How to Sew a Sheer Kick Pleat for a Higher Slit on a Pencil Skirt
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In “Designer Details” from Threads #167, author Jacque Goldsmith shared four techniques for finishing and sewing high-fashion clothes. In this excerpt, she shows you how to add a sheer kick pleat.
This pleat, inspired by a Zac Posen design, is a pretty detail that gives you leg room and allows for a higher slit on a slim pencil skirt. It has a light and airy look, and you can create it in any coordinating sheer fabric or lace. I call it a hanging kick pleat because it is connected to the center-back zipper tape.
1. Begin with a skirt pattern with a center-back seam. The seam should have a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance to the hem edge. If you use a pattern with a back vent, remove the fold-back facing⁄extension. You determine the length of the kick pleat opening. It is usually 6 inches to 9 inches. Calculate the pleat’s width, usually 1-1⁄2 inches to 2 inches. I like to use 1-3⁄4 inches for the pleat width.
2. On a large sheet of paper, trace the skirt’s center-back seam. Mark the zipper end point.
3. Draw a rectangle to represent the pleat fabric. Draw a line 3-1⁄2 inches from and parallel to the center-back seam. Extend it from the hem edge to the desired pleat length. Draw a dotted line 1-3⁄4 inches from and parallel to the center-back seam. This is the foldline. Add 5⁄8-inch seam allowances to the kick pleat’s side and top edges.
4. Draw the hanger. Above the pleat opening, draw a line 3⁄4 inch from and parallel to the center back. Add a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance to the top edge. Blend the foldline to the 3⁄4-inch line with a smooth curve.
5. Fold the paper in half along the center-back seamline. Trace the half to make a full pattern piece. Cut one pleat piece from a single layer of sheer fabric.
6. Sew the skirt as usual. Insert the zipper and sew the center-back seam from the zipper bottom to the top of the pleat opening.
7. Overcast or clean-finish the hanger edges. Then hem the kick pleat.
8. Sew the kick pleat’s vertical edges to the pleat opening. Use a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance, and align the kick pleat and skirt’s hemline folds. Turn up the skirt hem allowance, enclosing the kick pleat. Stitch on the 5⁄8-inch seamline.
9. Press each pleat side along the foldline. Extend one seam allowance away from the skirt, and sew across the top of the pleat from the center-back seam to the pleat fold. Repeat for the other side of the pleat.
10. Tack the hanger’s top edge to the zipper tape by hand or machine. Make sure the hanger and skirt layers are the same length to avoid any pulling.
Have you added sheer kick pleats before? If not, will you use this method to add one?
A pleat in sheer fabric is an unexpected and unique detail on a straight skirt in paisley cotton twill. This pleat was made from curtain fabric. Pattern: Vogue 8063.