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Inverted Box Pleat Skirt with Front Yoke

birdlady1 | Posted in Patterns on

I am doing my skirt project for my pattern class and have decided to do create a pattern with a front yoke (v) design and four inverted box pleats at the back with a placket right about those pleats.

I think I have the idea of how to create the four inverted box pleats but am not too sure if they should be folded on the front of the back skirt or the back of the back skirt.

What I have done is drawn the back skirt and on the centre back fold, have drawn a line from that line to about 9″ across and have created notches each inch where I am going to fold the pleats.   I have also put a slit across the skirt back to the middle of the skirt.  I want to fold each section of those folds to where they will be placed in the middle of the back skirt.  I will then fold the folded pleats upwards towards the darts then sew across the line and then bring the pleats back down.  I am having a hard time picturing if the pleats (which I want to show on the outside of the skirt back) should the pleats be folded from the inside of the skirt or from the outside?

Also, how far in, should I slit the pattern skirt back in order to obtain four pleats.  Since I have to make two backs, is there an easier way of doing this or are the instructions I have above wrong; or should one back skirt only have two pleats while the other has only two?  Is there anything in Armstrong’s book regarding same that I have missed as instructions?

I would appreciate your help as all of this has to been completed and handed in one week from this coming Wednesday and I have a lot more to do.



  1. starzoe | | #1

    There is a lot of information on the internet. I just went into Google and typed in sewing skirt back pleats and hundreds of sites came up.A lot of these are advertisements for patterns but there is a wealth of information there about pleats and all of it is worth reading. I am sure it will answer some of your questions.One little note about designing: instead of starting from scratch making pleats without any experience in that direction, it is not "cheating" to buy a pattern with the type of pleats that you envisage. Don't use the pattern as such, but note, step by step, the instructions and the illustrations. It is not cheating to use all the sources available to you. Simplicity and Vogue publish "how to" softcover books which are a real help even to experienced sewers. Use your library for books of this type as well.As for your "inverted" box pleats - "invert" means upside down (or maybe inside out in this case). Take a strip of paper and fold your four pleats to see what they would look like from both sides and decide which you want.

    1. birdlady1 | | #2

      Thank you for the information.

      I have along been viewing the internet and the one I am interested I did not know what the name of the pleat was.  I took your advice and again just went on the internet and found a picture of the pleats I want to do for the back.  Apparently it is called a "hemline pleat" at the back.  It is the picture of the girl with the red sweater.  I don't want the pleats as wide as those in the picture.  I was thinking of doing only 4. 

      Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of pattern on hand in order to use it as a guide.  Also, if I did have one, I cannot trace the pattern piece because when I was in my first class I traced a waistand from a commerical pattern.  I wanted to show my other teacher what my design was going to look like and she knew right away that I had copied the waistband.  She said that that would have given no a zero on my project.  That is why I am trying to do everything myself (of course with some guideness from anyone answering my messages).  I was showing my new teacher a design I did and she said that it would be better if I created my own skirt project and not one from Helen Armstrong's book.  Therefore, I have to try and complete this one myself.

      View Image

      1. starzoe | | #3

        The whole point is not to trace anything from a pattern, but it is perfectly honourable to get an idea from a photo or a commercial pattern. Yes, that pattern is a perfect example of a box pleat insertion.

      2. sewchris703 | | #4

        The pleats in both of those skirts look like they are a separate pattern piece that is first pleated, then sewn to the back of the skirt, then the verticle seams are sewn which is the back gore seam in the case of view 1, in the red sweater/top.  In view 2 (red skirt, white shirt on the right), the pleats wrap around the skirt to the front gore seam.  And the band above the pleats is also a separate pattern piece that is (probably) faced and then topstitched over the seam sewing the pleats to the back of the skirt.  At least that's the way that I would construct the pattern. 


        Edited 6/30/2008 7:52 pm ET by sewchris703

        1. birdlady1 | | #5

          I received your responses and is much appreciated.

          I was going to do four and not the two wide pleats like the ones in the skirt I attached previously (the lady in the red sweater).  I was wondering if I make the back pattern with the pleats attached to it, if it might work if I take the back pattern and place the centre back piece on the fold as opposed to having it placed on the salvage edge?  What I want to accomplice is to have the back of the skirt one piece.  I would slit the pleats on the pattern piece from the top of the pleats to the middle of the skirt and then fold the pleats so that they are a hemline pleat and then fold and lift up the pleats and sew them across to the point of the slit as opposed to having two separate back pieces and having to place another panel in the middle and then sew that piece to the other back side panels.

          Also, if I am going to create a size 16 pattern from the pattern block I purchased at night school, and want to have only 4 pleats at the back (not too wide), then how many pleats should I create in order to get the four?

          I appreciate any information that might be useful.

          1. sewchris703 | | #6

            The skirt in view 1 (red sweater) actually has 3 box pleats.  And it has a center back seam because it was designed for a center back zipper.  If you put the zipper in the side seam, you don't need the center back to be a seam.  Just cut it on the center back fold and eliminate the seam allowance.   The princess (dart) seam can go anywhere on the back.  If you place it more toward the center back, you might have to keep the dart nearest to the side seam to accommodate the rear end curve of the body.

            If you make the pleats part of the rest of the back pattern like you want, you will need to keep the center back seam.  Do you mean 2 box pleats or 4 box pleats?  2 box pleats will have 4 knife pleats in pairs facing each other.  How wide you make the pleats is up to you.  Very wide pleats will over lap depending on how wide of a space you are sewing them to.


          2. birdlady1 | | #7

            I was thinking of 4 small box pleats with a placket on the top of them as I saw from the lady's skirt in our office.  As I indicated in my last e-mail, could I place the centre back on the fold line of the material so that when it is open up, there would be no seam allowance from the waist to the top of the placket.  I would cut across the top of the pleat pattern to the middle of the skirt.  I think I would then in order to be abe to fold the pleats toward the centre of the skirt, cut on the centre of the skirt from the hemline to the bottom of the pleats and then sew that part as a seam allowance.  Does that make any sense?  I have never done a skirt with box pleats before so I am trying to see if my idea is plausible.  If I am going to have the box pleats go from the centre back to the middle of the skirt, is 4 smaller pleats okay or would I have to create more?

            I hope to hear from you soon.


          3. starzoe | | #8

            Why don't you try your idea on a small scale with fabric or paper towelling? You will soon be able to see if it would work or not. This little trial doesn't have to be to scale, all you need is an approximation of what is planned.

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