About 90% of the time when I make a costume I make up my own pattern because some costumes just don’t do well with store bought patterns. In this case. my upgrades for Rise Kujikawa (from Persona 4), I thought I would try and use a pattern to make the pleated skirt. After looking everywhere for the right skirt and failing to find it, I just had to make one.
It took me a little while to figure out what pattern I wanted to use, in the end it was my friend who sent me a link to McCall’s M7141, the school girl costume pattern. I was a bit dubious at first, I’ve used a McCall’s pattern before and it confused me so much I ended up making up my own things. There was also my hesitation at whether my skirt would look bouncy, the pattern seemed designed to make a flat pleated skirt so I wasn’t sure whether the skirt I made would look any good.
At first glance the pattern for the skirt seemed pretty straight forward, a giant rectangle shape with lines going down it. After about 20 minutes of scratching my head trying to decipher the instructions and pattern marks, I copied out the pattern onto some baking paper and all the marks that go with it. Before I go any further I just have to say that with this pattern it’s absolutely essential that you copy the marks otherwise you will regret it later!
Once I got underway making the skirt and marking up all the pattern marks it was really straight forward. I chose to use a slightly stretchy jersey type fabric with a hound’s tooth pattern on it which actually made it so much easier to keep everything in line. The only real problem I encountered was to figure out how to make the pleats as the instructions weren’t entirely clear which way the pleats should be sewn. Once this hurdle had been jumped, the skirt came out incredibly well considering that the pattern is meant for suiting fabrics and materials that can be ironed.
Shortening the skirt was very easy to do once I had made the bulk of the skirt. Although the pattern says to shorten the skirt from the bottom I found that shortening it from the top made it a lot easier to make it accurate. If you make the skirt you’ll notice that the waistline for the skirt is actually very high, so I got rid of some of that so it rested just on the top of my hips instead of around my waist. By doing this I found I got just the right level of floofiness that is required in an anime skirt.
Once this was done the rest of the skirt was pretty straight forward. I did skip a few steps or change them around, like fitting the zipper last so I knew exactly how long it needed to be after I shortened it. I also didn’t bother ironing my skirt as jersey fabrics don’t hold ironed pleats well but in the end the ironing wasn’t needed as the sewn in pleats did everything for me.
For anyone who has little experience in using sewing patterns then I would highly recommend McCall’s pattern for the skirt. I have yet to try out the rest of the pattern but now I have tried it I’m pretty sure a few costumes will be bumped up my list just so that I have an excuse to use this pattern again. I highly recommend it for anyone who has any school uniform related costumes coming up but don’t want to spend the money on pre-made costumes.