Secretary Skirt Tutorial: pintucks

8:43 AM

I’m sharing this skirt over at Crafterhours for Skirt Week! Last year I entered a shirred pocket skirt and won a prize!  I was pretty excited.
Enter Your Skirts to Win!
You can enter skirts you’ve sewn to the different flickr groups here:

This skirt has a simple silhouette, just an a-line, knee length waist-banded skirt with a side zip.
I also used a simple neutral fabric, gray summer suiting.
The interesting element I wanted to emphasize is the texture created with the pintucks.
I thought it would be a way to take a simple staple skirt but add something to avoid being boring.
So first to cut out your skirt.
You can use a skirt that fits you well, just add the seam allowances and 2 extra inches at the hem to allow for the pintucks, and taper up to the fitted hip/ waist.

If you are creating a pattern from measurements, measure your waist/ upper hip where you want your skirt to sit, skirt length, and how large you want the final hem width. 
For my skirt I folded my fabric twice to cut two identical trapezoids for a front and back.
(my measurements in photo in gray for reference)

1. Waist Measurement: because you’re cutting your front/ back on a fold, your measurement will be 1/4 or divided by 4, then remember to add a 5/8” seam allowance.
2. Skirt Length: from your first line, measure along your fold the skirt length + 1.5” hem
3. Hem Width: Take 1/4 your final skirt circumference to measure out from the fold and add 2” for the fabric that will be gathered by pin tucks. 

4. Connect Measurements: to get a side seam, connect the skirt waist and hem measurements in a straight angle and cut out skirt halves
Side Seam and Zipper
I chose to connect the front and back halves along the left side seam first, including a 7” zipper.
I insert the zipper with the tape at the raw edge of the skirt to leave a seam allowance for the waistband above the zipper teeth.
Map Out Pintucks
To keep the skirt fitted through the hips, I used chalk to draw a top line 6” from the top waist edge. 
The pintucks will merge at this line.
Next, chalk a line perpendicular to the hip line in the center of the skirt, remembering one side still has a seam allowance to take into account when you find the center.
Measure along your chalked hip line and divide by 8.  Mark that measurement across hip line, working from center out. 
These marks will be the top of the pintucks.
Do the same along the hem, dividing it by 8 and measure out.
Connect measurements with straight lines, you’ll notice they’ll slightly flare out as you work away from the center.
Repeat on the back of skirt.
Sew Pintucks A pintuck is basically just topstitching near the fold of a garment.  In this case, you’ll taper the pintuck at the hip as you would sew a dart.
Start on one end and fold skirt on mapped out chalk line.  Begin sewing at skirt hem, topstitching pintuck with 1/8” from fold.
About 5-6” before you get to the chalk hip line where the pintucks end, begin slowly tapering your sewing toward the edge of the fold.
Try to gauge your taper to sew off the fabric right at the hip line.
To finish the seam, the best way would be to pull threads to wrong side of skirt and tie in a knot to secure pintuck tops.  I’m lazy and carefully back stitch right where the seam leaves the fabric.
Press Finished Pintucks
Keep working around skirt sewing pintucks.
I chose to pintuck the side seams as well, as they were evenly spaced.
Some of the pintucks will look wavy or wonky on the angles as they are sewn slightly on the bias. 
Once you press them, both the tops at the hips and the wavy seams should look crisp and smooth.

Finish Skirt: Waistband & Hem To hem skirt, I serge the raw edge and iron it under 1.5”. 
You can use a blind stitch on your machine, but I prefer to hand-sew a blind hem around to try to conceal the stitches.

As for the waist, I first cut down the front 1” from the center, then taper up to the hips.
This makes it more shaped to cut down in the front but stay high in the back to go over your butt.
To attach the waistband, I use a simple method with creating tabs to overlap over the zipper, follow the steps in this tutorial for the “back waistband”. I just cut the strips 4” wide to make a finished 1.5” tall waistband. 
I also included medium weight interfacing in the skirt waistband.
Hope this little tutorial helps and the pintuck technique could be used in tons of ways!
I used it with a larger 1/4” pintucks on the back bodice and skirt of this peacock dress to add a lot of texture. 


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  1. You are so Awesome!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorials!

  2. This is great! :) Definitely something I would love to try in the future :D

  3. This has been by far my fave tutorial for skirt week! You really rocked it! Love the pintucks and also the simplicity of the look :) Great job!

  4. Another great project and tutorial. What a good looking skirt.

  5. Perfect amount of drama to a skirt, but not so much that you couldn't wear something fun on top. I love this! Can't wait to make my own.

  6. That is gorgeous! Thank you for taking the time to figure out the details so we don't have to! :o) I love things that are handmade, but don't look it.

  7. came across this from crafterhours. LOVE it.

    [i have been using pintucks for a few months now to alter clothing to fit better-i've lost some weight but no $$ to get a new wardrobe. lol. I had a skirt that was totally flared with lots of panels, so i did a pintuck on each seam and one between with contrasting threads--it was a huge floral print. the end was very cute!
    and i often do it at the neck and down halfway on a shirt in the back. i have very narrow shoulders. this helps keep my shirt from shifting and showing straps.]

  8. Lovely as usual! What a fun yet sophisticated element to add.

  9. so stylish. featured it here

  10. Seriously Jessica, does your talents ever cease? This is AMAYZING!!! I featured it today on SewSet as one of the top patterns. Thank you again so much for sharing!

    - Jess,

  11. Absolutely amazing! Had to feature this in my round-up of "tuck" sewing projects. Hope to make my own secretary skirt someday....



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