Drafting A Pleated Skirt

Hello everyone! I keep meaning to post tutorials on how I make various cosplay items, and it seems that I tend to get the *teeniest* (ok a lot a bit) lazy. Here’s a tutorial on how to draft + assemble a cosplay staple: a pleated skirt. Most often these are found in school girl uniforms, and they are really very simple once you get the hang of it.

For this tutorial I am going to be drafting a pleated skirt for the uniform from Kyoukai no Kanata; but, this formula can be used for both knife pleated and box pleated skirts.


P R E P:

Okay guys, take a deep breath and get out your measuring tape and a pencil–it’s time to draft up your skirt. The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to make the skirt sit at your waist or your hips. If the skirt is going to sit at the hip then the pleats will not pull as much across the hem line and lie flat and smooth; if you go off your waist measurement then the pleats will pull over your wider hip measurement causing the pleats to flare out across the bottom. For this tutorial I chose to use my waist measurement.

For this pattern you need to know how long you want the skirt and your waist measurement. The length of the skirt is all up to you, in another tutorial I will be going over how to scale patterns but for now I’m going to assume that you already know how. When in doubt grab a measuring tape and hold it to your waist and then look in the mirror to see what length you like or are comfortable with. *note*: when taking your waist measurement please do not suck in your breath, just stand as you regularly would otherwise this is going to be super duper uncomfortable when you wear the skirt.

P A T T E R N:

For this pattern, you will essentially be drafting two rectangles, one long one for your skirt body, and one smaller one for your waistband.


{ oo1 } For the skirt body we will need two measurements: the skirt width (x) and the skirt length (y). For x all you need to do is take your waist measurement (in my case 31″) and multiply that sucker by 3″ giving me 93″. Your not done there, always remember to add your seam allowance. In my case I always use a 1/2″ seam allowance and since there are two seams on each side it means that the total seam allowance that I need to add is 1″.

Skirt Body Width (x) = ( waist/hip measurement x 3 ) + 1″

{ oo2 } Now that you have the skirt width, lets figure out the skirt length you need. I decided to make my skirt 14″, meaning the length of the total skirt is equal to the waistband + the body. I always use a default 1″ waistband, so I subtracted 1″ from 14″ giving me 13″ usable fabric for the skirt length. For this skirt I wanted to give it more body and weight across the bottom so I decided to use a thick hem of 1 1/2″ which I added to the 13″. After that I just added a 1/2″ seam allowance for sewing the skirt to the waistband giving me a total width of 15″.

Skirt Body Length (y) = ( total skirt length – waistband ) + 1 1/2″ hem allowance + 1/2″ seam allowance

{ oo3 } For the waist band double the 1″ width because a waistband is made by folding the fabric in half, then add two 1/2″ seam allowances for where you will attach the waistband to the skirt, giving you a length (a) of 3″. For the width (b) take your waist measurement and add 1″ for an overlap, then add two 1/2″ seam allowances and VOILA~!

Your skirt pattern is now complete with:
Skirt: 1 15″ x 94″ rectangle
Waistband: 1 3″ x 33″ rectangle
skirt _3

Y A R D A G E :

Now you know what you need, how do you put it in context of yardage or how much fabric you need? Most fabric is sold in yards, which is 36″. Take the longest width and figure out how many yards you need by dividing that by 36″. Keep in mind it is ALWAYS a good idea to buy a little bit extra, because all fabric shrinks in the wash.

In order to save money and fabric, I do not reccommend buying a single length of fabric if you are making such a short skirt. Its really not worth it. I usually suggest instead making the skirt by sewing together 2 or 3 pieces depending on how much you can eke out of the yardage you bought. For instance since I need a 94″ lenghth fabric I can either sew 2 48″ pieces together (47″ + 2 1/2″ seam allowances) or 3 32″ pieces together.

What really will make the difference is the width of fabric you get, if you have a 45″ wide piece of fabric and a 15″ long skirt I would suggest using two pieces because the fabric will shrink in the wash. If you have a 60″ piece of fabric, go for the 3 pieces.

In the next part I will be going over how to assemble this sucker now, so keep your eyeballs peeled. If you have any questions please please leave a comment and I will try to answer as best I can :3! I know that I can be kind of rushed, and run through things quickly. No question is a stupid one! If you would rather ask my privately, feel free to message me on the Facebook page and I’ll be more then happy to respond there too.


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