When I first spied Simple Sew’s Keira Skirt pattern I knew I would end up with one of two things. This pattern could either make a lovely flouncy summery skirt, perhaps out of some layered chiffons or floaty crepe, or take on a more structural form using a fabric with more body. The pattern’s main feature is its multiple pleats in front and back which create this gorgeous shape!
I left it to the luck of the fabric draw as to whether my skirt would be floaty or solid. I went for a browse round Abakhan Manchester and almost left empty handed (!), until I fell upon this black and gold cotton on the top floor. So, it may have said “CHRISTMAS GLITZ” along the selvedge, but the gold was making me think Egypt not elves!! I bought a meter of this and a meter of lining fabric then set to work on constructing some pleats.
As a converted good girl (!!) I’m now a big fan of toiling up before getting stuck into my fancy fabric. The first pleat is an inverted box pleat at the centre front and centre back of the skirt. If you make sure you’ve cut your notches at the top of the skirt accurately then this is really easy. Just bring your two most central notches together to the center front and make sure your pleated fabric is at the back of the fold. Put some holding stitches across the top to hold it in place and mwah! An inverted box pleat!
There are a further two pleats either side of the front and back box pleat, making 10 pleats in total. This is where I found the pattern confusing!! I had a quick look at Pippa from Fabric Wrangler‘s version and Coolerama’s tutorial when I realised the pattern they’d followed looked different to the picture of the Keira skirt on the Simple Sew website! The pleats in the instructions point out towards the hips, with the folded fabric inside and towards the centre front. The Keira skirt on the Simple Sew site clearly shows the pleats pointing towards the centre front and away from the hips. Go check it if you don’t believe me! Well I tried both on my toile and definitely preferred the pleats pointing towards the centre front (the opposite to the instructions). It just seemed much more flattering for my little tum! I did the same on the back, and then just slightly altered how far down the centre box pleats came to. To give myself a bit more bum room, I stopped the back pleat 8cm from the top, and the front 12cm down. I found it made the other pleats hang much more comfortably and also stopped the skirt looking quite so much like shorts.
As usual, I made the skirt shorter, taking off about an inch and a half from the bottom (don’t forget to do the lining too). Oh yeah, while we’re on the lining- I didn’t make one for my toile, but when I came to make one for my proper skirt it was too small?!?! Has anyone else found this?? Luckily there was room enough to open out the pleats in the lining and make them smaller and therefore the lining wider. Maybe I just cut the notches wrong (??!) but I’m usually pretty careful. No harm done and didn’t need to recut anything, just a bit perplexing where I went wrong. Could it be because I folded my pleats the other way? Seems unlikely but can’t see how else it happened!
The way I folded my pleats was also a bit of a pain at side seam/zipper area. I had to be careful not to catch the flappy bit of pleat in the seams otherwise they would hang funny. I spent quite a lot of time faffing about with this!! Despite all the pleats being so uniform it did take some messing around to get them all sat flat and equal on my body.
I took a little bit out of the top back where the skirt joins the waistband in a subtle curve, my new favourite alteration! This stops fabric from pooling in the small of my back.
I learnt a few tricks when it comes to lining a skirt (shows how often I bother to line things..!). The lining was sewn right sides together to the other length of the waistband, then flipped to the inside. Usually I would hand stitch to the zipper, but I discovered it was possible to sew it down from the inside to the other side of the zip tape then pull it out to the right side. This is a really nifty way of getting the top of the zip and the waistband to sit really neatly.
As a rule I am much more of a straight skirt kinda girl than a flare, so this skirt was always going to feel a bit abnormal to me. I love all the different shapes and folds and the gold in my fabric. There’s something a bit futuristic about it (Hmm yeah, and to think I was going for Egyptian). Sadly my fabric is super prone to creasing so I’m super paranoid to even sit down in it!! I gave those pleats a good old press and even treated them to a spray starching to get those lines really solid.
If I made another I think I would go down the floaty route to make more of a day skirt. I would also ensure I put more hefty interfacing into the waistband as this is lacking a little! The waistband is cut as all one piece which is folded over. I think it looks more professional to do a front and a back and then attach them along the top.
I hope you like my Keira Skirt! Backward pleats and the lot 😉
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Angela blogs at http://looks-like-i-made-it.blogspot.co.uk/