Flat-Front Pleated Skirt

A pleated skirt with a flat front gives you the "swing" of pleats without all of the bulk.  The flat front is flattering and just a bit different than a traditional pleated skirt.

This page shows how to draft a skirt pattern using your skirt block. Remember to finish your skirt with hems and seam allowances!

gold colored pleated skirt with flat front

This skirt has a few inches in the front that is not pleated.  This allows for a smooth look over the stomach, where pleats can add unsightly fullness.

The pleats all face away from the front section, too, which makes them appear to lay flatter than pleats that fully encircle the waist.

The stitching of the pleats also keeps them from opening near the waist, which adds to the sleek look.

Drafting the Flat-Front Pleated Skirt

Start with your skirt block (the skirt portion of your dress block).  Draw lines dividing the skirt into even sections, with lines that meets the point of the darts. 

On the front, do not draw any lines in front of the darts (from the darts to the center front line); this is the flat section. 

On the back, DO continue your vertical lines from the darts to the center back (the pleats will continue around the skirt at the back).

skirt pattern marked for pleat placement

skirt pattern cut apart and separated to create pleats

Cut the sections apart and separate them, the width of your pleats. 

Depending on the fullness of the skirt you desire, the pleats may be 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" wide (or 3" if you want a really full skirt). Spread the sections apart by the width of the pleat. The depth of the pleat is 1/2 the width; in other words, for a pleat 1" deep, you'll spread your sections 2", so that you can fold that width in half to achieve the 1" pleat.

To ensure that the pleats hang nicely, keep the distance between pleats even from top to bottom (except for the shape of the dart).

Lay your pieces onto your pattern paper and trace around them, WITH the sections separated as described above.

The distance between the sections is, as described, your pleat. 

Markings are very important on this pattern!

Mark the bottom of the darts (you will still stitch those pleats with the dart shape for good fit), and mark all of the other pleats at the same place.  This part will be stitched closed, and topstitched, to keep the pleats nice and flat over the hip.

final pattern for pleated skirt

It also helps to mark the full length of the pleats, to make sure that you fold and press them accurately.

Arrows at the top of the pleats indicate the direction in which the pleat will be folded.  In this case, all the pleats fold away from the center front.

Before you create these dress, skirt or blouse styles, you'll need a well-fitting dress block.  You can create one from a commercial pattern, or draft your dress block using your own measurements. 

Once you have your fitted block, create an almost infinite variety of styles using the in-depth tutorial "A Beginner's Guide to Designing Skirts, Blouses and Dresses".  Check it out now!

What's the Next Step?

After finishing your pattern with markings, hem, and seam allowances, just cut and sew!  You'll also need a waistband for this style (a waist facing doesn't work well with pleats).  Then pick a blouse to wear with your brand new skirt!

More Skirts and Dresses

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