue shoelace. I shall find yellow string to replace it with though.)
And now you have a cute way to support your house that you can wear on a regular basis.
You can have as many eyelets going up and down as you want, or maybe try using a zipper. I actually ran out of time the night of the event, so I just used a lot of safety pins (which proved useful. Snape came to me asking for a safety pin).