I'm so excited (okay, and seriously nervous) to be part of crafterhours Skirt Week 2012. I've had the extreme privilege to be friends with the lovely crafterhours ladies for the last 5 years, long before they shot themselves into bloggy fame with their fabulous sewing inspiration. They are the ones who convinced me to dust the old sewing machine off and get back to work. Oh, the good old days, when I could just hop in the car and drive down the street for some craft and conversation. Good times!
Today we're talking accordion pleats.
Examples are popping up all over Pinterest. I mean, how can you not love the texture, the colors, the luxurious fabrics? I had to have one for myself, and while I usually stick to sewing for my boys (mostly because they require a LOT less fabric), I thought I'd give it a shot.
I know most of you are probably thinking, "Yes, they are fabulous but who wants to do all of that pinning and pressing?" And that's what I thought at first, too. Then, I discovered the secret that puts that all in the past: The Extra Long Perfect Pleater.
I wanted a midi length skirt. I love those maxi skirts but for the first go around, I thought it best to limit the amount of fabric. I went with a 20 inch skirt length and added 1 3/4 inches for the waistline seam and hemming.
Once I had those measurements, it was time to decide how many panels I'd need. Starting with a 45 X 21 3/4 inch panel,and using the Extra Long Perfect Pleater, I needed to figure in the 3/8 " return for each pleat. Basically, for 1/4 inch wide pleats, that reduced a 45 " piece of fabric to about 20 ". This meant I could get away with just 2, 21 3/4 X 45 inch panels.
Disclaimer: I'm mathphobic therefore, I avoid math at all costs. I'm sure there is a fancy formula for finding how many inches of fabric you'll need to start with. Something to do with the 1/4 inch pleat + 3/8 inch return + seam allowance to join panels and divide that number into the 45 inches.
Once I'd cut my panels from a vibrant Free Spirit Voile in Navy, I pressed and hemmed each panel to the desired length. Now it was time to pleat! Important Note: The pleater recommends using a synthetic or 50/50 blend for pleat permanence.
With the lourvers facing away, I used a credit card to help slide the fabric all the way into each pleat.
Once the entire length of the pleater was filled, I turned my iron to the linen setting, soaked my press cloth in a solution of vinegar and water (1 to 9 ratio), rang out the press cloth, laid it over the fabric, and pressed the length of fabric in the pleater.
Once the fabric has cooled, one can use a wash away tape, or simply run over to the sewing machine and bast the pleats into place.
I removed the pleated fabric, slid it over to the last pleat made and continued pleating until the entire panel was pleated.
I made sure to let my fabric overlap the end of the pleater so I could baste stitch my pleats while they were still in the pleater.
Once I had my required number of panels are pleated, I sewed them together to form the "body" of the skirt.
I went with an exposed elastic waistband but a zipper and matching waistband (made from two rectangles) would be just as easy. Let's face it. I rarely find occasion, in my boy chasing life, to wear something more than casual.
Sadly, I'm a short waisted kinda gal, so that lovely exposed elastic won't be getting a show anytime soon, but I'm still digging the, eat all you can at dinner stretch-ability.
I shied away from the traditional chiffon this time around but now that I know how easy it was to pleat, I'm thinking I'll make another for "fancier" occasions. You know, like when my husband takes me out for dinner. Aheem. Wink, wink.
Thank you, Adrianna and Susan for giving me the push I needed to sew this skirt. Okay now, you all go make a few!
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