Drafting a pattern for pleats

Let’s talk about how to make a pleats, or for the purpose of demonstration- a pleated skirt.

First, let’s get some terminology down:

The depth of the pleat is how deep each tuck will be. The return is the amount of space between each tuck.

Next, here is how pleats or tucks are indicated on a pattern:

Let’s get started…

1) Determine how deep you would like the pleats to be (example 1 1/4″)

2) Determine how much return you would like (the space between the pleats). (Example: 1 1/2″)

3) Measure your waist circumference (example 30″)

Now to the math…

4) Take the total waist circumference and divide by the return amount. This will equal how many pleats there will be. (Example: 30″ waist divided by 1 1/2″ = 20 pleats total).

5) Take the number of pleats and multiply by desired depth. (example 20 x 1 1/4″= 25″) This is the total needed to add to the skirt width.

6) Determine how wide of a square you will need for the skirt by taking total waist circumference + total pleat depth (example: 30″ + 25″ = 55″ total width.

7) Determine the length you want and finish off the square.

Here’s a visual for your reference:

8) Mark the pleat notches on the pattern. Because of the seam allowance there will be one pleat that hangs off the edge, but it picks up on the opposite side. Do this by marking a notch at half of the pleat depth. Then mark a notch indicating the return (distance between pleats). Add another notch indicating the end of the pleat. Repeat: mark a notch indicating the return (distance between pleats). Add another notch indicating the end of the pleat, until you have reached the end and you will have half a pleat depth remaining.

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