I admit to having a healthy dose of chiffonophobia. You know, large expanses of chiffon move freely when you try to cut them, bias can be an amorphous nightmare, so needle and thread choice, correct cutting, and careful sewing are paramount to success...
I also find it irresistible.
On this project, with some trepidation, I headed into unfamiliar territory. I knew I wanted to make a sunburst pleated skirt, and I knew who would do the pleating for me, but I had NO IDEA how to plan and cut it. Because the skirt pattern is a sophisticated circle, I did not know how to get it to work for the skirt I wanted to make.
I had already scored some fabulous James-Bond-esque golden/black chiffon from Kashi at Metro Textiles, and embarked on the dream. This is a project you cannot engineer on your own; you need a permanent pleating process to make this work, and I knew just who to call.
So, I sat down with George of International Pleating. To do what I did here, you do not need an appointment. Nope. All you need is this link, and you can cut it yourself, send or physically take the fabric to International Pleating, and have it pleated.
The wonderful team at International Pleating gave such perfect instructions (with a printable pattern), that this was just as easy as pie to do. I know, because I've done it.
Oh... and the pattern is FREE. Yes, I said FREE.
|Pleated version, laying beneath the original (unpleated) chiffon.|
And the end result is why I couldn't resist the step-by-step instructions for a sunburst pleated bias skirt, provided by International Pleating.
What did I do?
Step 1: I read the instructions. Note the fabric recommendations, length of skirt, and waist sizes given. You can request help from International Pleating if you need to make something outside of the size/length range provided. The instructions I used can be found here.
Step 2: I printed and assembled the pattern. Using an ordinary printer. No special equipment or paper required. The pattern can be found here.
Step 3: I followed the cutting instructions. Pay attention here - follow the instructions exactly as they are written, for the best possible results.
|Pleated chiffon before sewing|
|I cut my waist out after getting the fabric pleated (I thought I could hang the bias more easily this way) , but if you are at all uncomfortable with properly cutting your waist after the pleating is done, doing it first gives you better accuracy.|
Step 5: I followed the rest of the written instructions to complete the skirt.
Step 6: I let the bias hang...
While letting the bias hang, I worried about a "twist" I was worried I couldn't fix at the side seam.
But then I let it hang... and hang...
And, because of my busy schedule, it hung longer than I planned, and the side seam "twist" self-resolved!
|Awaiting full bias "drooping"!|
Step 7: I hemmed the skirt.
|A bit of experimentation led me to a rolled hem done with a fine zigzag stitch. Done here on a test piece on the straight grain, it gives the hem a bit of a wiry feel, that I wanted to use on this bias hem to give the skirt some energy!|
Step 8: I fell in love with the "dancey" quality of the hem method I chose!