How to Make a Pleated Skirt for a Chair {Tipsy Tuesday #12}

Today, I wanted to show you how I made the pleated skirt for the rocking chair makeover from yesterday. You can buy a pleating foot for  your sewing machine, and there are also manual pleaters available, but I don’t have either.


How to Make a Pleated Skirt for a Chair | Plum Doodles


So, here is my cheap skate way of doing it.

First, I measured around the seat and doubled that measurement. I didn’t actually need that much fabric length, but wasn’t sure just how much I would need. I wanted my skirt to extend about 4 inches below the bottom edge of the seat, so I cut my fabric strips 9 inches wide. (4 inches + 1/2 inch allowance to be stapled onto the side of the seat. Double this measurement because the fabric will be folded in half.)  Sew strips together until you have the length needed. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press.

For the Pleats:

I used a similar technique to how I make a straight curtain hem.

  • Find the center of the fabric strip. I wanted my pleats to face opposite directions starting at the center.


Center pleats on a chair skirt | Plum Doodles


  • Eyeball how wide and deep you want the first two pleats. Very scientific. Press into place.
  • Measure how wide the pleats are, and how deep the pleat itself is. Cut pieces of cardstock the width of each of these measurements. Mine were 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch deep.
  • Line up the 2-inch cardstock with the pleat you just pressed. Fold the fabric over the cardstock and press.


How to Make a Pleat for a Chair Skirt | Plum Doodles


  • Now, insert the 1/4 inch strip of card stock into the crease you just pressed. Fold the fabric back over itself so that it is even with the edge of the card stock. Press.


Making a pleat | Plum Doodles


  • Pin pleats to hold them in place. Continue until you reach the end of your fabric strip. Then, go back to the middle and fold in the other direction. I found it easier to turn the strip upside down (not flipped over) to do the second half, so that I was still pressing in the same direction.


Pleated Fabric for Chair Skirt | Plum Doodles


  • When all your pleats are pressed and pinned, sew them into place along the top edge.
  • Staple the center of your pleated fabric at the center front of the chair seat. Continue around one side until you get to the center back. Repeat on the other side.
  • Overlap and trim at the center back. Fold under the raw edge before stapling into place. I also glued the raw end under- as you can see, the fabric glue stained slightly where I got over-zealous with it.


Center Back of Pleated Trim | Plum Doodles


I finished off by hot gluing grosgrain ribbon along the top edge of the pleated skirt. And that’s how to make a pleated skirt for a chair without using a $30+ pleater. What do you think? Would it be worth the 30+ bucks to simplify the process?





Partying here:

Savvy Southern Style


  1. Linda Hayes says:

    Thanks for another professional looking project!

  2. Sheila..I love this tutorial….so “bookmarking” this one!!…Love, love the chair!

  3. Very clever, Sheila! I like this and I wouldn’t buy one if you could get the same outcome from some cardstock or cardboard.

  4. Amazing! I had no idea! I thought this was all machine sewn! Thanks for sharing your great tip and tutorial!

Speak Your Mind