Pleat Week guest post: pleated ombre skirt

I feel like such a rebel! Posting about pleats during Ruffle-mania…lol! But when Kate asks for pleats-you give her pleats. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I saw a similar dress once and I’ve always wanted to try big pleats, with 2 different fabrics-so this was a good project to knock a few things off my sewing to do list.

Ruffles are represented in her shirt, lol!

I used a shade of pink and a coral-and I think it would be gorgeous in different shades of mustard, and maybe navy and light blue. The sky’s the limit really! A rainbow would be gorgeous, albeit way ambitious!

My little Charlotte proclaimed it to be,”TUTE!” which means “Cute” in her language.ย  That’s high praise coming from her, though she describes pretty much everything with that word. Eh.

So go check out the tutorial over on See Kate Sew!

I’m pretty much psyched to meet Kate in real life tomorrow for the SNAP conference! woo-hoo!

Edit: I’ve added the tutorial here on my blog below!

So here’s how I made it.

You’ll need:
two fabric choices-I cut my pieces selvage to selvage, and you need quite a bit of length for the pleats, so at least 1/2-1 yard of the top fabric, and 1/2-3/4 of the bottom. I used half a yard of each for my 18-24 mo size skirt, if that helps you gauge what you may need.

matching thread
3/4″ elastic

First I cut my top piece selvage to selvage, 14 inches wide. with folding the top over to make a casing, plus 4, 1″ pleats, that was just enough I think. I would suggest cutting your fabric a bit wider than you think. You can always trim some off the top-but you can’t easily add more back.

Then I cut the bottom piece, also selvage to selvage, this one I cut 11″ wide, since I was planning on less pleats for this color.

Next I sewed them together lengthwise, right sides together, then serged the edge. (you could use pinking shears or zig zag stitch also.)

Then I pinned the short sides right sides together, matching the seam in the middle, and sewed that together, then finished the seam.

I left the edges raw for now since I didn’t know if I was going to cut any off or not. I ended up not.

Then for the first pleat, I rolled my fabric so that the top fabric was hanging out below the bottom fabric. wow, confusing sentence much? Just follow what the picture shows!

I measured with a ruler all the way around to make sure the pleat would be the same size (about 1″), then pressed it with my iron.

Then I flipped it around so that I was sewing on the right side of the dress, and sewed a pleat-just a normal straight seam, but make sure to line up the edge with one of the lines on that little metal plate so that they’re as even as possible. I always started and stopped my stitching at the side seam.

Then that pleat will fold down over the seam and hide it neatly. Press that pleat down. Press after every pleat, really.

Then I repeated the process 3 more times for the top portion. This is where eyeballing comes in. Make sure you fold over the top pleat before you sew it in and make sure it covers or almost covers-the previous stitches.

I didn’t have enough room for another pleat after I did four, so I left a bit of room, serged the top of the skirt, then folded it over and pressed with my iron, to form a casing. Sew around the bottom of where you folded it over, leaving a hole for the elastic. Don’t insert the elastic til you’re done sewing pleats though!

Then I moved to the lower fabric…folding and pressing and sewing. Make sure you pull back the pleat right above the one you just did so that you don’t accidentally sew it in!

Then when you get to the last portion, simply serge or fold over twice, and sew your last pleat as the hem.

Then insert your elastic through the casing, sew the ends together, then sew the casing shut. My elastic was sliding around a little bit, so I also sewed a stitch down the middle of the casing once it was complete, pulling the elastic as I went so it still stretched.

Tada! A gorgeous ombre skirt!


  1. *oops, I meant COMPLETE. Although, since the post is about PLEATS….it could have been a freudian slip….

  2. I cannot STAND….how STINKING CUTE her jawline is!!! It’s like a compleat square of chubby goodness…I just melt and giggle anytime you post her pic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Charlotte is so Adorable! Oh my goodness! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the skirt with the two colors. So fun! I might need one in my size. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This is so adorable. I love it

  5. I think it is ‘tute’ also! I’m glad she likes it and you crossed some things off your to do list, bonus!


  6. i agree…tute indeed!

  7. Hi there!

    FYI – I tried to click on the link to See Kate Sew, and I get a page not found error…

    Love your site, both Charlotte and the dress are “Tute”!

  8. linda .beijos

  9. That is adorable…but I definitely need it to be my sized! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. LOVE this – but I clicked on the link and it didn’t work. Luckily I found it anyway – but just wanted to let you know.

  11. Ooh, she’s cute (love the skirt too but the baby wins 3-0)! I just made a summer dress with a pleated hem (I think the extra weight it gives makes the dress fall nicer, plus it makes the hem stay a bit wider too, and less like a nightgown). Of course the leftover fabric finished in a ruffle skirt, hee hee!

  12. Charlotte is a doll! That last picture made me melt. — And that ombre skirt! You are just making my “to do” list really long…thank you. =)

  13. That’s fantastic!!!

  14. I agree, that last picture is fabulous. She’s looks absolutely adorable.

    Oh…and great skirt!

  15. The skirt is wonderful and I’d love to make it for my granddaughter. For some reason, I can’t make the link work.

  16. I love this Jess!! I’m making two, one for each of my girls. By the way, I’m hoping you do another sew along soon…;)

  17. This is really cute and I will definitely be making one for my daughter. I was wondering what kind of fabric you used. I really like using quilting cottons but everything I make usually needs to be ironed which I am not a fan of especially with little girl clothes. I would think with these pleats ironing everytime would be necessary.

  18. Cute as always. So I’m very sorry that the link doesn’t work…

  19. Hey guys, link is fixed, sorry about that!

    I made it with quilting cotton, but you could easily just spot clean or hand wash to avoid extensive ironing. That’s what I’m planning on doing with this skirt.

  20. Hey guys, link is fixed, sorry about that!

    I made it with quilting cotton, but you could easily just spot clean or hand wash to avoid extensive ironing. That’s what I’m planning on doing with this skirt.

  21. That is downright adorable!!! After reading the tutorial, i’m still a bit confused. Maybe I just need to do it at the same time. But I was wondering, could you post a picture of the INSIDE of the skirt???? Thanks!!!

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