DIY Pleated Skirt #1

Over the holiday season, I’ve switched my DIY-ing around a little bit while waiting for some beads to arrive (shipping becomes a nightmare over Christmas as many of you should know) and have gotten back in sewing! – yay!

I realised that every time I went op-shop shopping or vintage shopping, I find so many lovely 50’s skirts that I want but either they don’t fit, the print is not right or the shop is charging way too much for it. This then spurred me into a sewing rampage. Over the last 2 weeks I have made at least 5 skirts, all in the full 50’s style of course but all a little different from one another in terms of material, length and construction. After doing a little google research, I found that many full skirts are not circle skirts (unless they are poodle skirts), but are either gored, gathered or pleated, making the creating process soooo much easier!

This will be first of a few DIY and outfit posts exhibiting my new current obsession ^_^ – All of these posts will come with some sort of tutorial, and if not, there will be links to help you out.

Unlike most of the 50’s skirts which are midi length (mid calf), the skirts from all of these adventures will either be knee length, mini or maxi as the midi length is not at all flattering to a 5 foot frame. Either way length is not as important as you can always change that. This of course depends on the material and look you are going for though 😉

50’s Skirt Adventure #1: Full Pleated Knee-Length

This is made from a stretch cotton that I bought from the North Melbourne Market. I still have so much of this fabric left I don’t know what to do with it!

The fabric I found was great, it gave the fullness the skirt needed and was very soft with a little stretch making it very comfortable to wear and allows for a little more discrepancy with sizing.


  • Sewing Machine
  • 1.5 metres of fabric
  • Pins
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Zipper
  • Invisible Zipper Foot
  • Thread and needle


1. Cut out two rectangles. The length would be your desired length plus a little excess and the width I used was around 110cm.

2. Cut out a waist band that would fit around your waist plus a little excess. Make it about 4 to 5 inches wide.

3. Sew the two rectangle together (side seam)

4. Start to evenly pleat the top and pin down as shown in the images below. Pleat until the the skirt approximately fits around your waist.

The pictures show that I’ve pleated the fabric before sewing the two pieces together. This would be a mistake on my part as I found that sewing the two rectangles together first greatly eases the process.

5. Attach the waist band to the pleated top, right sides facing each other. 

6. Attach a zip to the skirt on the open ends.

I used an invisible zip. A specific invisible zipper foot is recommended but not completely essential. The series of photos below demonstrate how I attached it and the following links show a pictorial tutorial on how it is done and a very informative video explaining the different types of zipper foots along with a full tutorial.

  • Open zip
  • Attach the one side of the zip to one side of the skirt as shown below (the specific sides are very important)
  • Attach the other side of the zip to the other side of the skirt as shown below
The second picture shows the original sewing machine foot on the right and the invisible zipper foot with grooves on the left.

7. Finish off the waistband

Fold the waist fabric over a couple of times. Press. Pin. Sew.


The skirt is almost complete.

8. Attach a hook and bar to the waistband ends. Adjust the tightness appropriately.

Quite messy here, but it’s on the inside so no one will know but you and me!

9. Hem the bottom.

You are done!

The next Skirt Adventure is very similar, but I’ve used a different zip and fabric.

LOve <3




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