Monday, 6 May 2013

pleating away!

First thank you so much for your lovely comments.  I just want to repeat that I am definitely a crafty beginner; sewing - my fourth zip this week, crochet, only on my second project, cross-stitch started 2 years ago, knitting probably my most proficient craft but still early days.  I mention this because anything I try I think most people could have a go!

Oh what a lovely three days off!  Lots of crafty time and such glorious sun today that I even felt too hot at one time.  It was lovely in Morecambe.

First the answer to the questions posed last time, a) yes the "Anne scarf" kit was in, and b) yes I bought it ..... and intriguing it is.  There are 75 colours and a 27 page instruction books, which really means that I can't yet answer c) will I be able to crocthet it!  I'll give it a try though.  The colours are lovely.


I hope to start soon but I have unfinished crotchet project and in order for things not to get out of hand I do try to only have 1 crochet, 1 knitting, 1 cross stitch and 1 sewing project on the go at one.  So this weekend I've been working on my crotchet cushion (more next week) and I've got to the blocking stage of the grey striped jumper

Most of the weekend I've been sewing again.   Enter skirt no. 2.  I'm pretty pleased with this one.  (Excuse all the photos on a dummy - but Dan isn't home at the moment).

When the fabric arrived I could see it as a block pleated skirt.  I read a few blogs and watched some youtube tutorials and got the hang of how to do it (you don't need a pattern).  If you are interested in finding out how to make one read on - if not skip my rather confused explanation below.

You need one or two rectangles of material totalling 3 x your waist size.  I used 2 rectangles (side seams), so 3 x my waist size 84"  then divide by 2.  So each piece was 42" and add your seam allowance, my length was about 27" to allow for a 23" length.  I wanted 5 pleats on each side and so I spent some time trying the pleats out before I trimmed my fabric to the right size.  You need to make the pleats even - so if your waist is 29" and you want 10 pleats in total each one needs to be 2.9"

This is where you also need to take your pattern into account.  My pattern repeat was 3" (which did mean my skirt ended up a little loose).  It is worth the time to try and match everything up. to make the pleats  I used the method on this youtube tutorial as it seemed to make a very strong pleat.  So I folded the material at where the middle of my pleat would be, wrong sides together, then sewed a line 4 1/2" from this fold aboutt 3 inches long.

You can see on the wrong side how this works (and also whether you have matched your pattern correctly).

Then on the right side you squash down the tube you have created.

You have made a blox pleat!  Do this with all the tubes taking care to keep matching the pattern (You can see there are 2 pleats here).

Repeat this on your other rectangle.  Now you need to join the two rectangles.  I do the zip side first so you can spread the material out.  I used an invisible zip - I'm no expert on zips, pesky things.  I can't work out how to zip up or down mid sew without raising the needle, so I'll just suggest you look for an internet tutorial but will just say you need to get really close to the teeth!

It turned out OK, almost invisible and actually your pleats virtually cover the zip
Then sew up the other side.  Next you need to add a wait band.  Just a rectangle about 5" by your waist size plus 2" for overlap.  I fused some interfacing to half to give a bit of stability.  There is a lot of advice on adding a waitband - I just used the instructions and pattern from one of my skirt patterns.  Then just machine the hem and you are done.  I'll definitely make another of these.  I'm sure these instructions aren't anywhere near good enough!  But just to say I did enjoy making this skirt and it is pretty easy once you have worked out the measurements to make a wearable skirt.  This one would even do for work with a jacket.
So all in all I have enjoyed my quiet, solitary crafting long weekend!  I need to get back to the cushion to finish it!  See you soon I hope.


  1. Wow, you have been busy!! Love the skirt :)

    1. Thanks so much. Since I live on my own most of the time I spend nearly all my spare time crafting! I guess its one of the advantages when your children grow up (possibly the only one)

  2. The skirt is fabulous, both the pattern and the sewing. And despite your protestations, I think you do not knit, sew or crochet like a beginner, but rather like someone very accomplished. x

  3. Too kind Gillian. I think photos can hide a multitude of sins, but I also think it is difficult to get the confidence not to be really critical of your makes (and imagine everyone is looking at them an thinking she made that - as if it is a negative). Anyway - I've decided to stop being self-depricating and believe what my lovely reader comments say! x

  4. I'm so impressed by your lovely skirt, Mags! I only make tiny rabbit clothes at the would be lovely to do proper dressmaking and choose the fabrics for your own clothes! Those pleats look perfect!
    Helen x

  5. Thank you Helen, I have long admired your sewing talents which I'm sure would transfer to dressmaking. I've been loving your tulip post (and by the way really enjoying Pretty Patchwork Gifts) x