Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Skirt Hem Pleat Tutorial

I just added a very nice pleat hem to my new skirt, see here.  It was the first time I had used this finish and I liked it a lot so I thought I would share the process.  The idea is not mine, it was part of the Simplicity 2215 pattern but their directions were a little sparse as is often the case with commercial patterns so I have expanded on them and added photos to help.  This detail works best on a full skirt with gathers or pleats.
To make the hem bands:
Measure round the hem of the skirt that you are adding this detail to.  Divide the measurement in half and add 1 1/4 inches to the measurement.  This will be the length.  The width will be 3 3/4"
From the extra hem fabric, cut two strips across the width of the fabric- selvedge to selvedge using your measurements above. Take the two hem bands and  using a 5/8" seam join together at the short ends to make a long continuous band.  Press the seams open, you can neaten the seam edges if required. 
Press the hem 1 3/4" from the bottom.  You need a good crease here.
To add the bands to the skirt:
Open out the hem.  Take the two additional hem bands and join together at the short ends to make a long continuous band.  Press the seams open, you can neaten the seam edges if required.  Place the band onto the bottom of the hem right sides together.  If you are using the directional fabric the band fabric print will be upside down pointing to the bottom of the hem.  Stitch a 1/4" seam.  
Open out the additional hem band- see how the directional prints are both facing the same way?  Turn the skirt inside out.  Press the 1/4 seam upwards away from the hem.
Take the bottom of the hem and fold towards the skit along the original 1 3/4 crease line.  Press along the crease line again but this time you will also be pressing the seam you just sewed which will now be pointing downwards towards the hem.
Take the raw edge of the hem band and using the seam as the fold line, bring the hem downwards- in this photo it will move to the right.  The 1/4 seam is tucked in behind the fold which you can see to the bottom of the picture where I have left a bit poking out!
At this point I baste/tack through the layers along the fold line just to make sure it all holds in place.  Using a longer stitch length e.g.3, stitch as close as you can to the fold.  I stitch on the wrong side to ensure I stitch through the fold.
Remove basting/tacking stitches and press.  You can see the wrong side below.
And here is the right side.  I left a raw edge for the bottom hem to and fringed the fabric but you could also stitch a narrow 1/4 hem here to finish off.  The fraying was done with a pin picking out the cross threadsI also stitched an additional line of stitching to control how far it went
I also stitched an additional line of stitching approx 1/8" above the fringing to control how far it went.
sib blog


  1. I hadn't realised that was how the detail was created on that skirt - thanks for such a clear tutorial! The skirt looks wonderful!

  2. I was totally scratching my head as I read down this as to how I was going to get pleats, until I saw the photo at the bottom and realised it was a horizontal one, not a load of vertical ones - doh!

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [16 Nov 02:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria


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