Now that I have explained how to add pleats, the perfect subject to write about next is layering. It’s kind of like pleats. It’s a technique you can use, if you want to create pleats that have another shape. Something you can’t fold.

I have done several pieces using this technique, so it was difficult to choose some examples. In fact, I ended up choosing many!



layered sleeves

scalloped layers

scalloped rows


My version of Marimekko’s Unikko -pattern.

As you can see, layering is a great way to create all sorts of surface patterns. You can place them anyway you want.  When drawing the pattern, just try not to make the design too complicated. For example, it can be difficult to sew really tight curves.



To make this technique easier to understand, think about a knife pleat and how it’s built. Layering works exactly the same way. It’s just that there’s a seam at each turn.

So here is an example of a shape you couldn’t fold like a pleat. It has 3 layers. Each layer has a facing and the following layer starts from it’s base. As was the case with the separated pleats in the last post:




These are the pattern pieces. The ones I colored in the previous picture are marked with an X.

pattern pieces

Try not to make the facing too wide, because then you’ll have to do lot’s of hand stitching afterwards to keep your design in shape.

This is how you’d put these pieces together. The first picture shows how the layer 3 starts from under the facing 2, at it’s base.




Applying layering on a skirt

When planning this, I had in mind a pleated skirt, but I wanted the pleats to have this particular shape. So here’s how I added layering to the pattern.

The starting point was a slightly flared skirt pattern (I closed the dart to get some flare).

flared skirt base

I drew lines approximately where the ”pleats” would go.

planning layers

Then I drew the actual design of the layers and separated the facing (the blue lines).


I colored the facing-pattern in blue. The purple piece is demonstrating how the different layers always start from the base of the facing of the previous layer.

Here you can see the final pattern-pieces after I copied them: the layers and their facings. When cutting fabric, I didn’t add seam-allowance at the inner-edge (=base of the layer).

pattern pieces

Sewing starts from attaching a facing to each layer.


After pressing, I simply sewed all the pieces together and stitched at the waistline to keep them in place. Normally I would also stitch the other edge, but this time I wanted a pleated skirt -effect, so I left the hemline free. Sometimes you’ll also need to add hand stitches in the middle to keep all the pieces where they need to be.

Anyways, here’s my skirt:

the skirt

Next time I’ll write about another version of layering, the crossing layers.

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    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Wow! Thank you. 🙂 Well, I hope I can help others to create amazing things, too!

  1. Vera Cristina Silva Gomes Reply

    Incrível. Adoro aprender técnicas novas. Obrigada

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Thank you! 🙂 I’m glad you found the tutorial useful.

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