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creating pleats on back skirt waistline

wench34 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am trying to copy a bridesmaids gown that is a-line skirt in the front and 3 side pleats on each side in the back..where there are none on the pattern…..any ideas how to do that?  I would be grateful!


  1. SewNancy | | #1

    You have to determine how wide each pleat will be and then double the width .  Then you have to slit the pattern and add the width you need.  mark carefully and make a muslin.  Also copy the pattern before you cut into it.


    1. wench34 | | #2



      Thank you.  I am worried that the anount of material added to the back might just make the front of the garment fall strangely.  The pattern I am using is Vogue 2240-the flared skirt view, but shorter with a double underlay about an inch longer than the dress in tulle with ribbon trim.  Upon closer inspection of the actual garment I am trying to duplicate, it has no side seams, but appears to be simply a dirndl that only has pleats in the back, which I suppose, are to clear the hips and derriere.  As I am only mailing out the muslins as all the girls are out of state, I will have only the dressform to play with this.  I was taught that actually you can only change about 2 inches of a pattern before the entire line is changed.  Any ideas?

      1. FrancesC | | #3

        I looked at your pattern (Vogue 2240)and I don't see any pleats at all. The skirt is flared but is apparently tapered to fit the waist of the bodice.
        The line drawings show a petticoat with a big bow on it but no explanation of its function. Is that what you mean by pleats? A petticoat goes under the outer skirt of a garment to add support but, in this case, it looks too bulky for the skirt of the garment. But this skirt should have a supporting garment under it but it would be flared like the skirt itself.
        You say you are adding an underlay of tulle; shouldn't that be an overlay? Tulle is too soft for an underlay.
        I admit that I am confused about what you are trying to accomplish.
        But it is a beautiful, simple design - just perfect for a wedding dress.FrancesC.

        1. wench34 | | #4

          No, I am adding the pleats on the dress....on the skirt.  No train as these are bridesmaids dresses that will fall slightly below the knee.


          I am going to add the pleats to the flared skirt.....that is what I am trying to do.  I hear you slash the pattern-of the skirt..where...on the straight grain of it?


          Thanks for getting back with me...

          1. FrancesC | | #5

            Okay, now I understand. My apologies for misunderstanding you.Myself, I think that pleats are unnecessary and would spoil the line. I also have trouble imagining how they would look.But, to make them, assuming that the skirt sections are cut on the straight grain, cut the pattern top to bottom, and spread the pieces the necessary amount, then tape them to a piece of paper to maintain the spread. Pinch the extra fabric and fold it to the centre (on the outside) which should maintain the smooth line of the skirt. Several small pleats, rather than one or two large ones, would look the best. The amount you add should be double the depth of the pleat. I think that I would place the pleats so that they are on the back rather than at the hip but I'm not sure about that. Try sketching the placement in several places.Do try this out on scrap fabric. Doing it in a reduced size would work just fine.I wish that it was as easy to describe something as it is to demonstrate it. If I don't make sense, I will be happy to try again.Frances C.

          2. wench34 | | #8

            I agree that the pleats are not necessary... I am copying a LAZARO gown that is a boatneck with princess seams and a flared and pleated skirt.  Original has no side seams and has side front pleats and side back pleats....


            Thank you so much for writing me back...really helps...

          3. Elisabeth | | #6

            These dresses sound really pretty. What type of fabric are you using? I like the tulle underlayer border idea. Ribbon, fabric, lace, things like that edging a hem of sheers or other make a nice look, I think. You can add pleats in any configuration you like, it is just excess fullness taken up in a "tuck". Different fabrics will give different results. Since the back seam is angled and the top of the skirt pattern curved odd things might seem to happen so you will have to experiment. Just remember to add enough extra to create the pleat underlay, the part of the pleat that you don't see from the outside when the pleat is closed. The pleat underlay is twice the pleat depth, the distance you would measure if you stuck a ruler into a closed pleat. It's easy when not quite paying attention to add only the pleat depth amount, been there done that.

          4. wench34 | | #7

            Thanks...they are a copy of a LAZARO...I am making them out of an iridescent apple green silk taffeta with shimmer tulle undlerlay skirt with the silk ribbon trim and a 1 inch silk ribbon tie at the waist.....thanks for the imput.....you are sweet

          5. Elisabeth | | #9

            How yummy! The dresses will be lovely! I enjoy working with taffeta. Hope it all goes smoothly for you.

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