I’m pleased to report that the red linen skirt project is proceeding nicely.
I last made one in 2008, and I seem to recall thinking at that time that I wouldn’t want to make more than one per year because of the labour involved. I doubt it’s gotten any easier in the interim, but somehow it seems like much less of a chore this time around.
Perhaps that’s because I spent as much time dicking around with the fit on a couple of recent and theoretically straightforward projects (the purple trousers, and an earlier iteration of that same project) as it takes to construct a whole pleated skirt.
I basically make these skirts from the bottom up and from the inside out.
Having sewn the bottom panels (2x T3) together, the next step is to press down the ¼” seam allowance on the panel (T2) that I was going to pleat onto. (The payoff for this step comes later.)
In preparation to start pleating, this piece (the short, not-getting-pleated piece) goes on the ironing board first, with the folded seam allowance at the top, raw edge visible (i.e. rotate the above picture 90° counterclockwise). I then put the other piece (the long, getting-pleated piece) on top of it, wrong side up, and pin together at the selvages. I try to leave a bit of space between the raw edge of the bottom pieces and the raw edge of the top piece – about 2mm. Bring pins together, find the midpoint on both pieces of fabric, pinch to mark, bring pinch marks together, and pin.
Repeat until the distance between pins is a nice size for pleats.
When the pins are a good distance apart, lay the fabric out on the ironing board, pleat side up.
Working right to left, pull the loose fabric of each pleat to the right and press.
Once all the pleats are pressed, it’s time to sew them in place. I used a seam allowance of a little less than ¼”.
Finally, fold the seam allowance over the tops of the pleats for a self-bound finish. (If there is a gap between the pieces of 2mm, the folded seam allowance is ¼” and the seam allowance when stitching the pleats down is a little less than ¼”, then it will fold in just the right place and no pins are needed.)
The process described above is rather different approach to pleating and seam finishing, so it might be hard to follow. I hope I’ve explained this clearly but if not, please let me know!