A double inverted pleat for absolute beginners

Jumping in the deep end?…I’m all for it! The double inverted pleat demonstrated here is the same as the red skirt from previous blog. Here’s how….

1. Lay pattern front piece on folded over fabric (Burda December 09). Pin and mark in tailor tacks. N.B. As well as following the straight of grain arrow on pattern piece, be especially carefully the tweed weave runs in a straight line parallel to skirt edges. In student example (crooked fabric picture) here, she has folded fabric in a slight diagonal and so the weave is not straight with the edges.

2. Cut off tailor tacks in the middle at the surface then carefully open up fabric and cut tailor tacks in the middle (see photo)

3. Remove pattern piece carefully so the tacks stay in place.

4. Open up fabric and cut tacks so that a piece remains at each side.

5. Fold the piece back in half and pin horizontally where sewing will take place. Make sure tailor tacks line up on each side.

6. It’s okay to sew over pins if they are placed horizontally to the sewing line. The needle should hop off the pins. Occasionally it doesn’t work, especially on delicate fabrics…experimentation is always advised!

7. Sew along tailor tacks (or chalk if using) where the first pleat is marked. This is the inside pleat. Finish with a short backstitch and cut thread. By the way, I presume you’ve tested your stitch length…general rule of thumb is that the thicker the fabric, the longer the stitch. Here it is stitch length 3. Use scraps of fabric to test the stitch length after you’ve cut out the skirt. Keep all the bits of fabric leftover until you are wearing the skirt…you never know what will happen and sometimes the smallest piece can rescue a huge mistake.

8. In the illustration, Amy has sewn a crooked line and I’m telling you, it is worth ripping this out as many times as it takes until you get it right. It will never sit straight if you choose to move on.

9. Press sewing line and turn right way over. Centre the back of the pleat and make sure folded in top area corresponds in size and area to the unstitched pleat at the bottom of the skirt. Press in place using steam.
10. Refold skirt together again as fabric was cut and stitch shorter outside pleat, which will be the second inverted pleat. Fortunately, we got so engrossed at this point that I forgot to take a photograph of this stage and it was too late as the second pleat was already sewn.

While you are working with the rest of the skirt, tack down where you have pressed the pleats so they remain in place until you wear the skirt.

Right Side/Wrong Side

What do you mean by ‘right side’? Which is the ‘wrong side’? This is fundamental to understand when you are cutting out fabrics. The right side is the side of the fabric you will see when wearing the garment. The wrong side will be the inside. When you have to cut something out twice, you don’t have to cut the pattern piece out twice separately. You simply fold the fabric over, place the pattern piece on, pin and cut. You will get a mirror image, i.e. the left and right, opposite facing sides of the piece you want. This might seem fundamental to most of you but believe me, it is a very confusing area for the beginner.

This is a liberty fabric I bought in Murphy Sheehy’s. Its 150 cm wide. It shows the ‘wrong’ side on the left and the ‘right’ side on the right hand side of the picture.

What’s this all about?

I suppose this needs some explanation. I’m a musician but my roots (actually, I don’t know which one came first) are in something more tangible- threads! I teach home economics and write songs in my spare time.  I reason to myself that if one is working with an abstract medium a lot, then one needs to balance that out with something they can physically touch and feel.  It’s probably why home ec and music go well with each other (sometimes).  So, here’s the blurb;

I originally set up U Seam Nice to help people make their own clothes and to evaluate the quality of the clothes we buy.  I love tailored cuts, working with my hands and expensive, luxurious fabrics. I dislike and will not waste my money on shoddy clothes produced in 3rd world sweat shops.  I love to upcycle worn and loved items.  I expect this outlook will evolve as I learn more and share what I learn here. 

By the way, if you want to start sewing, I recommend you make a cushion cover. No illustration required I hope? Next, you should make a skirt. If you are an absolute beginner, I recommend you have only one or two processes, i.e., a pocket, a waistband, a zip, a pleat or simple darts. Try and avoid lining to begin with. However, my star pupil, Georgina Cunningham, didn’t have a clue what to do three months ago when we started. She plunged into a mauve pink wool tweed skirt, exactly like the one shown here. More about that when she’s finished her hem and I’ll post it up for you to look at.

U Seam Nice mission statement & philosophy

Why am I doing this?

I also want to share my sewing projects with you.

Where does U SEAM NICE want to go?

A resource for sewing enthusiasts

What kind of comments do we want?

We want to know what you are making. We want to see it.

What’s the philosophy of U Seam Nice?

U Seam Nice is a technical, self-confessed fashion fanatic online resource set up to help people make their own clothes. U Seam Nice love tailored cuts, working with our hands and expensive, luxurious fabrics. We promote quality, resourcefulness and recycling. We customize. We embellish. We’re sewing for dummies. We look sharp. We work in 3D.