Looking to Upcycle Old Bedding? Try This Box Pleat Skirt Tutorial

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
10 Materials
3 Hours

In this box pleat skirt tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a box pleated skirt out of bedding!

Household items at the thrift store can make beautiful clothes. The fabrics are gorgeous and the sizes are generous. One of the prettiest and most flattering things to make from bedding is a DIY box pleated skirt. Here, I'll show you how.

Tools and materials:

  • Bedding fabric or other fabric
  • Interfacing
  • Lining fabric
  • Zipper
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron
How to make a box pleated skirt from bedding

1. Open the seams

Rip open all the seams from the bedding, Remove any batting or padding if there is any. The piece I’m showing you in this tutorial was already hemmed. If yours isn’t, you’ll have to hem the skirt at the end.

How to make a box pleat skirt pattern

2. Create the skirt

Cut 6 rectangles 15 inches in length. Sew all the rectangles together to create an even longer rectangle.

Making a DIY box pleat skirt pattern

Measuring the box pleat skirt pattern

The skirt length should be your waist measurement multiplied by 3 plus a 1-inch seam allowance. In this tutorial, my large rectangle is 82 inches long.

Cutting the waistband for the skirt

3. Make the waistband

Cut the fabric to measure 4 inches wide x your waist measurement plus 1 inch.

Ironing interfacing to the waistband

Cut the same size rectangle of interfacing for the waistband. Iron it to the waistband.

Measuring the box pleats

4. Make the pleats

Mark the fabric, starting in the middle at 3 inches, then 6 inches, then 3 inches, then 6 inches, and so on, repeating the sequence until the fabric ends. 

How to make box pleats

To make the pleats, fold the fabric right sides together so the 6-inch marks are touching. Then add a 3-inch marking going down the skirt. Mark a bit of a slant so the pleats aren’t tight rectangles.

Pinning the box pleat in place

Pin into place. Continue these steps: fold the fabric, align the 6-inch mark, and pin, until the end of the skirt. 

How to do box pleats

It should look like this.

Ironing the box pleats

Fold the pleats down the middle and iron to give it that boxy pleated look.

Pressing the box pleats into the skirt

Fold and iron the pleats all the way down the skirt as well.

How to sew a box pleated skirt

Sew a basting stitch to secure everything at the top of the skirt.

Making lining for the DIY box pleated skirt

5. Make the lining (optional)

Cut 2 rectangles that are 14½ inches in length x the width of your waist measurement.

Cut one of the rectangles in half to serve as the back with space for the zipper. Place the two rectangles right sides together and sew up their side seams, leaving the back center seam unsewn.

Hemming the lining with a double hem

Hem the lining with a double hem. 

Pinning the lining to the skirt fabric

6. Add the optional lining to the skirt

Pin the side seams of the lining to the skirt. Pin the center front. Everything should be right sides together.

Fold the excess lining fabric into pleats. These don’t need to be perfect as no one will see them. Just make sure they’re evenly spaced.

Once everything is pinned in place, sew the lining to the skirt fabric with a basting stitch.

Pinning the waistband to the skirt

7. Attach the waistband

Put the waistband on the skirt with the bottom of the waistband at the top of the skirt so that their right sides are together. Pin in place. Sew the top edge down.

Sewing the waistband to the skirt fabric

When you get to the back center, sew the waistband only to the skirt fabric and not the lining to make it easier to install the zipper.

Inserting a zipper into the skirt

8. Install the zipper

Lay the zipper on the skirt to measure where it ends. Mark where it ends on the skirt fabric and the lining.

Place the skirt right sides together. Pin and sew the back closed to hit that marking from the bottom upwards. 

Sewing a zipper into the box pleated skirt

Lay the zipper face down on the right side of the skirt. Line up the edge of the zipper tape with the left edge of the skirt. Pin the zipper with the lining pushed out of the way.

Install a zipper foot in your sewing machine to get very close to the zipper teeth. Sew into place.

How to sew a zipper into a skirt

Once that side is done, place the zipper on the other side of the skirt and sew it just like the other side. 

Sewing a topstitch around the zipper

Sew a topstitch around the zipper to make it nice and clean. 

Sewing the lining around the zipper

Sew the lining around the zipper by folding in the edges and pinning it. Hand sew into place. 

Folding and sewing the waistband

9. Final touch

Fold the waistband down and sew into place with a straight stitch.

DIY box pleated skirt

Box pleat skirt tutorial

I love the way this came out! Please let me know in the comments what you think of this box pleat skirt tutorial! I would love to see how your DIY box pleat skirts came out, so please share your photos!

Suggested materials:
  • Bedding fabric or other fabric
  • Interfacing
  • Lining fabric
See all materials

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