DIY Maxi Skirt With Pleat Detail

Another spring clean, another realisation that I'm hoarding too much fabric. While I've had some success turning most of my home decor fabrics into cushion covers for my shop, my dress fabrics have remained relatively untouched for quite a few months.

I've had this feather fabric for quite some time now, and while I've always known that a maxi skirt was going to be its purpose, I never really got around to it. I thought about making it using the classic method but I eventually decided to experiment with pleating. 


Lightweight fabric with good drape
Matching thread
Wide elastic

What to do

1. Cut a piece of fabric with the following dimensions and hem the sides and bottom.
  • Width: enough to wrap around the hips 1.5 times (add about 1 inch for hemming and more if adding more pleats)
  • Length: Distance between natural waist to just below ankles (add about 2 inches for hemming)

2. Starting from one corner, fold and pin pleats into place. The number and size of pleats are up to you, bearing in mind the more and/or bigger the pleats, the wider your fabric will need to be initially. I only wanted some pleat detail at the side of the skirt, so I did 4 pleats, each bout 1.5 inches wide.

3. Stitch over the pleats using a basting stitch to hold them in place.

4. Wrap the fabric around your waist loosely. The side of fabric with the pleats should overlap the side without. Once again, baste in place.

5. Hem the top of the fabric.

6. You should now have something that resembles a skirt, just missing a proper fit at the waist.

7. Cut a piece of elastic that just fits around your waist and stitch both ends together. Pin the elastic on the inside / wrong side of the skirt evenly.

8. Stitch the elastic to the skirt by sewing close to the edge. As your elastic will be shorter than your skirt fabric, stretch it to fit as you sew. Although there is no elastic casing, the elastic will be hidden on the inside / wrong side of the skirt.

It does seem like a rather roundabout way to sewing a maxi skirt but it does give it a little bit more character than if using the classic method. Apart from the pleat detail, there is a natural slit in the skirt where the two layers overlap. It's very pretty when swishing about on a breezy day!

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