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Using border fabric with a pleated skirt

kbalinski | Posted in Patterns on

Hi all,

Laying out the Threads/Simplicity pattern for a knee-length pleated skirt, but using a beautiful embroidered cotton with a border pattern.  If the pattern is rounded at the bottom and waist, how can I still use the embroidered border evenly along the hem?  Should I measure and mark the fabric so the length is the same as the pattern, but the cut out piece will be more of a rectangle than circular?

Any help and advice is appreciated. 



  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    Take a look at http://vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-08.html  it gives you the 'anatomy' of a skirt pattern; might help you see how to change your pattern to accommodate your border.  Otherwise your best bet is to buy a pattern that is intended for border print fabric.

    Hope this helps,


    1. NovaSkills | | #2

      This site will save my backside next season when I have three shows with period clothing requirements! Thanks for putting the news out about it.

  2. Teaf5 | | #3

    Becky-book's advice is great, and the website looks really useful. Here's a quick answer to your question: don't use that pattern for the skirt; instead, pleat the fabric first, and then put it on a mannequin or the person who will wear it, using an elastic band to hold it at the waist.

    Pull up/down on the skirt at the waistline until the hem falls straight (you can check that with a ruler from the floor) and then mark along the elastic with chalk. The shape of the waisline will look completely odd because you're doing all the length variations there instead of at the hemline.

    By the way, this method is also the best one to use for shortening a commercially pleated skirt; you leave the hem intact and take out the excess at the top of the skirt instead.

    1. kbalinski | | #4

      Great info, thanks so much.  The website link is amazing, so inspirational.  I appreciate everyone's responses, and will have to decide which road to take...

      I love this discussion board, it's never let me down!


    2. User avater
      TwilaTee | | #5

      The advice that you have given is so very good.... I can't wait to try that out! Once again this forum and all you wonderful seamstresses, have amazed me, and left me uterly inspired! -Twila

      1. Teaf5 | | #6

        It's my pleasure to share things I learned from my mother, who sewed all of the clothes for her eight children through the 1950s & 1960s.  Border prints were a real rage back then, and she applied the skills she had learned from her mother, who used to make ballgowns in the early 1900s by draping and pinning them on her twin sister. 

        As I stood, being pinned and fitted myself, my mother would tell me stories of her mother and aunt and of her own childhood, and I treasured those moments of attention.  The questions on this forum remind me of those times and bring me fond reflections, so it's a delight to post.

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