Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pleated Peplum Hack

For this tutorial I am using the Mamma Can Do It Relaxed Fit Peplum pattern.

See my other posts for this pattern too:

Let’s get pleating!

This is a really easy modification and it really changes the finished look!  You can use this method on any skirt (peplum or full length) that is designed to be gathered.


I’m using the women’s pattern, but this method will work with this girls‘ too, so grab the bundle!

Fabric Choice

Pleats without structure aren’t going to stand up as well.  For pleats that stand out, use a stable knit such as a pontescuba or liverpool.  I used a liverpool from Elevated Fashion Fabrics.

Prepare the Bodice

Follow the pattern tutorial to assemble the bodice.  I also did a full bust adjustment on mine and have a blog tutorial on that as well.

Prepare the skirt

Sew the two skirt pieces together on the side seams, right sides together as described in the tutorial.

Hem the skirt, as described in the tutorial.

Prepare the pleats

There are several ways to go about this.  You can do math and be really exact, or you can just wing it and eyeball the spacing.  

How big do you want your pleats?

I like my pleats 2" total, so they stand up about an inch when you pinch. 

You might want fewer more obvious pleats, or twice as many smaller pleats. Satisfying personal preferences are why sewing for yourself is so great!


Since I knew I was going to blog about this, I wanted to be sure my spacing and pleats were perfect!

I measured the bottom of my bodice and my skirt piece.  I graded up from an 18 waist to a 20 hip, so my bodice pattern piece was 10.5" and my skirt was 21", both to be cut on the fold.

Math-wise, I knew I could get 10 small pleats or 5 large ones.  I drew out both possibilities.

I identified my center pleat (purple line on the left side), seam allowance (blue line, right side) and quarter center pleat (middle line) first.  Then I calculated the distance between pleats based on 1" and 2" pleats and drew out both scenarios.

Fork Method

I could then transfer the marks to my fabric.  I could also use the pattern piece as a guide while I clip.

I opted to wing it.  Since I knew how many pleats I could fit, spacing was easy.  Just make sure your pleated skirt is the same width as the bodice, like you would do with gathers.  I find it helps to have a ruler handy.  

I used the fork method to help keep my pleats consistent.

I slip one tine of the fork into the center of the pleat, roll the fork to fold the fabric over and clip.  My fork happens to make perfect 2" pleats. 

Attach the skirt

With either method you chose, now you have your pleats folded and clipped into place.  I like all my pleats to go the same direction, but you could do them mirror image so they point toward the center pleat.

With the skirt right side out and the bodice wrong side out, put the bodice over the skirt, aligning the waists with fabric right sides together.  Unclip each pleat and reclip to include the bodice.

As you sew this seam, you'll be catching the folded fabric to make your pleats. Be sure that when you folded, you didn't fold at an angle. Pleats should be straight at the waist.  I find it easier when I do the pleats all folded the same direction so that I can serge with the fold and help prevent pleats from slipping out of the seam while I'm serging.


You're all done at this point, but if you take the extra time to press your pleats you won't regret it!


This top is great for wearing to the office!  I paired with a skirt here, but only because my Mamma Can Do It Fit Pants were in the laundry that day! 

Link disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking the link doesn't change the product or price you're shown, but I might get a small percentage towards materials for my next project.  If you found this post helpful and are planning to purchase the pattern anyway, I'd really love for you to use my link.

Pattern link: MCDI Relaxed Fit Peplum (Women’s/Girl’s/Bundle)

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