I was recently asked how to create a draped front while keeping the back long. This is a great look if you want to show the long length of your legs. It is still soft and pretty and yet really dramatic. This is really simple to do, really easy and really elegant out on the dance floor.
- Skirt – style of your choice
- Thread to match skirt
- Sewing needle
- Choosing Your Materials
There are several skirt styles to choose from. If you use a High-Low Skirt, it is longer in the back than in the front. It will give you a nice drape in the front without a lot of excess material in the front and a beautiful long skirt in the back. It is a very pretty, elegant and dramatic look. If you want a shorter skirt that still has a drape in front, you could choose a circle skirt. A circle skirt would make the back part shorter. However, if you do not want as much flow and as much drape, you could use an angle skirt. Choosing the skirt you want to use will depend totally on the look you want to achieve.
- Pinning the pleats
I am using the High-Low skirt for my demonstration. It will give me the very long back that I want without too much fabric in the front. I have laid the skirt out with the back on the bottom and the front on top. I found the center front of the skirt. I want my pleats in the drape to fold down because I prefer that look. You, however, may want them to go up. First, I start at the top and pinch a little fabric on both the left side and the right side of the front at the same time. Pull it up a little and place it so that the pleat is facing down. Choose the size and placement of the pleat so that it is visually pleasing to you. Move down a little and repeat this move below the first pleat making sure the pleats are visually even. The pleats do not have to be exactly the same but they should be visually close. If you wish, you could measure the size of the pleats to keep them consistent. Keep folding the pleats until you get to the bottom of the front part of the skirt. The last pleat will be folded back inside the skirt. Pin each pleat in place on both the left and right side. Look at the pleats and make sure they are visually pleasing to you. You can adjust the pleats to make them a little bigger or smaller as you wish. When you pin these pleats in place, pin them at an angle that is parallel to the side seam and make sure you do not pin through the back of the skirt. The best way to prevent the pins from going through to the back of the skirt is to slip your hand underneath the front of the skirt while you are pinning. Once you are finished pinning the draped front, hold the skirt up, fold it in half and check to see if the pleats line up and the bottom of each column of pins end evenly and one side does not visually hang below the other.
Once the pleats are where you want them and are visually pleasing to you, turn the skirt inside out and make sure the pleats in the back line up. It is really important to remember to tack the stitches at an angle and parallel to the side seam. You also want to make sure that the distance between the seam and tacks are the same on each side. This is what will cause the draping effect.
- Sewing the pleats
You could sew the backs of the pleats with one running thread. However, I prefer to knot at the beginning and end of each tack on each pleat for two reasons. One, tying a knot before and after each tacked pleat will ensure that the pleats stay in place and the draping will not slip. Additionally, if a stitch were to break, the whole draping would not collapse. It would only affect that specific pleat. Make small stitches and make sure that any stitches that go through to the front of the skirt are especially small. Lastly, make sure that the last pleat is turned to the inside of the skirt.
Turn the skirt right side out and look at the pleats again to ensure that they are equally distant from the waist and visually pleasing on both sides. If not, it is easy to fix them at this point by just tacking the pleats a little more on one side or the other as needed. Also, if the drape is not as dramatic as you would like, just add additional stitches to pull the drape up. Just make sure that you do so evenly on both the right and left side of the skirt. If it drapes too much in the center, you can tack the pleats up a little underneath but make sure the stitches do not go through to the front.
It is just that easy.