Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Dresden pleat skirt.

Okay I have to admit, I love weekend sewing. Having an idea, being able to bring it to life especially if everything I need is hidden in my stash ready to be revealed. This week I made a couple of things that I pinned ages ago into a reality.

The dresden plate skirt.
I do like dresden plates I think one day when I get back into quilting again I will do one of these. I stumbled across this ages ago and have been meaning to make it since. I got as far as drawing myself pattern pieces a number of times but could never work out what fabric to use.

This is my other inspiration. I love the revealing pleats. One day I may try if as a dress but for now it will have to just live in my little skirt.

Okay so I have not got any fantastic photos of this skirt when not in motion (my little model refused to stand still).
Not that I think it looks bad. I still like the dresden bottom and the tapering up to the box pleats.

But motion as I have discovered is this skirts friend. Whether running, sitting or sprawling you get to see the skirts best. Those tailored splashes of the contrast fabric is just so pretty.

Oh and it is very, very twirly.

Would anyone like to know how it is made? Well here it is. I made this for my 4 1/2 year old but it is probably more of a 5. If you wanted to make it for younger I would subtract one panel (or more to match waist measurement) of each colour and change the length to suit. For older the reverse add panels and lengthen.

Tracing paper
Main fabric- 24 inches
Contrast fabric- 20 inches
1/2 inch Elastic 12 inches
Fabric pen (I have a frixion that disappears with heat)
Matching thread
Step one is cutting the panels, you will find you don't need as much fabric if you have non direction specific fabric. I cut 2 -10 inch strips across the entire fabric for both colour and contrast.

The outer fabric is 2 inches at the top
                            3 inches at the bottom
You need 17 of these.

The contrast, hidden is 3 1/2 inches at the top
                                   5 1/2 inches at the bottom
You need 17 of these.

There is a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You need to sew them all together with smaller ends together and wider ends together.

Iron the wider sections towards the narrow panels. This is now called the skirt.

Okay. Next is drawing the pattern for the curves.
First draw the panel the same as you did for cutting 2 1/2 inches at the bottom, 10 inches high, 1 1/2 inches at top.
Draw a line across the bottom 1/4 inch high. Measure up 3/4 inch on each side line. Mark.
Draw a curve between the marks (I use the base of a glass).

Cut out the curve from the top.

Fold the skirt in 4 and lay on tracing paper.
Trace around the bottom of skirt and up 2 inches.
Move the skirt up to the top of your 2 inches and trace again.
This is for the facing, cut 4.

Sew together to form a giant circle. Edge the smaller side of the circle (overlock, serge).

Pin the right side of the facing to the bottom of the right side of skirt. If it's too big don't worry, Pin it how big it needs to be and sew.

Fits well...

Place your pattern over all the small panels and trace with removable pen.

Draw a straight line between the top of each curve.

Sew along your line. Iron if you have a pen that disappears with heat. Trim long seam, then clip curves.

Turn right side out and iron.

I then hand sewed the facing into place on reverse side. You could machine sew but you would see it on the right side and personally I like it being invisible. Can you see it?

Fold at joint, iron.

Find centre of the big panel. Mark. Bring the closest edges of contrast fabric to meet. Iron and pin at top and bottom.

Make sure your pins are facing outwards so it is easier to iron.

At the top edge of pleat mark 1 inch down with removable pen. Sew close to the pleat on both main fabrics. Remove the pins up this end.

Iron to remove marks. Continue until the contrast is all hidden.

Iron reverse side with steam to set in pleats. Unpin as you go.

Cut a skirt top, this is a rectangle. Measure the finished pleated section and add 1/2 inch seam allowance. Use this measurement by 4 inches. Sew short side together to form a circle (1/4 inch seam allowance).

Pin skirt top to pleats.

Sew and serge.

Top stitch 1/8 inch on the skirt top section through the serged edge.

Final step... Serge top. Mark centre front (opposite seam). Measure 10 cm to each side and mark. This is my secret elastic look. The elastic starts at these measurements, sew in place below the serge line. By leaving this gap your skirt will not be bulky at the front where little tummy's tend to be the largest. Now fold the elastic over and stitch the casing. I sew on the inside half way through the serging, make sure you continue around where the elastic is not and re sew vertically where the elastic is attached (to prevent pulling).

So that's it then. I don't know if I am always that clear in this tute but let me know if you want any clarification.

See you all again soon.


  1. Gorgeous, Bella!!! I love the scalloped effect at the bottom (without being scalloped) and the two tone pleats. Great job with the design.

    1. Thank's Pam. I've been obsessed with scallops for a while, almost time to move on but I have one more idea I just have to try...

  2. Do you find you have to re-iron it after every washing? Because I have no problem ironing stuff I'm sewing, but once it hits the laundry room it's a lost cause LOL

    1. The pleats do not need to be re set (no starting from scratch) but it does look better when it is pressed :-) Hope this helps,

  3. I'm confused on the required amount of fabric
    You say cut 17 panels "3 1/2 inches at the top & 5 1/2 inches at the bottom" out of 20 inches of fabric
    17 x 3.5 = 59.5 inches
    am I missing something here

    1. The 20 inches is 2 lots of 10 inch strips across the entire width of your fabric (approximately 88 inches in total).

      The trick is that every second panel is upside down. There is no wasted fabric except at the edge of the strip of fabric. So 9 have the 3 1/2 inches at the bottom and 8 have the 5 1/2 inches at the bottom. So it requires your 10 inch strips to be 75.5 inches in total.

      Is this any clearer?

  4. Sorry for the second post)
    further instruction says:
    "First draw the panel the same as you did for cutting 2 1/2 inches at the bottom, 10 inches high, 1 1/2 inches at top".
    Is this supposed to be on a fold? If so, it would still not equal a panel 3 at top & 5 at bottom

    1. This is not on a fold. Once you have sewn the panels together this is the dimensions of what will be the outer panels (plain blue on mine).

      Make sure that you cut out both sets of fabric differently at the start.
      the inner fabric is:
      3.5 at the top and 5.5 at the bottom
      but the outer fabric is:
      2 at the top and 3 at the bottom

      Let me know if I am still not making sense to you... Bell

  5. love love love the skirt! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. I love this skirt! I can't wait to try it. I might have to do it tomorrow! with the solid color on top when she sits it looks like a daisy to me! I think this would be wonderful with fairy fabric! thanks so much for sharing!

  7. I love this skirt so much! I can't wait to make some for my daughter! I'm new to sewing though so I have to admit I'm confused by the casing part....could u break it down and simplify it for newbies like me? It would mean so much!!!

    Thanks for posting such a beautiful skirt tutorial! I hope to find many more tutes by you!

    Jennifer S. :-)