The pleated skirt calculator
My projects,  Sewing,  Tutorials

Introducing: the Pleated Skirt Calculator

“I have got many compliments on my black and white stripy skirt, so I wanted to make another one. However, there always seems to be so many calculations involved and decisions to be made! You decide on one thing and then realise that you don’t have enough fabric and then you have to go back calculating. I thought it would be useful to have a Pleated Skirt Calculator that would create the pattern and make a sketch out of given initial values. I have some experience in computer programming and decided to try to make my first javascript project! Out came a Pleated skirt calculator you can find here!

What does the Pleated Skirt Calculator do?

The calculator looks like this:

The pleated skirt calculator screenshot.

You can input the waist circumference, the number of pleats on one side, the depth of the pleats (=the amount of fabric folded away in each inverted pleat), the waistband height and the skirt height. The calculator then draws you diagrams of the patterns you’ll need with all the necessary measurements. You’ll also get a sketch on how the skirt may look like. The sketch is just a simple approximation and the actual outlook of the skirt will depend on the fabric you’ll choose.

I have tested the pattern generator with a lot of different values. I have excluded some of the more exotic ones, so I you’d want to create a skirt for a Barbie doll or a giantess with a waist of 10 meters, it doesn’t work. Sorry!

The resulting skirt

I made a skirt using values very close to the default values. The waist circumference for my skirt was 72 cm and a pleat depth 11.5 cm. I had to shorten the pleat depth so that I could cut the skirt pattern pieces horizontally from the fabric which was about 133 cm wide. The skirt length that I chose was 60 cm but I added about 6 cm extra for the seam allowances and the hem. The final skirt ended up having the length of 59 cm. My waistband is 4 cm high and I have 8 boxed pleats on both sides.

If you want to make a similar kind of skirt and are a beginner, you are in for a luck! I made A Pleated_skirt tutorial just for you! Download the pdf-file with step-by-step instructions. Those include inserting a pocket in the side seam and adding a buttoning extension.

I used super cute stretch cotton  that created a romantic 1950s style skirt:

The skirt has one inseam pocket that I made out of a little scrap of fabric that was left. I could have made two but thought that sewing both the zipper and the pocket to the same side seam might be a bit two challenging for the tutorial. It can be done, if you so wish. In any case having just one pocket is useful, since I rarely need two to quickly slip in my keys or my phone.

The pleated skirt calculator: the resulting skirt from the side.

As there is no shaping whatsoever the A-line comes completely from the pleats that spread over the hips. I have added a petticoat but mostly so that the skirt doesn’t stick to my pantyhose. The cotton fabric I chose is stiff enough to hold the A-line shape even without any help from the petticoat.

The pleated skirt calculator: the resulting skirt from the back.

Do go and experiment with the skirt pattern calculator and send me pictures of your completed projects! Tag your makes with #WMHDskirtcalculator so that I can follow your skirt adventures on Instagram!

I hope you found this useful and are inspired to make your own skirt! Do subscribe to get notified on new posts on this blog and share these posts with your sewing friends! Happy sewing!



I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


  • Emily Kitsch

    Wonderful tutorial! I can’t wait to try your pleated skirt calculator!

    By the way, I linked your Big List of Sewing Pattern Companies post as a resource in the Reviews & Resources section of my blog – and credited you, of course! – I hope you don’t mind! I thought it was fabulous and wonderfully comprehensive. 🙂 Well done and thank you for writing it, I discovered so many brands I’d never heard of, thanks to you! <3

  • Andy Maxx

    Could you do a step-by-step post on using the calculator and how the pattern works after it is printed out? I do not understand how the pattern works when doing the motion of pleating. If possible instead of basing the pleat on the inverse pleat which is the fabric folded away, could the calculator be based on the measurement on the actual pleat itself. I saw this on another method on making box pleats as a relation of x. I will link that here and maybe that will help if you choose to convert the calculator . I would really appreciate it.

  • Anca

    Hi! My name is Anca and I recently started a blog with body pattern calculators based on body measurements. I saw that your pattern is changing after every each submission. My question is what program do you use to make a real time construction. I’ve tried to make something like that for my idea too but I didn’t find a solution. Could you take a look and give me some feedback? This is my blog adress: https://sewing–
    Thank you very much!

    • kk

      Hi Anca! I looked at your blog. It seems that you are using Excel to make your calculations. I am writing javascript code. You can actually view my code if you open the page source. The actual code I wrote begins at the row 977.

      Basically I have a function that calculates and draws everything and each modifiable element (like a text field) has a element.onchange callback which is triggered when the element value is changed.

      There are lots of javascript online tutorials if you are interested in learning it. This calculator was actually my first javascript code I’ve written.

      Just, another thing. I just recently found out that there is a free patternmaking program called Seamly2D. Perhaps you are using it, already? If making modifiable patterns with javascript seems difficult, you might want to look into it. I know that your idea is a bit different, but just thought that you might be interested in this anyway…

  • Anca

    Thank you very, very much. You give me precious informations. For shore I will take a look.
    By the way, you have a very nice blog.
    Congratulations for your work and good luck!

  • Sheryne

    Stupid question the 4 cm I add (because I want a button) to the waistband, does it include the seam allowance or do I have to add an extra 1.5 cm to each side?

    • kk

      No, you create the pattern entirely without seam allowances. You can think for yourself: if you take out the seam allowances the buttoning extension is a bit small for a button, right?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.