About a year ago, I saw a red chevron box pleated skirt that I liked online that was being sold for $125. I thought it was nice, but probably not that nice. While I was pregnant with Nathan, I was shopping with my mom at the fabric store and I saw some red chevron fabric that was in the super clearance pile. Three yards and seven dollars later I decided I would commit to sewing that nice box pleated skirt for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost once I had past the maternity wardrobe phase.
I realized after discarding a huge portion of my wardrobe during Andrew’s spring break that I was in desperate need for some more spring/summer skirts (because I had only ONE left in my closet). I remembered my seven dollar fabric and decided it was time to begin the box pleated skirt project.
Holy cow I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I followed this as a general tutorial but I changed all the measurements (with my mom’s help!) and dimensions to fit what I liked. I have learned so much in the last two weeks since starting this project and was wishing a good portion of the time that my mom could have been there for more than cutting out the pieces:
- Pattern matching is an important part of cutting out fabric. Plaids and chevrons with different widths are the hardest because you have to match horizontally and vertically, unlike stripes which only have to be matched horizontally, or any other design that doesn’t have to be matched at all. I obviously picked the hardest option in my ignorance. Thank goodness for mothers who demonstrated this part of the process and talked me through every thought.
- I learned how to fold pleats! And how to finger press.
- I learned how to switch the tension and stitch length on my machine for sewing a basting stitch versus just a regular sewing stitch.
- I learned how to sew pockets into a side seam. And lots and lots of ways to not sew a pocket into a side seam. And how to un pick a not successful pocket many times.
- I learned how to take apart my sewing machine (by reading the manual!!!), clean out the feed dogs, raise and lower the feed dogs, and dismantle the bobbin section. I also learned that the feed dogs don’t feed the fabric through the machine no matter how clean and raised they are if the stitch length and width are set to zero (by a toddler who wandered in while I was changing a diaper).
- I learned how to take off the pressure foot and put a new one on.
- I learned how to use the zipper pressure foot and sew in a zipper.
- I learned how to finish the edge of my fabric with a zig-zag stitch and iron the seams open for a good finish (and appreciate why people use sergers).
- I learned how to sew a blind hem on my sewing machine. I even practiced a bunch until I felt confident with the technique and then slowly, slowly, slowly measured and ironed my skirt and got it all set up for the blind hem and meticulously sewed around it.
- I learned how to sew on a waistband. When you are tired, the chances of sewing the waistband closed increases to 100% even when you check three times. Unpicking gets easier the more you do it.
- I learned how to top stitch along the waistband.
- I learned how to sew darts into a waistband to make the waistband fit really well instead of sticking out awkwardly away from your body.
- I learned that sewing can be addicting and consume all thoughts and leave the dishes undone for a few days so that every second alone can be spent sewing.
To learn still:
- How to make skirts that look good when you are sitting.
- What fabrics are sturdy but also don’t wrinkle.
- How to sew a zipper in better using my zipper presser foot that doesn’t let me switch what side the needle is on.
I am so excited with how this skirt turned out and feel so empowered to keep sewing more clothes! I’m thinking I’m going to try a shirt next.
Emily carefully made piles of dirt on the cement while Andrew snapped a few photos. We made jokes about the Instagram Husband video the entire time – fashion blogger/family we are not.
He stood up on our compost bucket for a minute and Emily hopped in to the other one and started taking pictures on her rock camera.
I quickly called for Andrew to hand me the camera.