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Shortening a Pleated Wool Skirt

I own a pleated merino (fine wool) skirt which has to be shortened. As I will not be able to do it myself, I want to know before I take it to the tailor, the best way to proceed. The skirt is a very fine merino wool and I would not like to do the wrong thing.

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Many thanks.

By litconsult from Great Neck, NY

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October 10, 20110 found this helpful

Depending on how much the skirt needs to be shortened and if the pleats are stitched down at the top, it might be possible to remove the waistband and remove the extra length from there. This will change the proportions of the skirt however. In the early days of the mini skirts, we just rolled the waistbands and wore baggy sweaters, but I doubt that that is the look you want. Removing the pleating and then repleating the bottom is going to be labor intensive.

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October 11, 20110 found this helpful

Any dependable tailor should know what to do without you telling them how to do it, other than how short you want it.

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

Labor-intensive is the right phrase for this job! Make sure the person you entrust with this job understands that to do it properly he/she should measure the depth of the pleats very first thing to make sure that the pleats fold back properly after the work is done.

It's not a bad question to ask before turning this over to a so-called professional because part of my extra cash comes from fixing so-called alterations seamstress/tailor mistakes. Once a relative sent a pair of trousers to the dry cleaner with the request to take the waist in several inches. To do the job properly the alterations person should have measured my relative, then removed the waistband, fitted my relative into the trousers, adjusted the seams and then restored the waistband minus the extra inches.

But the alterations person didn't do that, she simply turned the pants inside out and stitched away the inches my relative thought needed to go-right through the waistband! It looked awful and to make things worse she cut the spare fabric out so I couldn't go in and do the job right.

So, make sure your alterations person:

*Has you put on the skirt inside out and zipped up, then measures you for the correct new hemline, making sure to do this in front of a mirror so that you know where the new hem is going to be.

*Writes down the new hem measurement and the amount of fabric that is going to be removed from your skirt on the order sheet and marks the new hemline on the 'wrong-side' of your skirt before you leave the dressing room-make sure you get a copy of the order sheet, which should also include the price, estimated date of delivery, and that the scrap fabric will be returned to you. This is always a good idea in case the skirt needs repairs or you someday want to reinsert the length-trust me it can be done artfully. Also, the scrap fabric can be used to make something to accessorize your skirt.

*Measures the fold depth on the existing pleats (and also writes this down)

*Understands he/she needs to and is willing to steam presses the pleats out to form a straight piece of fabric to get the hem correctly placed

*Understands and is willing to hand bast the upper sections of the pleats to maintain the correct fold depths

*Understands and is willing to hand stitch the new hem into place (machine stitching on merino looks terrible), enclosing raw edges and using short enough stitches to hold the hem in place without showing through to the 'right-side' of the skirt (too big a stitch will look as bad as using blind-hemming on a sewing machine)

Good luck, there are very few reasonably priced alterations people left in the world. It's truly a labour of love, so if you find someone with the knowledge and willingness to do the job correctly, please show him/her your deepest regard and respect:)

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