Today we are going to tackle the box pleats on our skirt. In order to do so we need to determine the spacing measurements between pleats. This skirt has six box pleats total, three on the front, and three on the back. We want the spacing between each pleat to be equal.
To determine our pleat spacing you need to know your low waist measurement. We will use 33" as an example. Your low waist measurement should be the finished circumference of the skirt when pleats are taken in, at the bottom of the waistband.
Low Waist Measurement/Number of Box Pleats=pleat spacing 33"/6=5.5"
Because our skirt is sewn with two side seams, two of our pleat spacing segments will be on a seam. We will be marking our pleats prior to sewing our side seams, so we need to divide our pleat segment by two and add a seam allowance to figure the spacing on our seam pleats.
Pleat Spacing/2=Side Pleat Spacing 5.5"/2=2.75"
Side Pleat Spacing+Seam Allowance=Final Side Pleat Measurement 2.75"+.625"=3.375" (or 3 3/8")
Marking Your PleatsNow we are ready to mark our skirt panels for pleats. I recommend marking them along both the top and bottom edges of your skirt panels. We will be making five marks to indicate each pleat, with fifteen marks total per panel. Each mark will be the pleat width (1.5") apart from one another. Your Final Side Pleat Measurement (3 3/8") will be used to determine the spacing of the first and third groupings from the side seam edges. Your Pleat Spacing Measurements will be used to determine the amount of space between your first and second, and second and third pleat group markings.
An attempt to clarify the process can be found below...
Start by marking in your Final Side Pleat Measurement (3 3/8") from your side edge. Using a fabric marking pencil or pen, make a small mark indicating your first pleat. This will be the first of five marks to indicate your first pleat. You will then make four additional marks, each 1.5" apart (or pleat width from day 1). There should be a total of five small markings to indicate your first pleat.
Next measure the distance of your pleat spacing (5.5"), and repeat making your five 1.5" pleat indicator markings. Measure another pleat spacing, and another five 1.5" pleat indicator marks, and you should be left with the distance of your final side pleat measurement on the end.
You would repeat this process on both skirt panels, along the top and bottom edges. When your fabric is completely marked, you should have fifteen marks along your skirt, three groupings of five.
Making Your Pleats
Take your first marking and meet it up with point three. Pin in place. Take your fifth marking and meet it up with point three. Pin in place. Repeat this process with each pleat. Repeat along the bottom edge of the skirt panels as well.
Press along the length of the pleats. You will want to achieve a nice clean press so that your pleats will wear well.
Baste your stitches in place, 3/8" away from the upper raw edge of the skirt panels.
Using a ruler and a straight pin, measure two inches down from each pleat. Use a straight pin to indicate the marking, and keep the pleat closed.
Tucking the Waistband
Mark your tucks on the waistband pieces (not the waistband facings). Measure 1.25" from the top of the waistband and mark. Measure and mark 5/8" from the first mark. Measure and mark an additional 5/8" away. You should now have a total of three marks. The three marks will create one tuck. Repeat the measure and marking process, by measuring 1.25" from the last mark made.
You will want to transfer these marking to both sides of the waistband, and on both waistband pieces. If you have a removable marking pencil, transferring your markings to the center of the waistband may be helpful. Accuracy in creating the tucks is key to having your tucks line up properly.
With the right side of the fabric up, fold along the center marking of each tuck. You will fold the wrong sides of the fabric onto each other. Using a 5/8" seam allowance, stitch along the tuck. The seam allowance should be along your first marking line.
Repeat the process on the second tuck, and on the additional waistband piece.
Sew waistband seam. Trim seam, and press open.
Join the waistband facings in the same manner.
Alright, tomorrow we'll finish up the skirt. Get those invisible zipper and blind hem feet ready!
You can find the additional tutorial posts here: Part 1, Part 3