Liz Haywood shares how to add a Dior pleat to your next garment
What is a Dior Pleat?
A Dior pleat looks like an inverted pleat. It’s mainly used on pencil skirts instead of a back split or vent and looks very stylish. It’s easy to add one to a skirt pattern you already have or to convert a regular back vent to a Dior pleat.
Make a Pattern
If your skirt already has a vent extension on it, you can leave it as-is and simply make an extra pattern piece to turn it into a Dior pleat (Step 2).
- On the skirt’s back, draw in a vent extension. Measure down at least 38cm (15in) from the waist, and extend out 5-7cm (2-2¾in) from the centre back stitching line. The top of the vent’s extension can be angled or 90 degrees square.
- Trace off the skirt’s vent extension, and cut it on the fold to make the pleat back. The top of the pattern piece needs to have the same angle as the vent – either angled or square. Cut one in fabric.
Sew a Dior Pleat
W/S = wrong side, R/S = right side
- Before sewing, overlock or zigzag around the entire edge of the pleat back and the edges of the skirt (not shown in the following diagrams, for clarity).
- Hem the skirt and pleat backing, or at least press the hems up in position to hand sew later.
- Sew the skirt’s centre back seam down to the top of the pleat.
- Press the seam open and press the vent extensions back accurately. Make sure the extensions are pressed back the same width the whole way along.
- On the wrong side, lay the pleat backing over the vent extensions and stitch them together along the back and sides. Match the hem edges carefully – try starting the seam at the lower edges to make sure they’re perfectly matched. Note that you won’t be able to sew this in one operation – each side will have to be sewn separately.
- Flip the skirt over so the right side is facing up. Topstitch the pleat in place by sewing across the top through all layers. You should be able to feel the edge of the layers with your fingertips to guide your sewing, but you could rule a chalk line to follow if you need help. Depending on the shape of the vent extensions, your topstitching will be straight horizontal (for a square top) or an upside-down shallow V (for an angled top). You could also invisibly hand sew the top of the pleat if you don’t want any topstitching showing.
The outer and reverse sides of the Dior pleat will look something like this:
Does your skirt have a lining?
The beauty of a Dior pleat is that the lining will never show, as it might with a regular vent or split. On the skirt’s lining, just leave a split in the seam to allow for walking!
Author: Liz Haywood