The Peggy Skirt – Tutorial

We are currently working our way through Season 4 of Mad Men: Season 4 One of my favourite things about the show is the fantastic costumes. The episode I watched the other night had Peggy wearing a striking blue dress with red pleats. I loved it. Don’t know why it struck me – maybe because I tend to prefer Joan and Betty’s outfits over Peggy’s, although Season 4 has seen some more sophistication in Peggy’s wardrobe.
I had to give those pleats a go. Here is my version. Of course in miniature!

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You will need:
1/2 metre (yard) denim
40 cm (16″) contrasting fabric (I used some quilting cotton – you only need a small amount)
thread/sewing machine
2 buttons
1cm wide (1/2″) elastic
Denim is not mandatory, but I have found that a heavy duty fabric helps the pleats sit well.
For the front of the skirt:
3 denim pieces and 2 contrasting fabric pieces, 11.5cm wide, 38 cm long (4.5″x15″)
For the back:
1 denim piece 38cm x 38cm (15″ x 15″)

Those measurements will make a skirt that is approximately a
size 3. By adjusting the widths and lengths you can make it for any
size. Just measure your child’s (or your) waist, halve it, add an inch
on either side for seam allowance, and that is the width of your back
piece. For the front piece, you want the denim pieces to add up to make
that measurement (eg. If its 18″ you will cut 3 pieces of denim 6″ wide each, and cut your 2 contrasting pieces the same.)

 Pin together and sew the front skirt pieces together using a 1/4 cm seam allowance. The denim pieces should be the outside panels and the centre panel.
You will end up with a piece that looks like this:
I cut my seams with pinking shears to reduce fraying, then pressed the seams open.
Next, mark the centre point of your pleats.
Fold the denim either side so your pleat fabric is concealed inside the pleat. Pin the pleat into place.
Once you have pinned both pleats, it should look like this:
Machine baste across the top of your pleats to keep them in place.
Fold the top of the skirt over 1/2cm (1/4″) and press. Fold over 2 1/2cm (1″) and press. This creates a casing which will be decorative on the front of the skirt and will coordinate with the elastic casing on the back of the skirt. 
Sew the casing and top stitch along the top of the skirt. It will look like this:
Put the front section aside, take the piece of denim for the back of the skirt, and create a casing for the elastic using the same measurements as for the front piece.
Stitch the casing in place then topstitch along the top of the back piece so it looks the same as the front.
Cut your elastic approximately 2/3 size of the width of the skirt (mine was 15″ so I cut the elastic 10″)
Thread the elastic through the casing and pin it into place at each end.
Pin the sides together and sew the side seams.

I don’t have an overlocker (serger) so I finished them by using a zig
zag stitch, but for you lucky ladies who have overlockers, that would be
the ideal way to finish the seams.

Hem your skirt to the desired length, then hand sew your buttons onto the front of the skirt, over the top of your pleats.

You are done! Enjoy your gorgeous skirt. I think this would be a good style for ladies as well as kids – I will have to supersize it for me! The elasticated waist suits given it has only been a few months since I had my daughter!

I hope you find this easy and you give it a try! I only ask one thing – if you do make one please share a picture over at my Flickr Group – I would love to see your version!

I’ve been really inspired by the costumes from Mad Men – if you love their style too you should check out this awesome book The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men. Love it!

43 thoughts on “The Peggy Skirt – Tutorial

  1. I'm in the middle of Season 3 of Mad Men, so when I saw "Peggy Skirt" I knew there was only one Peggy you could be talking about. This is such a cute skirt. I will definitely have to try making it.

  2. Thanks for the great tutorial. I have made two for my daughters and they are great. I am a novice sewer but found this fun and straight forward to make, Thanks again for posting this.

  3. This skirt looks fab looks quite technical but your fab instructions look achievable inspired me to get my machine out this weekend love your Easter bunny top too might make both n contrasting fabric

  4. What a fantastic skirt!! I want to do one for myself….!!! I am just starting to learn how to sew and have a little question about the instructions for this skirt. From a 30" lower weist, I understand that for the front I would have to halve it and add 2 inches for the seam allowance ( 15"+2 = 17" and I would round it to 18"). Then I would cut 3 pieces of denim (x6") and 2 pieces of contrast fabric (x6"). However, I would not know how much fabric I would need for the back, is it 18" or would it be 30" (18+6+6)? Sorry about this but I am a complete novice and I do think this skirt is gorgeous and seems easy to make!! Thanks very much for any information you could give me. Best wishes, Pati x

  5. I would like to try it out but since I need it a bit longer, I need extra measurements. I would like to make it just below the knees because I like long skirts. (about 60cms long) How many material would I be needing? thanks and well done!

  6. I made this a couple of days ago. Partly into the tutorial, I realized that if I followed your instructions for the back panel (cutting it at half the waist measurement), I would never get the thing on. I have about a twelve inch difference between my waist and hips – small waist, ghetto booty. So, I cut the back panel to my hip measurement minus half my waist, and it worked out fine. I also made the skirt to be just above knee length, but wasn't super happy with the look. I think this pattern lends itself better to miniskirts as opposed to longer skirts. All in all, if I do this again, it will be with pleats in the back and zipper, as well as a little bit shorter. Thanks!

  7. Just made it for my 6 year old with the same fabric combination.It has turned out just fantastic.Miss Twirly for once actually likes a skirt with no twirl factor.Thank you for such a fantastic tutorial.

  8. So cute. I have a pair white jeans where the zipper broke. I am thinking of trying this with them and some quilting cotton in a pretty print. Just have to figure out the size. I want to do pleats in both back and front too.

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