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Caribbean Pirate Dress

The underskirt is composed of three large rectangles of fabric. I’m going to assume that you’re about 5’6” tall and planning to wear low heels - add or subtract a little as you wish for your own particular needs.

1. Cut three lengths of 110cm (44”) which are all the full width of the fabric (ie three almost-squares), and sew the three together along the selvedges [the edge of the fabric as it comes off the roll] to make a tube. Don’t forget to leave about 15cm (6”) open at one end of one of the seams so that you can get the skirt on when it’s finished! Press your seams open, and continue to press the edges aside along the opening, as if you had sewn all the way along to the end. Diagram

2. Now do the same with the lining, ensuring that it’s the same width and cutting a bit off if not.

3. Slip the skirt inside its lining with right sides together.

4. Sew the lining to the outer fabric around the hem (bottom) of the skirt. You may want to hold the skirt against you to check the length, but don’t forget to allow a little for the seam allowance at the waist and extra length for the possibility that you might wear heels with it! This is a very quick and dirty method of hemming a skirt, but since the underskirt will mostly be hidden, we don’t need perfection. Also, of course, you can always make adjustments later.

6. Once you’ve pressed all your stitching, turn out to the right side and press, then baste the top edges of the skirt and lining together. Sew the lining to the outer fabric neatly around the opening, along your fold.

7.At this point you have three options:

For a quick Hallowe’en costume result you can gather the waist, which isn’t period but may be “good enough” for you if you’re going for speed - again, this skirt will be hidden so this may be a shortcut you want to take. Hand or machine sew along the top with a big stitch and pull the thread so that the fabric bunches up to your waist measurement. Tie the threads and sew the gathers down.

At the other end of the spectrum, for period accuracy you may want to cartridge pleat the top. There are so many good online tutorials for this, such as this one, that I won’t repeat the method here.

However, on my pirate dresses I went for a good option in between the two: knife pleating. It’s easier than it’s sometimes made out to be and gives a pleasant effect. Click through to the next page for full instructions.

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cindy  
Not to be a pest, but...   It's still not working for me? Looking forward to it! Thank you!  
 
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cathyhay  
  The article is now fixed as far as page 8; the rest should be done tomorrow. An outside hosting site that we were using in 2007 has changed things around without us realising it, so the task involves saving, moving and re-linking all the images on our own server, which is a big task. Thank you again for the heads up.  
 
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cindy  
THANK YOU!   I can see! Awesome. And I so appreciate the problem - I'm a web designer/developer... Good luck with getting it all together and thanks for not getting annoyed! Take care!  
 
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Cathy Hay  
  The article is now fixed in full, as far as I can see - let me know if I missed anything!  
 
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crimsongypsy  
  Unfortunately, the cartridge pleating tutorial is no longer at that link.  
 
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englishmouse  
maths   Love this tutorial and the dress and i'm really grateful you put it up, but i'm really struggling to figure out the math on these knife pleats withought a clear sum. my fabric has ended up 162" and I need to get it down to 30", I don't know where to even begin to get it to the correct width :/  
 

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