What could be a more useful wardrobe classic than a little black skirt (apart from a little black dress that is)! Say hello to my new obsession – pleated skirts.
Whilst on holiday in the Summer I fell in love with, and bought, a blue pleated skirt, which I totally love and since then I have spotted another pleated beauty back home and couldn’t resist picking this up too (both skirts were on sale). The hunt started here for some pleated fabric to make one for myself…
A few weeks ago I met up with a couple of my best sewing friends and we ‘happened’ to be in Birmingham on a Saturday which could only mean one thing – a trip to the ‘Rag Market’. It goes without saying that the trip to Brum was a success and I came home with this black plissé fabric at a bargain price too!
I will admit that it isn’t exactly the fabric that I was after, as the two skirts mentioned above were more of a narrow knife pleat – see pic below for comparison. The black fabric that I found is more of a ‘crinkle’ pleat. However the swirl and swishiness was what I was after and this still fits the bill. I’m very happy with it.
According to the Business of Fashion website, their definition of Plissé is as below, so it looks like all of the above fabrics could be described as plissé but please do correct me if I am wrong 🙂
“Plissé originally referred to fabric that had been woven or gathered into pleats and has also been known as crinkle crêpe. It takes its name from the French word for fold. Today, it is a lightweight fabric with a crinkled, puckered surface, formed in ridges or stripes. Plissé can also describe a chemical finishing technique, where plisse fabrics are used for underwear”.
You will often find a plissé skirt (take a shot each time I say plissé haha) has a simple elastic waistband. Both of my other pleated skirts have a black piece of elastic for the waistband and this is exactly what I wanted for my version too. I used an extra wide piece of black elastic – however looking back at the pictures that we took, I feel the waist band is much too deep for my proportions ( I think I am a little short waisted), so will go back to the sewing machine with the skirt and fold the waistband over in half and stitch in place.
The skirt was easy to cut out. Firstly I measured my hips. Normally I would cut the gathering width of a skirt at approx 1.5 times the width of my hips, but because I wanted this to be EXTRA I decided to cut mine twice my hip measurement. I knew pretty much the length of the skirt that I needed as you know I already have two other skirts like this so just measured their lengths. I cut mine to this approximate length before sewing as it would be easier to handle and sew with like this.
Now to what I found to be the tricky bit. Normally when sewing fabric to a piece of elastic you would stretch the elastic to fit the fabric as you sew them together. But because I had so much fabric due to me measuring it twice my hip measurement, I thought it would be easier if I gathered the skirt fabric in the usual way and sew it to the elastic like this. Oh by the way you want the elastic length to be your waist measurement minus approx 2 inches.
At this point it is just a case of placing the lower edge of the elastic (which has already been stitched together to form a circle) over the top of the gathered fabric by approx 1/2 inch and stitching them together. This was the tricky part for me. Because I had so much gathered fabric underneath the elastic, my machine kept on ‘eating’ my fabric ie. pulling it down into the needle plate and I had to keep stopping and fishing it out again! It took me absolutely ages to stitch around the edge due to this and my (zig zag) line of stitching is not perfect as a result, but ho hum I won’t let that bother me too much. Looking back on this I now think it would have been a good time to change the needle in my machine to a nice new super sharp one. Lesson learned.
A good thing about this particular fabric is that it doesn’t fray when it is cut, so the hem of the skirt can be left just cut and needs no finishing. Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate that because, I’ll be honest, hemming is one of my least favourite parts of sewing. Although having said that, this might not be the case with all plisse fabrics.
I almost had enough fabric left over to make another skirt – but not quite as long, so I did make another skirt (to use as an underskirt/slip) as the fabric is a little bit sheer. I quickly cut it out exactly the same except I took the gather down to 1.5 times my hip measurement, and attached it onto a much narrower piece of elastic. This is just perfect now, and I can use this as a dark coloured midi length slip for other garments too.
Even though I went through all that rigmarole with the machine eating my skirt, I would not hesitate to make another as this style of skirt makes me happy, I just love how it catches the wind, and how the fabric ripples when you walk. Also you’ve gotta love an elasticated waist hey? #roomforcake
Oh and although you can barely see it, I accessorized my outfit with the silver mirror acrylic scissors necklace with Swarovski crystal from my shop which you can find if you click here
Thanks to my husband for taking my pictures as always, and this time they were shot at a stunning National Trust property that we visited last week when we had a quick night away in Wales. Hope that we can revisit Dyffryn Gardens again another time, it was stunning.
Take care and I’ll be back soon,
Kathy x @sew_dainty