Instructions on Making Pleated Schoolgirl Skirts


Pleated schoolgirl skirts have stood the test of time both as uniforms and as classic fashion statements. Making a pleated skirt can be a daunting task, but by utilizing an elastic waist style, the creation of a pleated skirt becomes much simpler. Break out your iron and prepare for a lot of ironing; pleats need to be crisp and sharp before being sewn into the waistband. This skirt can be modified to fit an adult.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Elastic, 1 inch wide
  • 2 safety pins
  • Measure the girl's hips. Multiply the measurement by three. This is the skirt width. Measure from waist to mid-thigh, adding 2 inches to the measurement. This is the skirt length. Cut a rectangle according to the width by length. This is the skirt rectangle.

  • Measure the waist, adding 2 inches to the measurement. This is the modified waist measurement. Cut a fabric rectangle 4 inches wide by the modified waist measurement length. This is the waistband.

  • Measure and cut an elastic piece ¾ of the actual waist measurement.

  • Place the skirt rectangle on a table with the wrong side of the fabric facing you. Fold the bottom edge over ½ inch against the wrong side. Fold over ½ inch again, forming a ½-inch hem. Pin. Sew, using a straight stitch and ½-inch seam allowance, the pinned hem. Remove the pins.

  • Place the hemmed skirt rectangle, right side of fabric facing you, on a table. Starting at the left top corner, fold the fabric over 2 inches as if making a paper fan. Pin along the fold from the top skirt edge to the bottom skirt hem. Repeat folding every 2 inches, pinning, until the rectangle is pleated and pinned.

  • Iron the folds, vertically, with an iron set to the appropriate fabric setting.

  • Align the side edges, right sides of the fabric touching. Pin. The skirt is inside-out. Sew, using a straight stitch and 1-inch seam allowance, vertically, creating a side seam. Iron the seam flat and open.

  • Thread the needle. Gather the top edge of the pleated skirt to the waistband measurement. Gather by inserting the needle in and out of the fabric, creating a running stitch. Pull the thread to gather the pleated edge to the waistband measurement.

  • Turn the skirt right-side out. Place the waistband, with the wrong side of the fabric facing you, aligning one waistband edge with the gathered/pleated edge. Pin the waistband around the skirt opening. Sew, using a straight stitch and ½-inch seam allowance, along the pinned waistband. Remove the pins. Turn the skirt inside out.

  • Fold the waistband over the skirt top to form a 2-inch band. Turn the raw edge of the waistband under, enclosing the pleated skirt top. Pin against the wrong side of the fabric. Sew, using a 2-inch seam allowance and straight stitch, the waistband to the skirt, forming a casing (where elastic feeds). Leave a 1-inch opening at the side seam. Remove the pins.

  • Connect a safety pin to one elastic end. Connect another safety pin to the other elastic end and the 1-inch opening. Feed elastic through the casing until it emerges from other side. Sew the elastic together. Sew the 1-inch opening closed.

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