How To Sew A Pleated Skirt

Stitching and sewing is not an expert task anymore. With a little guidance, anyone can sew now. With the right tips and methods, you can possibly sew anything. From shirts to skirts, you can easily sew apparel if you know the pattern and have a step-by-step guide to do it. Additionally, with the help of YouTube tutorials, everything seems like a cakewalk now.

When it comes to sewing skirts, there are plenty of designs that can fascinate you. For instance, the pleated skirt is the most popular one. It is easy to make and exudes an adorable yet classy look to the skirt. If you have been searching for new ways to sew your skirt, a pleated skirt is something that you should give a try. Read on to learn more about it.

How To Sew a Pleated Skirt

To sew a pleated skirt, you will need some everyday stitching materials like thread, scissors, sewing machine, pins, ruler, etc. Initially, you need to cut and sew the panels that will be required to make the skirt. It would then help if you created pleats according to your preference (1” knife pleat is considered the ideal measurement). Now you need to attach a zipper to the skirt and combine all the other panels to complete the skirt. It will hardly take 15 minutes to make this skirt if you have practiced it well.

Steps To Make Pleated Skirt

Now that you have got the gist of making a pleated skirt and it seemed pretty simple. Let’s get into the step-by-step process to make this happen and learn everything in detail.

Step 1: Arranging Items

First, you need to acquire all the material required to make the skirt, including:

  • 2 pieces of fabric to make the yoke
  • Lining piece for front and back
  • 2 fabric to make the skirt
  • Zipper
  • 1” elastic

Step 2: Cutting The Fabric

It is the most crucial step that needs your attention. First, you need to cut the front (1/4” waist round+1”) and back (1/4” of hip +1.5”) yoke according to the pattern. After cutting, you will get 2 front yoke patterns and 1 big back yoke.

Step 3: Joining the Yoke And Lining

Bring the front yoke and the right side of lining fabric together to join the top edge leaving ½” seam allowance. You can clip the seam allowance for every 2”. Turn it around to get the right side.

The back yoke will work as the lining and the elastic casting. Fold it from the center; open it and place the elastic along the end. Do the basting to keep in place.

Take the front yoke and place it right side facing. Keep the back yoke’s edge inside the front yoke. Bring them together to sandwich the back piece in the front. Now stitch it together with 1/2” seam allowance.

Step 4: Add Zipper and Back Yoke

Now comes the zipper part to hold the back yoke. Use the other edge of the back yoke, fold it from the center and stitch the zipper’s top edge turned under. Make sure the zipper is face down the yoke. You can use the zipper foot on the sewing machine.

Step 5: Elastic Casing

Make a casing to insert the elastic in your skirt. You can topstitch elastic making underline stitches. Make sure to stretch the elastic to get the perfect fit while stitching.

Step 6: Get the Zipper and Front Yoke Together

Now you need to join the zipper’s remaining edge with the other edge of the front yoke. Unravel the front yoke and keep the zipper face down. Sandwich the zipper in the top of the front yoke by folding it from the middle. Stitch the edges to make sure it is strong.

Step 7: Cut the Skirt

You need pieces of the skirt to make the pleats. Take the correct measurement to make sure the skirt is a perfect fit. There is a general thumb rule that each skirt piece must be 5 minus the skirt’s total length.

Step 8: Pleat It Together

Now comes the essential part when you need to pleat your skirt with the pieces. For instance, if your skirt yoke is 44 inches, you will need 8 pleats, so the pleats must be (44/8) 5.5” inches wide. You can start pleating from the edges leaving ½” seam allowance.

Step 9: Baste It

Basting stitches with your hand will hold the pleats together. Once you have basted everything, you can run the sewing machine to make the stitch permanent.

Step 10: Join Yoke And Pleats

Now you have a front and back yoke with a pleated skirt. You can join them together by adjusting the pleats with the top edge of the skirt. Insert the yoke inside the pleated skirt. Completely stitch the skirt together to form the final version of your nicely pleated skirt.

How To Keep Your Pleats New As Ever?

Making a pleated skirt is not enough; you need to keep it perfectly pleated as long it is in your wardrobe. Maintaining a pleated skirt can be cumbersome if you are not following the right tactic. Here are a few tips to keep handy while handling your pleated skirt.

  • Start by ironing it regularly and use larger paper clips to hold the pleats. Make sure to set the temperature of the iron according to the fabric.
  • Right after taking it off, hang the skirt in its designated place where it doesn’t come in contact with other apparel.
  • Regularly steam the skirt to release the wrinkles and ruffles from it.
  • Identify the fabrics that cannot be hand-washed or machine washed. Take them to your dry cleaners to get it clean after wearing them.

The more you invest in your skirt, the more beautiful it will become with time.

Types of Pleats You Can Make

There are different types of skirt pleats that you can choose to make-:


  • Knife Pleats: There are exterior folds facing one direction.
  • Accordion Pleats: Similar to knife pleats with closer pleats.
  • Box Pleats: Exterior folds face opposite, making box shapes.
  • Inverted Box Pleats: Exact opposite of the box pleats with exterior folds face one another.
  • Radiating Pleats: A type of knife pleats, but in this pleats flow from a single point.

What are you waiting for? Take out your scissors and fabric to make your perfectly pleated skirt.

Related Questions

How much fabric will you need to sew a pleated skirt?

For a pleated skirt which 1” pleats, you will require 3” fabric. You need to do a little math, suppose your waist size is 25”, and you need a full pleated skirt, you would at least require your pleats to be 1” wide. So, you simply multiply waist measurement by 3 and for each edge add seam allowance, which makes 25×3+75 +1+76.

How to get rid of the wrinkles on pleated skirts?

As beautiful as they appear, pleated skirts have to be maintained properly. Wrinkles are the worst enemies of pleated skirts. If you are not careful, you will have a hard time managing your pleated skirts. Just hang the skirt and move the steamer along the fabric. You can also use your bathroom steam to release the wrinkles. If you have a wrinkled box pleated, a run or hot iron over it will help.

Which is the best fabric for a pleated skirt?

You can use anything of your preference to make a pleated skirt. Some of the preferred materials are cotton, wool, silk, satin, chiffon, etc. As long as you have a fabric that can perfectly wrap around your waist, you can use any material. Make sure the type of pleats you intend to make would be ideal for that particular fabric.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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