Make Your Own Pleated Skirt With This Easy Tutorial

by Paperstxrs
9 Materials
3 Hours

I love pleated skirts. They’re so cute and go really well with a lot of different outfits. The problem, though, is that it’s not always so easy to find one that fits right. So I decided to just make my own! In this tutorial, I will be walking you through the process of creating a DIY pleated skirt completely from scratch.

DIY pleated skirt materials

Tools and Materials:

  • Fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Button
  • Buttonhole foot
  • Invisible zipper (10” or longer)
DIY pleated skirt
Measure and cut materials

You’re going to start off by measuring and cutting your fabric. For this project, all you need is two rectangles of fabric. The first one should measure 22”x70”. If you can’t get one piece that’s 70” long, just sew together two pieces that are 35”. The second rectangle should be 37”x4” (but can be made longer depending on your waist size.)   

Pleated skirt
Mark your pleats

Start marking your pleats by placing a pin about 2 ½” from the edge of the long side of your fabric. This is going to leave room to put in a zipper later. Then you’re going to place pins in a pattern of 3” - 1 ½” - 3” - 1 ½”. So start by measuring 3” from the first pin, then follow the pattern all the way to the end of the fabric. Once that’s done, take one of your 3” spaces and line up the pins to make sure the fabric looks straight all the way down. Stick one pin in where the pins overlap, then place a pin 6 ½” sideways down from the top pin, then another one 1” away from the side at the bottom of that pin. Repeat this process at each 3” interval all the way down the fabric. 

Pleated skirt DIY
Sew your pleats

Now you’re going to sew your pleats from the top of the fabric down to the 6 ½” marker. When you get to the marker, be sure to do a bunch of backstitches to ensure your pleat doesn’t come undone. I actually decided I didn’t love the distance between the pleats, so I ended up sewing them about ¼” away from the pins. That’s just a matter of preference though, so if you’re happy with the original measurements, keep them! This part does take some time, but if they don’t all look the same, it won’t be noticeable, so don’t worry!

Pleated mini skirt
Iron your pleats

Iron your pleats flat and to the side, making sure that you press them all to the same side. Then you’re going to take the end of your pleats and fold them all the way down the fabric so that it overlaps about an inch. Use your iron to press the fold until you have a crisp crease. Repeat this process for all of the pleats.

DIY box pleated skirt
Mark your zipper

Now you’re going to lie your skirt down and pin where you want the zipper to go so that the skirt is snug on your waist. Then what I did was figure out which pleats would be in between it, and undid the pleat on the left side so that I could make my zipper look like a regular pleat. Once you’ve figured that out, you need to mark where you want the zipper to go and sew the skirt together from the bottom to where you want the zipper to end.

DIY skirts with pleats
Add your zipper

Line up your invisible zipper right next to the seam on the right side of your skirt, leaving the end of the zipper about half an inch from the top of the skirt, and pin it down. Then sew it all the way down until you meet the edge that you sewed up before. Then you’re going to zip up your zipper and mark where you started and stopped sewing on the other half of the zipper so that they’re even. Pin the other side onto the pleat that you seam ripped and sew it down. If your zipper is too long, sew down the end of it and cut off the excess. If you don’t want to go through all that effort of sewing it into a pleat, you can totally just sew it in between two pleats! 

Waistband for pleated skirt
Prepare your waistband

Grab that thin piece of fabric from earlier and fold it in half lengthwise. Then at the end, you’re going to mark then sew a curved line. It should go out about an inch and stop about a quarter inch from the raw edge of the waistband. From where you stop sewing the curve, measure so that it fits your waist and mark it and sew straight across the other side. Then turn it out and iron all the raw edges a quarter of an inch in.

Homemade pleated skirt
Add the waistband

Zip up your skirt, and where the zipper ends put the curved end on top of it and pin it in place. Then do the same thing to line up the straight edge. Then pin the waistband all the way around and sew down the bottom edge of it. 

Pleated skirt with button
Add the button

Next, you’re going to add a button, which you’ll do on the little flap above the zipper. Stick your button in the buttonhole foot and then cut it open to make the hole. Attach your button on the other side of the waistband and you’re good to go! 

Finish off your skirt
Hem the bottom

The last thing you want to do is hem the bottom. So cut off however much you need to in order to get your desired length, and then hem the bottom. I did a regular quarter-inch hem all the way around the bottom. Once that was done, I ironed the pleats again to make them extra crisp and then the skirt was done! 

Completed pleated skirt

That’s it! I love how this came out. I think it’s super cute. This project was super fun, and although it does take a while because of the pleats, it’s so easy to do. I also love the color, but of course, you can make it in any color and length you want, and I definitely want to see your versions! So, let me know how this project works for you, and leave me a picture of your skirts in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
See all materials

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