One of my favorite ways to switch up patterns is to replace the gathers with pleats. It can take a design in a whole new direction! It’s super easy to do, and works great for not-so-little-girls who are wanting a little more grown up look.
This tutorial is written with the Serendipity Trousers in mind, but will work on almost all designs where there is gathering. You will just need to adjust the number or depth of your pleats to fit the design.
Let’s get started!
How to Replace Gathers With Pleats
The objective of gathering is to make a larger edge match a smaller edge in a decorative way. So, in the case of the Serendipity Trousers you are adding gathers to the pant fronts to match the smaller edge of the yoke. All you are doing is adding pleats to account for the same amount of gathering. Easy peasy! The trousers only have a little bit gathering, so only two small pleats are needed.
You will want to keep your pleats in between the gather marks you transferred from the pattern. I made mine about 3/8 inch deep and placed both right next to the gather lines, facing out towards the hips. I press mine and then pin in place.
Just make sure that when you line the pant fronts up with the yoke, they are the same length, and adjust your pleats as necessary. In this photo it looks like the front is smaller, but when I line up the edges they are the same length.
Once you have the pleats just right, sew over them within the seam allowance (1/4 inch will do) to hold in place.
Then sew the front to the yoke as detailed on the pattern. That’s it!
An easy little alteration right? Here’s some other places you can make it:
- on the front of blouses (like the Serendipity Blouse) where there is gathering you can add a box pleat and add smaller pleats on the side if needed
- on skirts with a gathered skirt attached to a flat waistband use large pleats or box pleats
- on aprons where a gathered apron front attaches to the tie
Try it on your next project and see how you like it!
Happy sewing and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments!