I’ve wanted to wear hanfu for a long time, but wearing a traditional hanfu stateside would make me stand out more than I would in China, where even Chinese people have all but stopped wearing traditional hanfu. But, after seeing the work that Leesle has done, I feel more confident that I can fulfill my desire of creating contemporary hanfu that I can wear on a daily basis—clothes that still carry some of the lines and motifs of the original, but that blend into my current wardrobe.
The first step toward fulfilling that dream was to learn how to make a pleated skirt. This one isn’t in traditional hanfu colors or patterns, but I just wanted to get a hang of things first with some unused fabric that I’ve stashed away for a while. I followed this tutorial for the basic skirt steps, then supplemented the tutorial with a video on how to create knife pleats. The video instructions were less labor-intensive than the ones I found in another tutorial, but the second tutorial has additional suggestions that may be useful for future projects.
I then followed these instructions to install a zipper.
To add a hook and eye to the waistband, I just put them in place, set my sewing machine to a narrow zigzag stitch with a length of 0, and carefully guided and adjusted the needle by hand until I had the width of the stitch correct. After that, I could use the pedal to stitch and didn’t have to worry about the needle striking metal and breaking.
The skirt didn’t turn out perfect, but it’s pretty decent for my first try at a pleated skirt and probably my third skirt overall.
The next time I make a pleated skirt, I’ll definitely hem it before creating the pleats, as hemming after the pleats are in place is really annoying. My measurements were also off this time, so I had to do a lot of trimming. Trimming longer pieces of fabric is more difficult, and I ended up with some unevenness that thankfully got hidden by the natural folds and waves that the pleats created. I’d also use interfacing on the waistband; right now, it’s a little flimsy and wrinkles and folds easily.
Onward to my next project! 🙂
2 thoughts on “DIY Pleated Skirt”
Ooh, maybe not steampunk but like wild west/south west punk? If that makes sense? Especially in the Arizona/New Mexico area with the colors/pattern?
Yes! The fabric’s name is actually “Southwest,” haha. tl;dr it’s time for a rewatch of Wild Wild West.