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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 continued instructions for this classic project and make sure to stay tuned for more steps and info throughout September!

Hello and welcome back to the skirt sew-along! Let me begin with a confession: the striped fabric I was using was stressing me out, so I switched to a lovely yellow floral sateen for now. Maybe the stripes will be skirt number 2!


Free Spirit was nice enough to send me a variety of fabrics, thank goodness. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the plethora of threads and zippers sent to me by our generous sponsor Coats & Clark!

Okay, so you have all your skirt pieces cut out, with seam allowances added, and pleat lines marked. Also, don’t forget to snip into the notch on the side pieces; this shows you your zipper placement.

Ladies, this skirt takes 10 pieces—isn’t that something? There are two skirt fronts, 4 skirt sides, and 4 pleat underlays. It’s worth noting that they all look really similar, so it would be a good idea to write the pattern piece number on each in chalk. This will keep you clear as you start sewing them together.


Finishing Your Seam Allowances

I’ll share a little time-saving trick with you: sometimes I like to finish my seam allowances before I sew my pieces together. Assuming that I don’t need to trim them down, this saves me some hassle in the long run. So with this skirt, I started by finishing all the long edges of the skirt pieces. You don’t need anything fancy for this beginner project; a simple wide zigzag will do. I like to zigzag right on the edge of the fabric so the thread kind of wraps around the raw edge.

Pressing Your Pleats

Now you’re going to press your pleats on the skirt center and side pieces (that’s pattern pieces 5 and 6). Start with the 2 center pieces. Fold each side of the skirt in to the wrong side on the pleat line and press.


Now do the same with the 4 side pieces. Fold in on the pleat line (you’ll be folding the side of the piece that’s not notched) and press.

Sewing the Pleat Underlays

Now you can lay out your pairs of sides and centers together. I’ll show you what I mean. First, place a skirt center right side down.


Then place a skirt side to either side of it.


The notched sides will go on the outside. See how it’s starting to form a skirt? This is either your front or your back skirt; it doesn’t matter since they’re the same.

Now, let’s get out piece 7; that’s the underlay.


You’re going to place piece 7 facedown on each of the pleats formed by pieces 5 and 6. You want to match up the raw edges and pin.


Sew these pieces together, leaving the bottom 4” open. This is to allow us to work on the hem later.


Repeat all this on the other pleat of the skirt front or back.

Baste the Pleats in Place

Now we’re going to baste down the pleats at the waistline. Pin them in place first.

Then baste them down along the waistline, inside the seam allowance. (I basted mine at ½”).


Hey, it really looks like a skirt!


Now repeat this whole process for the other set of pieces, which will become your skirt back.

Baste the Right Side Seam and Do a Fitting

Your last task for today is to baste your right side seam together and then try the skirt on, pinning the left side in place at 5/8”. How does your skirt fit? If you need to take it in or let it out, adjust both sides equally so the skirt is still symmetrical.

Okay, friends! That’s it for today. Next time we’re going to do the waistband and the zipper. In the mean time, let me know how your progress is going!

P.S. You didn’t think I’d leave you without any cat pictures, did you? Henry says hi!




  • Threadbanger_av_large

    Sep 14, 2011, 09.09 AMby blueshoegal

    Gret, I knew there was a reason I liked you – Henry is a darling! I have three kitties (kittie committee :) )

  • Missing

    Sep 13, 2011, 03.34 AMby Jennie De Groot

    Gretchen, you are right! NOT a pattern I would have usually chosen and yet it hangs so prettily. I am making mine out of quilting cotton…..hangs well!Awaiting the next installment with anticipation.

  • Missing

    Sep 10, 2011, 06.47 PMby Joyce Caldwell

    Ladies, I am a six foot tall size 30 (American) with no hips to speak of, and I have graded patterns up from a size 8 to fit me. Nobody is excluded unless they choose to be on a pattern like this one. That’s the coolest thing about making my own clothes!

  • Missing

    Sep 10, 2011, 06.13 AMby maryhodge

    I downloaded Burda’s instructions for this pattern, and they are so terse as to be incomprehensible. I’m so glad you’re writing this sew-along.

    1 Reply
    • Threadbanger_av_large

      Sep 14, 2011, 09.10 AMby blueshoegal

      I concur – I usually have a problem translating their instructions!

  • Img_20170104_052934_large

    Sep 9, 2011, 11.46 AMby Ruth Meiland

    Hi from Suriname!!! getting along with my skirt!!! Love this sewalong!!!

  • Dsc00142_large

    Sep 8, 2011, 05.08 AMby Rosemary Okandeji

    i am from Nigeria and i am presently working on it after reading through. I am so happy its giving me the desired result.

  • 2004_toni_large

    Sep 8, 2011, 01.51 AMby ndimi

    Hi Henry! I was so worried you weren’t going to be in this week’s post! (Shhh. You’re my favorite, don’t tell Gretchen!)

    Thanks so much for this sew-along, it’s really helpful for a novice.

  • 81fb6fa35e11e1e0e8f5fdf5ceb4948e3bda1de6_large

    Sep 7, 2011, 02.38 PMby joycexi

    So that’s how the pleating works. I think sew-alongs are great learning tools us beginners =D Thanks Gertie!

  • B22988b87f273b0def49337b39a2ab345cf4375b_large

    Sep 7, 2011, 12.11 PMby estherosita

    Dear all,

    (Note: I’m an Australian and we spell words the British-English way, so you might find the following jarring in appearance.)

    So, tonight I got cracking with the pattern and have been figuring out how to grade it up for a larger size. I’m not shy to say that I need quite a bit of an adjustment, and I’m going to try and describe this for the people here:

    step one – measure your waist. Mine is currently at 115.5 cms, so I rounded up (Ha, ‘rounded’) to 116cm.

    step two – The next thing I did was cut strips of muslin about 8cm wide, and cut from the top-most part of the two main pattern pieces (numbers 5 and 6). I followed the curve and marked the pleat lines. I did not add seam allowances, so I’ll have to make sure to calculate them into the final pattern cutting/slashing stage. I only cut a strip 8cm wide because I wanted to get a feel of how the skirt was constructed without cutting a whole skirt panel from my muslin and then not being able to alter that.

    It took me a few minutes and a number of doodles to get the structure of the skirt sorted out in my mind. I’ve never made a deep-pleated skirt, so I was a tad confused to begin with.

    The important step is to mark for and fold on the pleat lines – this helps to see how teeny this skirt pattern is, but it is built on such a classic style, that I’m fairly positive about the grading up being a success.

    Get the feel of how the skirt pleats will sit upon each other. According to my measurements, the pattern rounds out nicely to 88 cms in circumference. I need a good bit more than that. How much more? To calculate: 116 minus 88 = 28cms.

    The skirt front is the same as the skirt back, and to make things simpler, I will start by working on the skirt back. Each centre panel (not counting the pleats) is 18 cm without alteration. Each skirt side (not counting the pleats) is 13cms, and there is one on each side of the centre panel, so that is a total of 26 cms. Centre © plus 2 sides (2xS) is 18©+26(2xS) = 44cm. To grade up to my size (half of 116cms which is = 58 cm) I need to calculate the difference I need to add.

    to do this I simply subtract 44 from 58, which is 14cm. I can’t just add this 14cm anywhere to the skirt, I need to spread it out across the two side panels and the centre panel; all in all I have four places I can add this (if the centre of the skirt is counted as two places – since it is cut on a fold). For simplicity’s sake, I am not adding or subtracting from the pleat sections, so I need to add my cms to the centre of the centre panel and the seam edges of the side panels.

    I’m going to divide 14 into 4 which leaves me with 3.5cm. To add this to the centre panel, I am considering two options. At first I was going to place the pattern piece 3.5cm in from the fabric fold, and pin to cut it there.

    I was also considering slashing the pattern on the pleat line and adding the 3.5 cms there. Does anyone have any suggestions for what would work best/retain the shape of the skirt better?

    For adding to the side panels, I am going to add the 3.5 to middle of the panel, slashing and spreading (but not including the pleat section!)

    I hoe this helps some of the people out there who want to grade this pattern up and haven’t figured out how to do that.

    If anyone has any suggestions on how to make this easier – I’d really appreciate them! Having figured out the differences really helped me solidify some of the tutes I’ve read about pattern sizing and grading up to a size. I’ll post pics during the week, promise!


    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 7, 2011, 07.51 PMby gertie

      Wow, thanks for sharing all your findings! I would say you’re on the right track. The grainlines are really important on this skirt, so I would do my best to retain them as they are if possible.

  • 014_large

    Sep 7, 2011, 12.38 AMby lunamom2

    I love how the skirt is coming together. Easier than I expected.

  • 14bc8a2d20e90a30636b1fb9e0a8396d4cbbaccc_large

    Sep 7, 2011, 12.35 AMby tudorrose69

    It would be nice to be able to sew with you, but I guess plus-size women are excluded?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    2 Replies
    • B22988b87f273b0def49337b39a2ab345cf4375b_large

      Sep 7, 2011, 02.29 AMby estherosita

      I’m happily working along, and Im an australian size 22. I’m making a muslin that I have altered with instructions found here http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/grade-skirt-and-pants-patterns/technique_steps/1 – it is a bit complicated, but I’m learning valuable skills, and because it’s a muslin I’m not spendng money on fashion fabric not turning out.

    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 7, 2011, 03.28 AMby gertie

      Thanks for the feedback; I agree that it would be nice to have a wider range of sizes.

      estherosita, I’m looking forward to seeing your muslin—I hope you’ll share it!

  • E57181cf55341bcc01bda2edd47f98e5444cec52_large

    Sep 6, 2011, 11.27 PMby candisrrt

    so much fun to read and watch you fit and sew this skirt.

  • Picmonkey_collage_large

    Sep 6, 2011, 06.27 PMby designerroya

    Love that homey fabric! With that pattern, you just have to have the legs too pull it off! Great job though! Loving Henry!

    • This is a question
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