Horizontal pleats

Pleats are such a beautiful sewing detail to add to any clothing.  They can add to the design element of any garment.  Today I’m very excited for the first sewing tutorial to show you how to add a wide horizontal pleat to a skirt.

First, find a skirt or dress that you would like to add a pleat to (or you can make one from scratch).

Depending on how wide you want your pleats, you’ll want the skirt to be a little longer than where you want your hemline to hit.  For each pleat, you’ll want to add double the length of the pleat to your hemline.  I’m adding two, 1.5 inch pleats to my skirt, so I’m adding 6 inches to my hemline.

1 & 2.  Measure where you want to place the top of your first pleat and mark it using either sewing pins or tailors chalks.  (I’d suggest using pins so no marks show).

3.  After you’ve marked the correct length, finish marking all the way around the skirt.  Then mark the second line for your first pleat.

4.  Match up both of the line marks that you just made and pin together.

5.  Sew them together on the right side of the fabric, using the long stich setting on your sewing machine.

6.  Press down your pleat with an iron so the line is nice and crisp.

7.  Congrats!  You’ve got your first pleat done.  Isn’t she a beauty?


8.  Mark where you’d like your second pleat to start and follow the same steps again until your second pleat is finished.

Tada!  Now you can go pleat crazy!  Start experimenting by changing the size or spacing of the pleats.  Try making vertical pleats using the same technique that you used for horizontal ones.   Use different fabrics for different outcomes.  You can make a skirt with light color chiffon and then line it with a darker color so the pleats show up easier.  It’s totally up to you.  If you do try it, be sure to post it on your blog and leave us a comment with your link.  We want to see your lovely creations!

Have fun sewing and stop back next month for another sewing tutorial by me!

xx Esther

**note: while you can usually find Esther‘s DIY Sew column on the 2nd Thursday of every month, I have a very special post planned for tomorrow, so the column has been moved to Wednesday this time around.

graphics by amy moore for drifter & the gypsy

    13 responses to “Horizontal pleats”

    1. Libby says:

      This is great! I really appreciate seeing a DIY with such well thought-out instructions rather than ‘glue something’. This is proper sewing and it inspires me.

    2. Corissa says:

      OMG! LOVE!

    3. Rita says:

      Such an amazing DIY idea.. I love the result! :)
      Thanks for you comment on my blog…the wrap I used for my daily planner is from Wish magazine (http://wishmagazine.bigcartel.com/)


    4. Jennifer says:

      Cute idea – it turned out great!

      xo Jennifer


    5. Faith says:

      Such an amazing tutorial, I love these DIYs!

    6. nonarinii says:

      cute dress, you are so creative <3

    7. Mandi says:

      I’ve got a skirt that is majority horizontal pleats and I love it, they are severely underrated!

      the making of things

    8. Lily says:

      Great tutorial! I read your blog and you always make dresses with hidden pockets, so will we learn how to do that from you any time soon?

    9. Kessler says:

      Such a great idea. I buy vintage dresses all the time that at too long. I’m going to try this next time!

    10. Sally says:

      Thanks a lot this great tutorial, it is really cute and the effect is amazing, sure I’m going to try!

    11. […] or fabric to the skirt or bodice. Shorten and add interest to a dress at the same time by creating horizontal pleats or pin tucks. Put in some studs. Make it your […]

    Leave a Reply