Try This Quick & Easy Tutorial on How to Make a Pleated Skirt

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
9 Materials
2 Hours

Upcycling clothes is fun and a super-easy way to transform something vintage into something new and trendy. In this vintage skirt DIY tutorial, I will show you how to make a pleated skirt from an old skirt.

Tools and materials:

  • Vintage skirt
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Rotary cutter
White vintage skirt

What’s more, you will learn how to make pleats, too! So, this is really like a double tutorial in one! Ready for the ultimate DIY pleated mini skirt transformation? Let’s start! 

Detaching the waistband of the skirt

1. Detach the waistband

If your skirt has a waistband, go ahead and detach it, as you will need to work with the pleats.

Leave the zipper intact

Leave it attached to the zipper section. Otherwise, it will be too complicated to attach it again in that area. 

Rip the seams of the old skirt

2. Seam rip

My vintage skirt already had some pleats, so I seam ripped all of the pleats and ended up with one long rectangle. If your skirt doesn't have existing pleats, then skip this step. 

Also, if your skirt has a lining, make sure to move it out the way while making alterations to the main fabric. 

Cutting the skirt to length

3. Cut to length

Cut your DIY pleated skirt to the desired length and don't forget to add a one-inch seam allowance. Then, shorten the lining two inches less than your DIY pleated mini skirt. 

Pressing the fabric

4. Press the fabric

Press the fabric and the existing pleat lines so that you have a smooth canvas to work with. 

How to make pleats

5. Make the pleats

To make the pleats, add a marking every 2 inches across the entire waistline. 

How to add pleats to a skirt

With your fabric marker or chalk, elongate the markings to make them easier to work with. 

DIY pleated skirt

Now for the fun part! Working your way across the waistline, take your first marking, and align it with your second marking. So, fold the first line onto the second line. 

How to make a pleated skirt

Then, pin the pleat in place with two vertical pins and one horizontal pin at the bottom. Once you’ve pleated the whole waistline, make sure it fits the original waistband you detached earlier, or that it fits your waist measurement. 

Sewing the pleats

Now, sew down your pleats along the top edge and then, topstitch each one down by about 2 inches. Topstitching the pleats downward will give your DIY pleated skirt a cleaner, fresher look. 

Pressing the pleats

Press all the new pleats, as shown. 

Reattaching the waistband

6. Reattach the lining and waistband

Reattach the lining to the skirt using a straight stitch. Remember to align the seams before sewing in place. 

DIY pleated mini skirt

Next, reattach the waistband by sandwiching the DIY pleated skirt between the waistband. Pin to secure. 

Topstitching along the waistband

Sew it down by topstitching next to the edge of the waistband. 

Hemming the skirt

7. Hem the DIY pleated mini skirt

This is the final step. Now, hem the lining and the main fabric of the skirt. Do this by folding the edge twice and sewing it with a straight stitch. 

How to make a pleated skirt tutorial

How to make a pleated skirt tutorial

Now, that’s what I call a magical transformation! This is a lovely upcycle and no one would ever guess this was once an old-fashioned midi skirt. Now you know how to add pleats to a skirt, plus how to transform an old skirt into this fun DIY pleated skirt.

Suggested materials:
  • Vintage skirt
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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