Pleats Please me

How was your Christmas? The weather has been so hot and I’ve overeaten so often recently that any DIY project needs to be super simple for me to work up the motivation to even start it. But simple can be effective too – check out this skirt-to-dress makeover that I like to think of as my Modular Miyake.



I got this skirt from my friend Tetsuko’s mum when I stayed at her house in Tokyo earlier this year. She was cleaning out her wardrobe and, having seen some of my refashioning efforts on this blog, told me to take whatever I wanted from some designer pieces she no longer wore to remake them for myself. SO TEMPTING! But I only took a few things as I had already accumulated about nine kilos (!!) to send home.


This skirt is by Issey Miyake and is made of finely pleated squares of polyester* (I would have guessed it’s from his Pleats Please range but it doesn’t say that on the label).


The front and back are exactly the same and (until I unpicked it) it had an elastic waist. So basically it was a tube six squares wide and five long with no shaping at all except for the pleats which stretch width-ways.

Turning a tube skirt into a dress was easy, especially with squares to use as reference points.
I hope Tetsuko’s mum likes what I did with it!


After unpicking the elastic waist casing I unpicked along the sides of the centre square (the dark brown one) to form the neck opening at the front and handstitched the flap in place on the wrong side. Then I sewed the squares at the top to form the shoulder seams and unpicked from the outer edge of the shoulder seams to about 1/3 of the way down the second square from the top to form armholes.


They’re such small alterations that if I decide I want it to be a skirt again, I can easily turn it back into one. But for the moment, I’m looking forward to wearing it as a dress. Especially for overeating occasions – those pleats are super stretchy! 🙂


*Disclaimer: being polyester, it’s not the most appropriate choice for the 39-degree days we’ve been having lately, and even on cooler days I’ll probably add a cotton layer underneath. Also, I’ve just realised I have terrible sock marks in these photos… even though it has been warm, my feet are like ice blocks until it gets to about 30 degrees. Any advice on how to boost my supremely inferior circulation would be welcome!