I have to admit that this outfit is time consuming. The hemming, pinning, starching, and ironing of the pleats took 6 hours! I had worried plans to sew every night, spend lots of my weekend time pinning and stitching, but this has not been the case. Housework and the now blooming garden have taken priority several times, leaving me tired and less inclined to sew. I spent an afternoon pulling dandelions last weekend. But it is moving along quite quickly, and the skirt is now complete, along with a full lining that the original pattern did not call for. I opted to add this lining because I intend to wear this as more than just a costume piece. I might actually wear this skirt for a day out. It is not outlandish or overly fancy for ordinary wear.
The skirt itself is pretty basic to put together, and following the instructions was super simple. From top to bottom, the pieces are: the waistband (a long rectangle) the yoke (the fitted part over the hips, basically slightly curved rectangles) the gathered skirt (straight rectangles, stitched into a loop. A long stitch along the top, pull one of the threads to gather the fabric, and stitch into the yoke.), and the pleats. It is the pleats I will cover today. They are simple, but time consuming. They were 6 out of the 9 hours I spent on the skirt.
Starting with a long strip of material, I marked out the pleats in 1″ intervals, all the way along the strip. It is much easier to mark everything with your pencil and ruler, instead of eyeballing your 1″ pleats. This ensures that they are evenly spaced all the way around.
My pencil might be really old and brittle, or just crappy, but it kept breaking. I used a different one, and it kept breaking. Frustrated, I finally grabbed a white ordinary pencil crayon, and it worked like a charm. Only after I finished everything, and had to try to remove those marks, did I realize the error I had made. Fabric marking pencils are designed to rub away easily (if you are handling your material a lot, that is a pain, and you have to keep remarking everything over and over) and pencil crayons are not… All of my marks are on the outside, not the inside, so they are highly visible! I have had several sessions of scrubbing to remove the pencil lines…. I am sure that washing would remove them quickly, but it would also remove my starch, and I would have to pin and restarch them… Not sure which will take more time… Lesson: if you are going to use regular pencil crayons, put your marks where you will not see them on the finished garment, or you will be doing a lot of scrubbing.
Next, I gathered each pleat, and pinned it into place. For this width of material, I used three pins for each pleat, one on each end, and one in the middle. This is also where I put my marks, to make sure that the entire length of the pleat would be even.