Thursday, August 9, 2012

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Basic math is all you need to create this easy elastic waist pleated school skirt featured in 

Sew Beautiful magazine Issue 144, Sept/Oct 2012.

"No Pattern" School Girl Skirt Instructions

Pleated Math Skirt
By Sivje Parish

Materials Shown
• 8 yards of black spaghetti bias trim
• 1-inch elastic for waistband (size of waist)
• Small scrap of 2-inch ribbon (for joining the elastic)
• Red thread for skirt construction
• Black thread for trim
• Twin needles size (3,0-90) from trim


1. Measure waist (W).  Sample is 24 inches
2. Determine skirt yoke - Multiply waist measurement by 1-1/2 inches.
          (Yoke = W x 1-1/2) i.e.  (24 x 1½= 36inches)
3. Determine desired skirt length from waist (L). Sample length is 15 inches.
4. Divide length by 3. This will determine the desired finished length of yoke
          (L ÷ 3) i.e. (15 ÷ 3 = 5 inches)
5. Add 2 inches to this length for seam allowances and casing.
          (5 + 2 = 7 inches)
6. Pleated skirt is 2/3 of finished length.
          (L x 2/3) i.e (15 x 2/3= 10 inches)
7. Add 2 inches in length for hem and seam allowances.
          (10 + 2 = 12 inches)
8. Width of pleated skirt (front and back) is two 44-inch widths of fabric.
9. Cut out skirt pieces using determined measurements.

Yoke (top tier)
1. Sew ends of yoke strip together to form a tube. Finish seams and press open.
2. Fold top waist edge down, 1/4 inch and again 1-1/4 inch and press. Stitch along edge of fold to create a casing for elastic leaving an opening at seam (center back) for inserting elastic.
3. Mark center front on opposite side of seam along raw bottom edge (make a small clip into seam allowance). Match CF fold to CB seam and clip sides to mark quarter points.

Pleated Skirt
1. Sew skirt front and back along one side seam if embellishing with bias trim. Sew both seams if you are not embellishing (If you plan to embellish skirt with trim, it will be easier to do this while it is still flat).  Finish seams. Press seams toward back
2. Fold up hem 1/4 inch, and again 1-1/4 inches and press. Stitch hem in place by hand.
3. With side seams together, fold skirt and make a tiny clip in top seam allowance at folds. These mark front center and back center.
4. Trace trim design (template is provided on the free pullout centerfold of Sew Beautiful Issue 144) to the front and sides of lower skirt (design does not extend to back, but you can continue it all around skirt by shifting and tracing more of the design as desired). Use a white wash away pen to mark (markings will be covered by trim).
5. Glue baste spaghetti bias following template design. Use steam to manipulate and shape.
6. With right sides together, pin center front of yoke to center front of skirt. Pin center backs together, where yoke seam meets skirt. Pin skirt side seams at each of side clips of yoke.
7. Begin dividing space between pins by half and pin skirt to yoke. Continue doing this all the way around yoke circumference; each time dividing space in half until spaces between pins is 1-2 inches apart.
8. Once completely pinned and divided. Fold excess fabric between each pin to make a pleat. Pin each pleat in place going in same direction
9. Once all pleats folded and secured with pins, stitch all the way around yoke with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Stitch once more 1/4 inch from raw edge. Trim and zigzag raw edge. Press seam up. You may top stitch here or embellish seam with trim if you like.
10. Cut elastic and insert into waist casing using a safety pin. Adjust elastic and trim off excess. Cut a scrap of 2-inch ribbon about 2-inches long. Using a close zigzag stitch, butt cut edges and stitch pieces together. Lay scrap of ribbon behind elastic and wrap it around. Stitch ribbon in place, making a smooth cover for seam of elastic.
11. Stitch casing opening closed.

Dress up for a school dance or Holiday portrait, or style a casual look with a sweater and leggings with boots for an everyday outfit. 


  1. I LOVE it, it's beautiful!

  2. Way to go, Siv! I'm proud of you!

  3. Very proud of you darling daughter. Great job!!!

  4. Oh Sivje, it's so, so cute! I think I may use it for Elizabeth's Christmas outfit this year! YAY!

  5. Sivje is so talented! This is adorable!

  6. I Love This Skirt Sivje :)

  7. Precious and darling skirt