Free Tutorial: Fast, Simple, Adorable Peek-A-Boo Pleat Skirt

Okay, if you tackled the easy pieced peasant skirt, this peek-a-boo pleat skirt’s just one step up! You’re gonna rock it.

Determine what length you want the finished skirt to be. I like mine a little longer–about 12″ finished. You will need three sizes of fabric strips:

1. Cut six narrow strips of the main color. Make sure that your narrow strips width total the diameter of the girl’s waist for whom your making this PLUS 1/2″ per strip for seam allowance PLUS an extra inch or two for the elastic waist. Mine narrow strips are about 3.75″ wide each to go around my daughter’s 18″ waist (subtract ½” from each strip width for seam allowance, then 3.25” x 6 = 19.5”). Make sense?? I hope so! My strips are about 13″ long (so I will end up with a finished skirt that is about 12″ long).

2. Cut six wider strips of the peek-a-boo color (this color will peek out when the pleats open). These strips will be twice as wide as the narrow strips minus 1/2″ (so mine are  (3.75″ x 2) – 1/2″ = 7″ wide). They will be the same length (13″ in my case).

3. Cut one long strip for the waistband about three inches long and wide enough for your finished skirt plus seam allowance (so the 19.5″ I figured out from the narrow strips plus 1/2″ seam allowance.

Next sew alternating color strips right-sides together until you have one long striped piece.

Then sew the two ends of the skirt right sides together to make a striped tube.

Then hem the bottom of the skirt. Next, on to the pleats! This can look a little intimidating, but it is so easy-peasy. You can opt to pin it all in place before you sew, but you know me—always racing nap time—so I skipped the pinning and just pleated as I went. First eyeball the center point of the wide strip (below).

Pinch the fabric where the two colors meet and fold it into the center point.

Then sew that half of the pleat before folding the other side, doing the reverse (pinching where the two colors meet and folding into the center), and sew that down. So your two narrow strip colors will meet in the middle.

Repeat repeat repeat until you pleat all the way around the skirt, and it will look like this (below). almost there!

Then, starting about ½” in on the waistband strip, sew the waistband to the pleated skirt, right sides together. Sew all the way to the end, folding over the starting ½” when you reach it and sewing straight over it.

Close the waistband loop by flipping the waistband up and sewing a straight stitch from the skirt body to the open top.

Set the skirt aside. Cut a piece of ¾” elastic to the length of your child’s waist diameter (18″ in my case) Then fold it over into a loop, overlapping about an inch (so it will be about 1″ less wide than the child’s waist, below). Sew the strip of elastic “closed” by running your sewing machine back and forth in an “x.” It doesn’t have to be pretty, just effective. It won’t show.

Finally, tuck in the elastic and fold over the waistband towards the inside of the skirt. Sew all the way around the skirt while keeping the elastic in the channel you’re creating as you go. When you run out of elastic before you run out of waistband, just lock your needle down and gently pull the elastic out through the channel. The fabric will bunch a little behind the needle, but no worry, that is just the elastication of the elasticated waist (did I just make up a word? elastication? I dunno, but I like it). [Once completed, I like to iron down the pleats to make it really crisp, but that is not manditory.]

And voila! Before you can say bob’s your uncle, you’ve got a cute little hidden pleat skirt… Or—in our case—a toddler cheerleader skirt. I mean, come on, big brother’s baseball season has begun and we’ve got to represent for the Stars!!

Well, at least she’ll look cute while she & her other brother basically ignore the games…



7 responses to “Free Tutorial: Fast, Simple, Adorable Peek-A-Boo Pleat Skirt

  1. Thank you! Thank you! I have just received an order for two cheerleading outfits for my granddaughter’s dolls. And I had no clue. This removes the mystery entirely. Just perfect.


  2. Adaptations for an American Girl doll skirt:
    • 4 pleats instead of 6
    • 4 top-color strips 3.75 x 5 inches (hem to 4)
    • 4 bottom-color strips 7 x 5 inches (hem to 4)
    • 1 top-color strip for waistband 15.5 x 3 inches


  3. I am a brand new to sewing and I just finished making the most adorable set of ruffle pants from your other tutorial. While they are not perfect for a very first attempt they are absolutely PRECIOUS and I cannot wait for my daughter to wear them! I can’t wait to try some of your other tutorials. Thanks for the terrific pictures and straight forward instructions I just might be a sewer yet! Feeling hopeful!!! ((( :


  4. Pingback: Yes. I Am That Mom. {basketball season version} | CampClem·

  5. So cute! My daughter’s school has spirit week starting tomorrow and she requested to be a cheerleader for sports day. Luckily I had the extra fabric from another project. Fingers crossed that I actually do this correctly lol.


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