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For the month of September we’re hosting a Sew Along with our good friends at Coats & Clark, FreeSpirit Fabrics and Tula Pink. Each week we’ll be posting steps for our Skirt with Front Pleats courtesy of Gretchen Hirsch! Click through for Gretchen’s instructions to get started on this beginner-friendly project and stay tuned for more steps and info throughout September!

Gretchen Hirsch’s Step 1:

Hello all, and welcome to the skirt sew-along!

The pattern we’re using is a cute skirt with front pleats, so the first thing you need to do is download and print out the pattern. This project is novice level, so I’ll be keeping things pretty basic. If you’re a newbie at sewing, now’s the time to jump in!

The Pattern

Print out your pattern, tape it together and find pieces 5, 6, and 7. These are the only pieces you’ll need for this skirt. Important! You’ll need to mark your own hem length. For some reason, the cutting line for this style makes the finished length 42-1/4” which is floor length on me! I wanted my skirt to be about 22”, so I marked down 2” from the hem line for skirt A. Make sense?


Also, if you have cats, be warned: they love this part!



Now you’ll cut out your pattern pieces. But first things first: figure out what size you are. For a relatively full skirt like this one, the most important measurement is your waist. Measure yourself at your natural waistline, keeping the measuring tape taut and snug. (If you’re not sure where your natural waistline is, bend from side to side—like a little teapot! Where your side dips in as you bend is your natural waistline.)

Now find the size closest to your measurement on the size chart. I would recommend rounding up rather than down. We’ll do a fitting midway through construction to make sure the skirt fits your perfectly. Feel free to check your hip measurement as well, but unless you have a major difference in sizes between your waist and hips, don’t worry too much about the hip measurement. This skirt has very full hips and isn’t intended to be close-fitting there.


To make this skirt 22” long, you’ll need about 4 yards of 45” wide fabric, 2 yards of ¾” grosgrain ribbon for the waistband, thread to match, and a 9” invisible zipper (as well as your regular sewing supplies—your sewing machine, pins, shears, a seam ripper, etc.). If you don’t like the idea of a grosgrain waistband, never fear! I’ll show you how to make a regular waistband for this skirt in the coming weeks.

A medium weight cotton is perfect for this skirt. As you’ll see, I’m experimenting with vertical stripes on my version, but a solid or simple print would be easier if you’re feeling less adventurous (I confess I’m not entirely sure how the stripes will look with the pleats, but I’m excited to find out!).


Now it’s time to lay out your fabric. Press your fabric and lay it out smoothly. Normally, you would use a double layer of fabric to cut out this skirt. But if you want to speed up the cutting process (and who doesn’t?!) you can use a quadruple layer. This means you’ll layer two double-layer lengths of fabric on top of each other.


You need to be sure that the selvages match perfectly and that the two folds are exactly on top of each other. Now we’re going to place our pattern pieces. Lay out each pattern piece once on your quadruple-layer fabric, and pin in place.

Note: this pattern doesn’t have seam allowances, so we’re going to draw them on as we go. Just use a ruler to mark out 5/8” from the pattern line and cut there.



It’s important to mark the pleat lines on this pattern, so use some dressmaker’s tracing paper and a tracing wheel to transfer the lines to the wrong side of your fabric pieces. Don’t forget that you have extra layers to transfer marks to!

Okay, I think that’s enough for this week. Get all your pieces cut out and marked, and we’ll start sewing next week. See you then!



  • Missing

    Sep 26, 2011, 12.25 PMby burda-user-922728

    I was wondering what the other pattern pieces are for – they aren’t labeled on the pattern, nor did I see a place on the pattern or instructions that tells you what they are… I’m excited to do the skirt, and curious about the other pieces.

  • Missing

    Sep 23, 2011, 05.57 AMby ljs742

    Four yards for a skirt!? Wow, I need it a bit longer than 22" and a bit larger than a size 14, so my goodness, that is a lot of fabric! Must be very full!

  • Missing

    Sep 17, 2011, 03.47 PMby Martinspetchen

    Does the page not have a link to step two or is my iPad browser incompatible? Frustrating to have to search and search and search for links to next pages of tuts.


  • Missing

    Sep 8, 2011, 12.02 PMby KristaNYC

    Where is the pattern to download? I would love to sew along.

    1 Reply
  • Missing

    Aug 31, 2011, 10.50 PMby mearthone

    I really shouldn’t be taking on another project right now, but this skirt is just too cute to pass up! I’m thinking maybe a soft pattern for the fashion fabric.

    Thanks, Gretchen! Looking forward to this Sew Along :-)

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    Aug 31, 2011, 06.09 PMby oldfashioned

    The kitties are helping- they are your pattern weights! I made this skirt a while ago, its very nice.

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    Aug 31, 2011, 02.28 PMby turtlegirl00

    I am “sew” excited!!! I have never done a sew along! the second cat looks like my “Tubbs”. she too loves to be in the midst of my sewing projects. I can’t wait to begin! picking up the printed out pattern at the copyshop today!!! :)

    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 02.27 AMby gertie

      Must see pics of Tubbs! :)

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    Aug 31, 2011, 12.14 PMby galiana

    I’m a little bit sad that nobody thought to pick a pattern that also has a plus-size range. A 32" waist (the maximum measurement for this skirt) is only a size 14, which is supposedly the average clothing size of the American female. As an above-average woman, I’m sad not to be included in otherwise happy and enjoyable events like this sew-along.

    5 Replies
    • Img_6553_large

      Aug 31, 2011, 12.57 PMby rshelly13

      It is easy to adjust a skirt pattern. Just measure out the larger pattern and then compare it to your own measurements. Add the extra amount needed evenly throughout the pattern. One of my favorite parts of sewing is manipulating the pattern to fit perfectly. The book Fit for Real People is amazing for this.

    • B22988b87f273b0def49337b39a2ab345cf4375b_large

      Aug 31, 2011, 10.18 PMby estherosita

      I’m also “above-average” – LOVE IT!
      I’ll be adjusting the skirt pattern to fit me (size 22 in australia) by slashing the pattern in the center from top to bottom and adding half of what is needed, and then adding the other half to the ‘curve’ of the skirt as you would grade for a seam allowance. More or less. It might not work, but I’m happy to give it a go :) Hope you do too.

    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 02.22 AMby gertie

      Hi there, I totally hear you. I’m a size 10-12 so I’m at the upper end of the range, which always seems weird to me. :) I will keep your feedback in mind, I promise. Thanks for the comment!

    • B22988b87f273b0def49337b39a2ab345cf4375b_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 11.36 AMby estherosita

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      Sep 3, 2011, 04.27 PMby onenita

      I am also a plus size, so I am going to make this for my sister for her birthday, which is in January so I have plenty of time. I am sure she won’t mind giving me her measurements if she is going to get a free skirt out of it! :) Being a teacher of 5th graders, she needs all the comfortable clothes she can get.

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    Aug 31, 2011, 12.02 PMby estherosita

    Hi Gretchen, glad to be here. I L O V E the bombshell dress tutes, though it’s a bit advanced for me – yet I’ve learned so much just from watching.

    Just a quick general complaint/query/suggestion/question – why is it that none of the patterns or instructions I’ve come across give the advice about pre-shrinking fabrics? I never knew about this, and made things that shrunk in the wash and gave me a lot of heart-break. If this is a novice course, shouldn’t that information be included? I’m not being critical, it just seems that pre-shrinking is always a presumed piece of information, and not everyone is aware of the need to do it.

    Just speaking from expereince/heartbreak is all. Looking forward to the sew along :)

    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 02.23 AMby gertie

      Great point! I almost always end up hand washing my handmade clothing, so I rarely think about preshrinking, unless it’s wool. I know that’s unusual though, so I’ll keep your feedback in mind! Thanks! :)

  • Missing

    Aug 31, 2011, 09.43 AMby Ruth Brown

    Nice to see my cats aren’t the only ones into sewing.

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    Aug 31, 2011, 09.14 AMby keren

    awww your cats are so cute!!! Your second cat must be the long lost brother of my cat Shugi -https://picasaweb.google.com/114510654280639612236/PushkinShugiMay2009#5342988212696898594 He also has a “coffee stain” on his cute little mouth! He is such a baby and has the best temperament. Never gets upset and is constantly purring!

    2 Replies
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 02.26 AMby gertie

      Aw! He’s so cute! His temperament doesn’t sound a lot like Pip’s though. She’s a little diva. :)

    • 532698_10150742947249316_1888144941_n_large

      Sep 1, 2011, 04.20 AMby keren

      this reminds me of the “help” I got from Pushkin once (my furrier cat) – he decided the leftover wax paper had to be shredded! https://picasaweb.google.com/114510654280639612236/PushkinShredder#5338678610298660962
      Good luck with the tutorial – it’s great seeing you on the front page of BurdaStyle! I’ll join in for the fancier stuff. Working with lace, maybe? :-)

  • 2004_toni_large

    Aug 31, 2011, 12.37 AMby ndimi

    Thrilled to be part of a sewalong, but more especially one that involves kitties!!! YEAH! More pictures of your kitty assistant required, please!! :)

    I’m still waiting for my fabric to arrive, so will have to watch closely and catch up.

  • Missing

    Aug 30, 2011, 05.44 PMby JMidwest

    Ooooh! I’ve been looking for a tutorial just like this! I can’t wait to get home tonight to start. P.S. Love the kitties

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    Aug 30, 2011, 04.56 PMby Ruth Meiland

    Thanks Gretchen, I will get started tonight!!! can’t wait!!!

    • This is a question
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