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How to Sew a Long Pleated Skirt With NO Pattern | Beginner Historical Sewing




In this video, I will be showing how to sew a long pleated skirt! This is a very beginner friendly project that requires no pattern! It is also easy to sew and wear in no small part due to the adjustable design of this skirt. This long pleated skirt is made in the style of an 18th century petticoat, and is essentially two rectangles of pleated fabric sewn together with ties on the front and back panels for a very adjustable design! Think of it as an 18th century version of the wrap skirt, but with pleats!


This video is actually a newer version of my original tutorial for an "18th century pleated skirt" - for full written instructions of how to sew this, you can read that article.

Historical people were pros when it came to creating elegant, woven fabric clothing with adjustable features to allow for stages of life like pregnancy. This is the perfect maternity skirt for me at the moment!


I think every woman needs a skirt like this. It is the perfect “in-between” option between modern stretchy elasticated or drawstring skirts, and a classic tailored skirt with a set waistband size. This skirt looks like it has a tailored waist band, but it is actually secretly adjustable. Let’s be real, for most of us our waist size fluctuates just throughout the day, let alone during stages of life like pregnancy and postpartum, not to mention weight gain and loss, or conditions like endometriosis.


This skirt is a very beginner friendly project - if you can sew straight lines, you can sew this skirt. You also don’t need a serger or even a zig zag stitch. Watch the video for the full tutorial!



Materials


For a skirt this long and full, I bought 4 metres of 54 " wide linen fabric. If you are larger than me or are working with narrow fabric, you may need to up that amount slightly - however I did have a good amount of fabric leftover.


You can create this skirt entirely out of fabric, but I chose to create my waist ties out of linen twill tape and to add a stiff strip of waistband interfacing inside of the waistband.


There is no special equipment or skills required for this project! No serger or even zig zag stitch is necessary. In the making of this skirt, I chose to use the entire width of my 54" wide fabric for both the front and back panel. This gave me lots of fullness to add into my pleats, but it also meant that I didn't have to worry about finishing my seams. If you don't or can't use the entire width of your fabric, then I would recommend a simple classic seam finishing technique like french or flat-felled seams.


If you have never pleated anything before, never fear! Pleating is really an art, not a science, and as long as you are willing to pin and re-pin a couple times, this should be a fun and relaxing way to learn pleating!



Measurements


You will only need two measurements for this skirt - your desired length of skirt, plus a hem allowance (I recommend a generous hem allowance - mine was several inches), and your waist measurement. You will divide your waist measurement in half, then add 2 inches to this so you have an inch on either side of your front and back panels for overlap. Then add seam allowance to that. For example, my waist measurement was 31", and here were my calculations:


31/2+15.5

15.5+2 = 17.5

17.5+ 1 (for seam allowance) = 18.5"


Therefore, each of my panels needed to be 18.5" wide once it was pleated up. There were also two waistbands - one for the front, and one for the back, and I left extra on those so I could have it extending a little past the sides of the skirt panels.


For the rest of the making instructions, watch the video, or read my previous article with detailed written instructions.


I hope you enjoy making this skirt with me, or just watching the process for your own future inspiration! Have you ever felt dissatisfied with modern skirt options? Are you feeling inspired to try your hand at making one? Let me know in the comments section!


If you found this information wildly helpful and informative and would like to thank me, consider "buying me a coffee" through one of the buttons throughout this article. Thanks! I appreciate it so much! Click here for the full list of sewing products I recommend. Click here for the full list of hair-care products I recommend. I have personally used all of these products and can wholeheartedly recommend them to you. It also helps support this blog if you purchase anything through one of those links because I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.




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Lola J. Lee Beno
Lola J. Lee Beno
Feb 04, 2023

Thinking of making a couple skirts like this in linen for summer. Now I have to figure out which linen to get from Fabric-Store ...

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thank you Katherine, I have recently found you on utube . I'm looking forward to making the skirt. I normally make my own patterns (sundresses) pretty loose on paper work patterns , so i have bought a few of your recommended books. they are excellent ! your linen store two thumbs up. I haven't found one like it in the states yet. I've been using my granny's supply of linen table cloths , also love upholstery linen a bit easier to find in the woods of east Texas, where it's to hot to ware synthetics. Going to run in hopes of some sewing after my chores are finished. Many blessing to you and your family. Maryalice

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