Sewing My First Garment – A Box Pleat Skirt

Okay, so although I don’t wear skirts that much, it’s not because I dislike them. It’s more that shops don’t sell skirts that fit comfortably or they are overpriced. So I chose to make a skirt as my first project with my sewing machine because of this… and also because it’s not as tricky as trousers or jackets!

I became fixated on using grey checked fabric. I love grey and I wear a lot of it. I wanted a heavy fabric but, due to cost, I settled for a brushed cotton at £6 a metre in the John Lewis sale.

It looked grey in the shop but it can look brown in some lights! Oh well!

Above is when I’ve put basting stitches in to hold the pleats in place. I watched the episode of Sewing Bee where they made box pleats and wanted to give it a go. Rookie error though because I bought fabric with a large pattern so you lose a lot of fabric with each pleat. It’s all a learning process and simply means I’ve got to adjust the idea in my head a little.

One of the things I was most looking forward to with getting a sewing machine was being able to do this stitch:

I’m not sure what it’s real name is but I call it Number 7 as that’s what my sewing machine requires me to input to achieve it! It was a little tricky at first to get the alignment right but once I got going it was easy enough.

I’m a 27 inch waist, 36 inch hips and 41 across the thigh/derrière area so I’ve been trying to make this a custom fit skirt that takes my measurements into consideration. I’m not following any pattern so it’s a matter of making it up as I go along. I know I want the pleats to start at the top of my thighs rather than from the waist or hips so I set about making a waistband. The annoying thing is that although the pattern matches up here…


… it gets progressively worse as the seam continues…


I guess it’s either because the fabric has been stretched or maybe I cut it on the opposite angle and the pattern isn’t complete symmetrical? Either way, I need to work out how to fix it. Alternatively, I could cut a waistband on the bias and then the pattern would be diagonal and nothing would align so it would be intentional.

Anyway, it’s a slow process because I’ve been sleeping badly so I’m not at my most productive after work in the evenings, and I’ve also been doing some clay modelling/painting. However, it’s now the weekend and I’m hoping to complete the majority of it over these next two days.

The finished length will be knee-length but I purposely cut it extra long whilst I’m working on it because many a time I’ve miscalculated and run out of fabric! The amount of times I’ve intended to make a 15 x 15 cushion cover and ended up with a 13 x 13!

The pleats also won’t be sewn all the way down to where the basting stitches currently are but I will be adding a bit of length to them rather than having them open from the waistband.

Hopefully I’ll be able to blog in a couple of days with photos of something that looks less like an apron and more like a skirt! 😉


2 thoughts on “Sewing My First Garment – A Box Pleat Skirt

    1. Yes, it might be… Really tricky to get all the checks to line up on the seams… But will persevere! Learning lots already. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.


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