The process of how to draft a kickpleat is easier than you think.
A while back I stumbled on an issue of Threads Magazine where I found a kick pleat tutorial I fell in love with. It’s such a basic detail (like armhole vents!) that add a little something extra to the garment and can incidentally, turn out all funky and weird if not done properly. There are quite a few tutorials out there about kickpleats, but few of them go into the full drafting process. When a pattern instruction doesn’t fully flesh out the details the on how to draft a kickpleat, it can look “eh” instead of ready-to-wear. The tutorial I found from Threads is a lot more professional, but the actual instructions (and pictures!) left a little bit to be desired.
I was inspired to work on this tutorial after my previous projects, as a way to break the process down for those of you who are interested, especially since finding good detail shots of the entire process seems to be difficult online.
Tools necessary for drafting a kickpleat are:
- a ruler (I prefer a transparent one for the grid!)
- pattern paper
Measurements to consider are:
- seam allowances
- hem fold
- finished hem line
All of the measurements will be specific for you and your particular project, but for this example I have a 5/8″ seam allowance, 5/8″ hem fold, 1″ hem. I drew in the seam allowances along the working edges for future use, please draw them in as well. This tutorial will be placing the kickpleat at the center back of the garment.
It is optional to trace your pattern piece out onto clean pattern paper, but for beginners I would recommend this as it makes things less confusing. For more advanced pattern drafting, you could just get away with taping a piece of paper near the bottom right of the pattern. I traced the pattern piece out in the above picture.
The first step would be to figure out how high up you want your kickpleat to be. This is not necessarily an arbitrary thing: the smaller the height of the kickpleat, the less walking space you’ll have and you’ll totally hate yourself when you’re trying to go up a set of stairs. This measurement is dependent on the individual, but figure that the top of the kickpleat needs to finish above the knee, which is where it’ll give you a bigger sense of movement. Make a notch at the Finished Hem Line.
Measure up from the Finished Hem Line to the top of where you want the kickpleat to be. Notch.
Next you will be drawing the kickpleat extension itself. To do this, place your ruler along the center back seam line and draw a parallel line to the center back. Most kickpleats vary in width, but the standard is between 1 1/2″ and 2″, so you can choose which one suits your needs best. I drew my line 2″ away from the seam line for a large kickpleat.
Now use your transparent ruler (or get old school and pull out your protractor!) and draw a 45* angle from the edge of your pattern to the kickpleat extension, originating from the kickpleat top notch.
At this point you can go back in and readd all your seam allowances, including on the kickpleat extension.
At this point we’re nearly done. In the before and after samples pictured above, I’ve added yellow notches to the bottom right of the new pattern. Notches here are vital for future construction: they will be used as pressing and turning guides when you start working with your fabric. The notches included in this pattern are: the finished hemline, the hem fold, the kickpleat seam allowance, and the overlap kickpleat seam allowance (which I will expand upon in the next tutorial.)
Snip snip snip your pattern so it’s ready for sewing! For the next tutorial you will need the following:
- basic haberdashery
- light weight interfacing
- sewing machine (+ optional overlock machine)