Tuesday, May 12, 2015

DIY Pleated Mini

If you read my blog, you know I'm pretty obsessed with my camel-colored J. Crew Factory skirt (worn herehere, and here.) I waited forever for it to go on sale so I could buy it, because it's normally $75--yikes. I wanted to go out and buy it in all the colors, but that's obviously not an option, so I took a closer look at how it's made and decided to make my own. I've made two before this one, so this third time through, I think I've nailed down the process pretty well!

My favorite thing about this skirt is that it's SO easy--I know a little something about sewing, but I'm definitely no expert. The pattern is all simple cuts and straight lines--nothing anyone with basic sewing machine knowledge can't handle! It's also customizable--I shared my "pattern" at the end so if you want to customize it, you can make whatever edits you need!

DIY Pleated Mini (J. Crew Factory Dupe)
Project Time: ~ 2 Hours
Skill Level: Intermediate
-1 yard "main" fabric (I used linen, but you can use wool or any woven apparel fabric you like)
-1 yard lining fabric
-Matching thread
-1 package 1-inch ribbed elastic (you only need enough to go around your waist)
-Scissors, measuring tape, pins, tailor's chalk, the usual sewing stuff

1) Gather needed materials and make your first fabric cuts. For the length I wanted, I left both pieces at the width they came at and cut the main piece down to 26 inches and the lining piece down to 18 inches.

2) Pin the lining fabric to the main fabric. I lined them up and pinned those edges together, and then since the main piece is longer than the lining piece, I bunched the main piece up so I could pin the other edges together.

3) Sew both edges together, essentially creating a long tube of fabric, and then turn it inside-out so the seams are nice and neat on the outside.

4) Flatten the "tube" and line one seam up so that it comes down 2.5 inches from the edge of the the tube. Place a line of pins along the seam, pinning it to the other side of the tube, and then place another line of pins 1 inch from the edge of the tube. Then, sew along these lines of pins. This creates the waistline of the dress and a casing for the elastic. Don't do anything to the other seam--it will just lay on the inside of the skirt.

5) Thread the elastic through the casing you just created, and pin it in place so it doesn't slip back inside the casing.

6) You're in the home stretch! Bring the ends of the tube together, with the elastic at the top. Trim the edges to make your skirt the desired width, and then pin this new edge together. Make sure the skirt is RIGHT SIDE OUT at this point--you'll see why in the next few steps.

7)  With the skirt right-side-out, sew a zigzag seam to keep the fabric from fraying. Make sure you stitch both ends of the elastic to keep it in place!

8) Finally, turn the skirt inside-out and sew a straight seam, trapping the zigzag stitch inside the seam and just leaving a nice neat straight stitch on the inside of the skirt. Now you're done!

This is the "pattern" I drew up to make the skirt, basically measuring out where each seam needed to be placed for the skirt to look right. The fabric I bought was wide enough to go around my hips, but if you can't find wide enough fabric, you'll have to get it cut longer and then use the length of the fabric as the width of the skirt, if that makes sense.

To customize the length of the skirt, just use the formula in the above image to figure out what length you need to cut the fabric! The width is very easy to customize--just cut off however much you want in Step 6!

Finally, here's an outfit with my new skirt!

Shirt: Ralph Lauren (exactsimilarsimilar)
Skirt: Made by me!
Flats: Charlotte Russe (similarsimilarsimilar)
Belt: fortuity (similarsimilarsimilar)

This is one of my first DIY posts, so please let me know if you have any questions or points for clarification! If you decide to make your own skirt, I'd love to see the finished project and hear about your experience! 

DIY version of the J. Crew Factory pleated mini!

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