Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tutorial: drafting a kick pleat for a pencil skirt

The Charlotte from By Hand London is a lovely high waisted, slim fitting pencil skirt, with a below-knee length.  It's a great shape for work, but with all the walking and stairs I have to do around campus, it's a tad narrow around the legs.  In this tutorial, I'll show you how to draft a simple kick pleat, which would work for any skirt or dress with a back seam and I've written the instructions to coordinate with a special underlining method which will be posted tomorrow.
Start off by tracing the Back Skirt pattern piece, but don't cut it out.   I've shown just the lower right corner of the Skirt Back, above, with the grainline, center back and cutting line indicated.
Measure 2" from the original cutting line and draw a new line the desired length of the kick pleat up from the hem (mine was 8", but could have been longer).  The main consideration for the length of your kick pleat is to ensure that it is a reasonable length below your back zipper.

Using a French curve, connect the original back seam line to the end of your newly drawn line.  If you are using the Hong Kong finish/ underlining method (and I highly suggest that you do!), your pattern is done!  If not, add seam allowance to the vertical edge of the kick pleat.   Cut two Skirt Back pieces as normal from your fashion fabric, both with the new kick pleat extension.

There will be more details shortly about the Hong Kong finish/ underlining method, but cutting the underlining fabric with this new kick pleat is a little special: add the 5/8" allowance around the vertical seams but NOT the curve connecting the back seam and the kick pleat extension.  Looks like this:
To visualize how the kick pleat will be sewn, I've drawn a circled dot to indicate where the original seam line will stop at center back, and the dashed line is where you will continue the seam along the upper edge of the kick pleat with the same 5/8" seam allowance, below.  
After sewing this seam, clip the seam allowance close to the stitching line on one side.  Fold the kick pleat extensions to the other side, with the fold (on the outside) along the center back.  
Bind the raw, curved edge with bias tape or a bit of the lining fabric.  I used the lining selvage edge for the inside, then turned and edge stitched on the right side.

Tacking down the kick pleat with a diagonal line of stitches keeps it in place a bit better.  The thread was so perfectly matched you can hardly see it!
The beautiful Hong Kong finish peeks out a bit at the edges of the kick pleat.
Now, you can get around a bit easier in your adorable new skirt!  Check back soon for details of underlining and finishing your garment seams in one step!


  1. Lessles2:59 PM

    Fantastic tutorial, you've solved a lot of problems for me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I will most definitely be checking back for the underlining tutorial.
    Mwah from Oz,

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  3. Anonymous4:30 PM

    great wool classy skirt love the kickpleat
    I always make sure I have a strong top dart on pleat for easy carefree walking

  4. Anonymous3:23 PM

    great skirt
    nice material well made and great darts
    the kickpelat is simple yet elegant and nicely finished
    does wasteband have tab and button close???