DIY Pleated Skirt Tutorial (like the American Apparel Tennis Skirt)


[Intro music] Hi! Today I’m going to show you how to make a knife pleated skirt with a hidden zipper.
So let’s begin! So, the first thing you need to do is to take
your waist measurement just below the smallest part of your waist, or where ever you want
your skirt to sit. My waist measurement is 30 inches. Multiply
this measurement by three add two inches to either side for the zipper and the seam allowance
and this will be the width of your fabric. The length will be however long you want your
skirt to be. Mine is 17 inches. Cut a piece of fabric out to this size.
Start making your measurements from 1 inch in. This will allow you to insert a hidden
zipper later on. Make a mark along the fabric every 3 inches until you reach the end of
your fabric. Your marks will go in a repeating pattern. One, two, three, one, two, three.
Put a pin in every “one” mark. To make a pleat, pinch the fabric at “one”,
fold it over to “three”, and remove the pin from “one” and pin it in place.
Here’s how it looks from the opposite angle, which might make this clearer. Pinch the fabric
at “one”, fold it over to “three”, remove the pin from “one”, pin it in place. Continue doing
this all the way along your skirt. Once it’s all pinned up like this, sew using
a straight stitch in the opposite direction from where you pleated it. This will make
sure that you won’t bunch up the pleats on the other side of the fabric.
Then (and this is optional) you can sew down each pleat, one or two inches.
On the bottom of the skirt (the edge without the pleats) make a hem by folding this raw
edge up twice, and using a straight stitch, stitch over the top. This is called a rolled
hem. Now, I should have ironed my skirt before
sewing it, but it doesn’t really matter. You can iron your pleats flat here too. Basically
though when in doubt, IRON EVERYTHING! 😀 One last little thing is remember that 1 inch
you left free for the hidden zipper? Pin this bit down out of the way so it won’t get
caught up when you sew on your waist band and we’ll come back to this bit later.
Cut out another rectangle of fabric whose dimensions are the same as the width of your
pleated skirt. So mine is 32 inches, and whose height is about double the thickness that
you want your waist band to be. Fold this in half length-ways, right sides together.
Then you ‘re going to do a straight stitch right down the length like this, and then
turn the tube inside out when you are done, and it’s a good idea to iron this flat.
Then place the waist band on top of the skirt right sides together. Pin it on so it’s
lined to the top raw edge of the pleats. Attach it to the skirt using a straight stitch, and
go slowly while you’re sewing here. And that’s your waistband done!
Fold your skirt over rights sides together so that the end with the raw edge hidden under
the pleat (that bit that you pinned out of the way earlier) meets up with the raw edge
at the other end of the skirt. Pin these two together all the way down that
length. Match up the zipper next to the skirt, and make a mark where the zipper ends. So
you would do a proper back-tack straight stitch down this part of the skirt to attach these
two ends of the skirt together, but above the mark you would just do a very long basting
stitch, which is a loose temporary stitch to hold the fabrics together.
Press this seam open and place your zipper face down on top of the seam. Line the zipper
teeth up with the seam, and pin it on one side only. Then sew down the side that doesn’t
have the pins on it. When you get to the bottom, remove the pins, and sew back up the other
side. So once you’ve sewn the zipper on, the right side of your fabric skirt will look
like this. Bust the zipper out of there by ripping apart the basting stitch that you
made before, and there’s your hidden zipper! So you could add buttons in this step, but
I’m going to use press studs because they’re really easy to add to a garment.
[Annotation: I also finished off the raw edges of the waistband by folding them underneath,
and sewing across] I’m going to figure out where I want my
press studs to go on the waistband so it will close up the hidden zipper, and then I just
attach them using a needle and a thread. And so now my skirt closes up, awesome! And
this is the finished result. So that’s all there is to it, and if this
video helped you out then please give me a thumbs up, subscribe to my channel, and I’ll
see you guys in my next video. [outro music]

100 comments

  1. this is the best pleated skirt tutorial I've seen! Thank you south for getting straight to the point, being super clear about everything and filming in fun and easy way to follow. Loved it!

  2. I'm British, and the only time I've heard "American Apparel" is in She Looks So Perfect… and now I'm singing.

  3. WOW! this was very helpful. I make BJD doll clothes. I am making a sailor school girl outfit. Keep making the amazing tutorials.

  4. So wait…. are there other types of pleats then? Cause this is the only type I knew of and always just called them pleats.

  5. annika or any other knowledgeable person please help! wouldn't it be a lot easier to hem the bottom line before doing the pleats? doesn't it get super convoluted because of the pleats?? is there a reason for doing it after?

  6. Hi I really want to give this a go for a school sewing assignment. I am not sure how to sew the hidden flap part of the zipper part. How do I create the flap?

  7. When straight-stitching the pleats down, do I sew the extra 1 inch down too? If not, how would I go about not sewing it down?

  8. What other kind of fabric would work if you don't have a spare bed sheet I one the way you upcycled but I don't believe my parents would like it much

  9. Anyone here know how it would change the width if i wanted the pleats closer together- for example 2 inches apart rather than 3? would that even work? Any advice would be appreciated for a beginner!

  10. THIS HELPED ME SOOOO MUCH WITH MY COSTUME FOR A SCHOOL EVENTTT!!!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR UPLOADING ITTT (EVEN IF IT WAS FROM 2014). THANK YOU SOOOO SOOO SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!! <3 LUVS!!

  11. I have watched this over and over and my brain doesn't understand the hidden zipper. I even followed the tutorial, but when it came to the zipper, nothing made sense (not your fault, mine), so i made a visible zipper, but now the skirt is big on me after previously fitting and it looks like i missed a pleat on it lmao. Guess I'm not ready for hidden zippers yet.

  12. what fabric type is the bed sheet? I was planning to do a plaid skirt but idk what fabrics would look good and flow right. i want it to fit my shape but also still be slightly flared

  13. love the channel! coul you make outer wear or home décor? it could be a good way to use up your scraps

  14. I just did this and it looks so nice, sadly I didn't have enough material to fit me but with minor adjustments (zippers) I think it will fit someone else nicely

  15. I've been wanting a perfect pleated skirt forever, and now I can make my own! I swear binge-watching this channel is as good as any sewing class.

  16. I want to try and make this but for the skirt there a bigger panel on the sides and with buttons trying to figure out how to encorparate it.

  17. heres a link https://www.google.com/search?q=serena+pokemon&safe=active&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiv1PnMl4DVAhUQwGMKHXVgDesQ_AUIBigB&biw=1920&bih=822#safe=active&tbm=isch&q=+pokemon+xy+defauly+girl&imgrc=NbJizraqK1zLiM:

  18. can you make a skirt with "cheerleader" pleats? the kind that are a different color inside the pleat? thanx and much l💙ve!

  19. Instead of a zipper can I do the elastic method? My father bought my sewing machine and it's a beginners. Therefore I can't sew with a zipperfoot

  20. My butts too big for a skirt like this even though they're so cute! It's like long in the front and mini skirt in the back 😂😭

  21. If I'm going to work with centimeters instead of inches, would I still multiply my waist size by 3 and then add 2?

    For example, you said your waist is 30 inches. and you multiplied it by 3 to get 90 inches (then + 2).
    My waist is 76 CENTIMETERS. Would I still multiply by 3 (and get 228 cm) then add 2? OR would I multiply by 3 inches which is 7.5 cm, then add 2 inches which is 5 cm.
    To sum it up, should my measurements look like this:: 76 cm × 3 + 2 = 230 cm
    Or like this:: 76 cm × 7.5 cm + 5 cm = 575 cm

  22. hey i love your tutorial!! this maybe  STUPID A  QUESTION: my waist measurement is 45" so  45×3=135"  does 3yards of fabric be enough? thats all i have… AND  how do i decide the length of the skirt? without making it to short..

  23. My school is putting on a play about girls at a private school, and I'd really like to show this to my teacher to make getting identical skirts for the eight girls easier and possibly cheaper.

  24. When you get a chance Annika, would you make this skirt pattern longer? I LOVE maxi skirts and want to ensure the pattern will work for floor length… Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  25. I just started binge-watching your videos and I'm obsessed. Not only are your tutorials awesome and easy to follow, but you have a great personality and I really enjoy learning from you!! Now I'm really excited to try sewing clothes! ^_^

  26. Ive nearly finished making this skirt and so far its turning out beautifully! Thank you for this tutorial you really got me hooked on sewing 🙂

  27. You make this all look SO easy! This is an adorable skirt. I've heard veteran sewers complain about pleats. This makes it stupid proof!

  28. Thank you for this tutorial! It was very easy to follow. The only problem I had was that I accidentally ripped the seam for the zipper instead of the basting stitch

  29. Ok, I've watched this video a thousand times but I don't understand when you pinched the fabric over for that one inch allowance part that you said you sewed down but then you lifted that 1 inch seam allowance up, I just want someone to tell me how to get that 1 inch seam allowance not sewed down but the rest is, if that makes any sense? PLEASE HELP!!!!

  30. What should I do if I don't want to hide the zipper? Should I ignore the extra 2 inches you suggest adding to (the waist measurement x 3)?

  31. Thank you for NOT making a click bait video, but an actual tutorial! I appreciate English measurements – metric conversion is a hassle even w/a computer …
    I also up voted after watching your video several times in figuring out how to reduce the bulk of the pleats at the waist when using heavy woven fabrics as well as not using an exposed waistband. Unfortunately, I'm having difficulty explaining how to do it, however, being that it is alot of additional work, yours is great for lightweight fabric such as the sheet used …

  32. Bless you for this omg. I’ve been looking for a good pleated skirt forever but they’re all too short on me/not my size. Now I can just sew one with your tutorial😭❤️ you’re amazing!

  33. Thank you!!! Your tutorial made making knife pleats seem so much less intimidating. I am making doll clothes and was looking for a much easier explanation.

  34. Do you multiply your waist measurement by the number of inches you want between each mark? I'd love to make this, but I want my pleats to be smaller

  35. Does anyone know how to sew a flat waistband like this when you have super sloping hips? My waist is a lot smaller than my hips are, so with this method I end up with a tight fit on the bottom of the waistband, but a lot of excess fabric at the top. I just can't figure out how to sew it so that it will sit flat. Basically I need a waistband thats a lot wider at the bottom than it is at the top, but I don't know how to do it. Please help if you can! Thank you

  36. I love your channel so much. I've always wanted to make my own clothes but I was always scared that it was too hard because everytime i watched tutorials they were always too complicated. They way you explain things is easy to understand when you're dumb like me hahaha. Thank you!

  37. How wide did you make each pleat?
    Sorry, I am having trouble figuring out the formula you used and how to modify it to my costume skirt, which has two inch wide pleats all around.

  38. I know this comment is really late but thank you very much for this tutorial! It was so helpful and the voice over made it easier to understand. I can't wait to start sewing!

  39. I've watched your videos for a while and I have been really inspired to try and sew something myself I ended up making this and it was super easy because you gave such clear instructions. Thanks for the inspiration and awesome videos!

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