Simplicity 2172 Part Two: The Skirt

I love, and hate this skirt. Let’s focus on the love by ogling this lovely skirt in its finished form:

Holy shit! So full and rustly and twirl-worthy! First thing I thought
of when I put it on? The red silk petticoat that Rhett gave Mammy
in Gone With The Wind.

I love how it turned out. I love how it feels when I wear it and how it swishes around. I love that I will be able to wear leggings under it when I wear this costume outside.

This fabric was difficult to photograph – it’s a bit darker in real life
than it appears here.

And really, there is more to love than to hate. Attaching the gathered skirt to the yoke was a breeze; sewing the waistband onto the yoke was easy peasy. Even the zipper was non-offensive.


However, the pleats at the bottom are a different story. OMG, Lord have mercy on me.


To start off, let me tell you that I am incredibly glad that I own a rolled hem foot. If you are going to make this costume, you are going to want to purchase one of these. The pleated section is NINE yards long, (27 feet! 8.23 meters!) and it needs to be hemmed before you really begin the punishment fun.

I tried making a pleater board to help streamline the pleat pressing process. Unfortunately, getting the fabric properly INTO the board without pulling pleats out of previous areas and pressing the fabric in a fashion that retains the pleats when you remove it from the board is outside of my scope of knowledge.


Awesome time saver in theory, but it didn’t work for me.  If someone
could tell me the trick to making this tool operational, I would be very
glad to know it!

After that failed, I traveled on to the journey of pressing over 200 pleats by hand over the course of 3 hours (Mr. 5 says he thinks it took longer; he could easily be right). Technically, I should’ve ended up with 216 pleats, but I am just not that patient or exact – I think I had about 208 when I was done.

While it was mind numbingly, painfully boring, the effect is pretty spectacular.



Additional, important note: as mentioned by many folks on Pattern Review, the length of this skirt is appropriate only if you are freakishly tall, or perhaps “all legs.” I’m 5’4″ and I cut 3″ off of the main portion of the skirt, as well as 1/2″ to an inch off of the pleated section and this thing is floor length on me. If you’re around my height and want an ankle length skirt, I’d cut 4 to 5 inches off in total. No jokin’.

2/3 done with my costume! Now on to the hard part: the jacket. I’ve really only a few of days to slap this thing together, so wish me luck (just got it cut out on 10/23!)

*Update* See the completed outfit here.



12 thoughts on “Simplicity 2172 Part Two: The Skirt”

  1. Whoa, that’s a lot of pleating. It looks amazing, but I totally feel your pain! Repetitive tasks are my least favorite part of sewing. Kudos to you for sticking it out – I probably would have said “screw it” and gathered instead!

  2. Ah yes, the effect is definitely spectacular. My October was crazy, and I missed these in-progress posts, but I had to come check out the details of this skirt. Nine yards. *cringe* If this were my skirt, I think I’d have to wear it to do everyday things like water plants and pay bills. It just looks like so much fun to wear.

    1. I would imagine your October was pretty crazy, based on your blog! Still looking forward to seeing that completed wedding gown of yours. :)

      Yes, I think I will have to swoosh around the house in this bad boy to make it more *worth it* :P

  3. I sewed this skirt in the week between learning that my dad had cancer and going home to be with him during the operation and the week long hospital stay. It saved my sanity. I was too frazzled to be able to take on complex thoughts like heating a soup in the microwave or watching tv, but eight and something metres of narrow hem were oddly soothing. In the end, my dad is now recovered and I have a great skirt, so it was a win win.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I’m in the process of making this outfit too and I was wondering what material you used for the skirt? I bought some black taffeta and I’m not sure how to go about pleating it. How did you keep from getting marks on your pleats from ironing over other pleat creases? I’m finding out that taffeta is crazy to work with. :-)

    1. It’s polyester taffeta! I found a ton of yardage in the clearance area at Joann’s for super cheap and knew its destiny was to become this costume.

      The pleating on this is a bear; it was just a measure and press situation on my part. If you want to be really accurate you could draw a line for each pleat on the back of your fabric as a guide.

      If I remember correctly, the pleats meet up with each other and don’t really overlap (or barely overlap) so I didn’t really have a problem with the under part of the pleat showing on top. I would say if this is happening to you, maybe try turning your iron down a bit and see if it helps?

      1. Awesome! Thanks for the advice. Here’s to hoping I don’t go insane by the end of this project! Haha!!

      2. I have one more question, sorry! Did you pin down the pleats before you pressed them? Did you have any problems with the pin holes showing after pressing?

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