DIY SPORTY LUXE: Skirt of A Thousand Pleats

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeThe inspiration for this DIY’d outfit caaaame to me in a visionnnn (cue woo woo eyes). No. Wait. It was Gorman. It came to me in Gorman. I was wandering around, trying to figure out what to make with the two yards of METALLIC GOLDEN LINEN under my arm. Something that would slip casually and effortlessly into my hand-made wardrobe without so much as a ‘Sup guys?’. Wait, backstory: I had a scheduled free choice project upcoming with Britex Fabrics, saw ‘Brilliant Metallic Gold Stretch Cotton & Linen Blend‘ in their novelty section, thought ‘Oooo funsies’ and ordered it without another thought. So when the fabric arrived, exactly as described in all it’s metallic goldeness, I was a little confronted. Okay, I totally freaked. Me, a metallic virgin, cruising through life certain there were two types of people in this world: metallic wearers and non-metallic wearers. And here, I, of the non-metallic variety, with two yards and a time-frame.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeI must stop right here and tell you this fabric is LUSH! Metallic and gold, yes but shiny and blinding, no, with the linen content giving it this beautiful grainy, matte, texture. No sunglasses necessary. It was more: what could I make that would do it justice and that I would wear, like, on my person? I saw visors and high waist summer shorts and cropped tees and two-piece sets, which were all not bad ideas. I almost cut out the Named Inari dress and realised I would wear a gold shift dress probably never. I petted the fabric, held it up to the mirror, sifted through Pinterest, thumbed the pattern stash; all the usual hot spots for divine inspiration but nothing, NOTHING! I thought I had made a huge mistake.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeThat is how I ended up in Gorman, one of my favourite Australian clothing brands and one of the few places I still buy RTW (when I’m not shopping for “inspiration”). If you’re not familiar, let me summarise: for colour, print and pattern lovers, Gorman is the mecca. Add to this killer silhouettes, interesting cuts and designs which are virtually ageless and you will understand their almost cult status. Gah, just see for yourself! I buy significantly less Gorman these days but my hand-made wardrobe is influenced by them more than ever. And it was looking around at their current collection Moth and Moon with all unlikely combinations of colours and prints they’d paired so beautifully with metallics that I realised I’d had it SO wrong! I had put metallics in the too garish, too blingy, too glitzy, too much something box. When what I’d needed to be asking all along was: ‘WHAT WOULD GORMAN DO?! The answer…some awesome sporty-luxe pleated skirt, probably.
ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty Luxe
ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeI found this pattern for a Pleated Wrap Skirt and it was exactly what I was imagining! I LOVE that it’s a wrap skirt. After putting zipper’s into everything, the idea of not sewing one and climbing into a piece of clothing in a new way is novel and fun! I was hoping someone might have posted a comprehensive review on Burdastyle with detailed illustrations of each step, but alas, no. It is truly an amazing skirt and totally worth the sew but you need to be prepared to do your own thing with the instructions; I abandoned them after paragraph two because they made-a-no-sensa to me. Oh and there’s the mystery of the phantom 4th pattern piece. The pleated section is supposed to be made up of four lengths of fabric, three long + one shorter one, stitched together. It never became obvious what this shorter length was for. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut it out and when I attached the pleats to the yoke they fitted perfectly, having used only the three long lengths…ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeAhhh the pleating. Ohhh the pleating. My gawd. The PLEATING. Four point two meters in total. I’ve never pleated anything before in my life. Which was probably a good thing, going in blind. Granted, the instructions did say ‘create pleats with commercial pleating machine’ which I thought was hilarious (sure, just let me get one out of my pocket) until I later found out that there are real places that do this, should you want to avoid hand-pleating yourself. Then there was the question of: does this fabric even hold a pleat? Does it ever! This fabric loves any kind of pressing pleated action. It holds a crease so well you really want to transfer it to a roll / tube after it’s been folded up in the mail. I can only guess it’s because, with the iron cranked to the max setting, you’re virtually melting the 2% lycra content in the fabric into a new shape, forever. It’s magical. My pleating plan was to draw up 1/2 ” pleats on the back side (the fabric melts from the front side, der) and break the pleating job down into sections and hours. My forearms cried. I wanted to quit. But the vision! THE VISION!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty LuxeSomewhere during Pleatgeddon I needed a distraction in the form of a woven Linden Sweatshirt. If you’ve ever sewn a Linden, you will know that it’s like coming home. For my first Linden ever (to be blogged soon) I made a 6. In a knit, the fit was perfect. For this woven version, I sized up to an 8. The fabric is a cotton eyelet from The Fabric Store, which I dyed navy. The cuffs, hem band and neck band are ribbing, a delicious navy merino from here, which made the whole sewing process the same as for a knit version. I French seamed the insides, since you can see through from the outside. My only mod, which I’ve done for both Linden’s now, is to shorten the length of the hem-band by 2-3″ so it fits closer to the hips and then hangs over the top. To me, this is how a classic sweatshirt sits.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Sporty Luxe

Sew proud, sew very proud!

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  • Blogless Annawrote:

    Wowsers that’s fabulous. Very Gorman but even more awesome because it’s in fact a Sophie… a one of a kind.

  • Charlie Wensleywrote:

    Gorgeous. Awesome. Impressively awesome gorgeousness! (Ps did you make the bag too as that’s lush also!)

  • Nickiwrote:

    You did good. You did very good!

  • Rosiewrote:

    Fabulous perfection, just perfection! You nailed this Sophie, I’m handclapping in your direction with great fervour 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼! I’ve made from a similar metallic gold/linen/cotton, a long straight wrap skirt, (that matt shine is so fine) & amazed at how often I’ve worn it, think you’ll find same with this. But those pleats! Stratosphere my dear, stratosphere

  • Bec Hemwrote:

    Ah-maze-ing. Seriously amazing. Those pleats! That eyelet! Love it all!

  • Melissawrote:

    My word! This is drop dead gorgeous! Hats off to you for persevering through the pleats. It is divine.

  • Dianawrote:

    I am speechless!!! This skirt i amazing, stunning, divine 😍👑!!! You are a genious . And the navy mesh Linden is more than a perfect match. Maybe you should apply as a designer by Gorman 😉👍🏻

  • crab&beewrote:

    Everything about this outfit is so right. I’m in awe and would be hard-pressed to say which piece I like better. I could have sworn that Poppykettle used a commercial pleating company and had wacky results so maybe the painful manual route was the best choice?

  • Deb Cameronwrote:

    Ha ha ‘Pleatgeddon’!!!! I can only imagine! I think Gorman should be coming to you for inspiration…dearest Sophie, that skirt…the BOMB!!

  • Deb Cameronwrote:

    Oh and the self dyed cotton eyelet Linden…I’m in awe!!! I want one 😍😉😘

  • Anneke Caraminwrote:

    Oh wow, I thought you had indeed made a Burda pattern that called for a pleating service and I was wondering if you’d talk about it since they seem to be hard to find these days, but you did it yourself! Amazing!

  • Samwrote:

    That whole outfit is simply stunning, one of the most amazing things to have popped up in my blog reader for quite a while.

  • ooobop!wrote:

    And so you should be proud. What a bindin’ skirt! I thought I was about to read a post about a cool designer skirt you bought… not like actually made. I totally love it!

  • Barbarawrote:

    Completely amazing! Gold mettalic linen pleats! all the good things, just gorgeous!

  • Marilla walkerwrote:

    Wow, wow, wow!!! Amazing pleats, amazing fabric and love the whole look! Well worth the effort 😍

  • Carolinewrote:

    So awesome. Love the golden pleated sumptuousness with the rock-edge of the eyelet Linden!

  • MaciNicwrote:

    Oh MY! That is pure perfection, it goes beyond Gorman and is brilliant – I can’t believe you did all the pleating yourself, and dyed the Linden to perfection, obvs.. ’cause of course, naturally 😉 … wow! just wow!

  • TamsinW-Pwrote:

    You pleated all that?! that’s crazy ! but it’s a fabulous skirt and I love your photos.

  • eimearwrote:

    stunning – its so so perfect (I have had some success with permanent pleats using hot iron on polyester and spray soaked 50-50 water vinegar, ironed dry, rested overnight and it launders fine)I didnt have to do as many pleats as yours – that fabric is also perfect. WOW the whole lot works so well

  • Anne Lythwrote:

    Wow. That is the most amazing skirt i have seen in a long while. And you pull of the style so well. How long did it take you to do all those pleats?

  • Utewrote:

    Greek goddess, 1920s tennis player and coolest lady a ever all rolled into one! That effort was so worth it! Wow.

  • Cloverwrote:

    this is one of your best makes ever. I thought the picture was from one of the crazy fashion blogger with an $1000. Outfit. But it was you! This is simply amazing.

  • Suewrote:

    one word. Perfect!!

    • Jane Sewellwrote:

      WOW!!!! You are suddenly operating in a whole new sewing dimension…this is, without doubt, your most incredible ensemble ever. Once I had started to get over the magnificence and golden glory of your pleating, the sheer gorgeousness of your Linden top began to wash over me. So stylish, so clever (both you and the outfit). Your excellent writing perfectly reflects your sewing masterpiece. Love your blog 😄

  • Stephaniewrote:

    Stunning skirt! And all that manual pleating, phew, you’ve got a lot more courage and skill than I do. I kept wondering about the mystery fourth piece and I’m thinking maybe it’s a facing for the front overlap?

  • Jenwrote:

    Wow just wow!! This is truly amazing skirt. You should be proud.

  • salliewrote:

    You are my sewing goddess. I will be making burnt offerings to you forthwith.

    Really – I’m at a complete fucking loss for words for how much in love with this look/your sense of design/vision/sewing gumption/you that I am. Goddess. That is all.

  • nicolewrote:

    Sophie this is amazing! Beautifully constructed as always. The sporty silhouette definitely makes the gold more daytime friendly, it looks gorgeous on you! I love the idea of a woven Linden, I think you will get loads of wear out of this.

  • justinewrote:

    This is mind blowing! So chic! I love your style.

  • Kate Carvalhowrote:

    Both amazing and so wearable! Loved your write up and photos too 🙂

  • Jenyawrote:

    What? You don’t have a pleating machine? Let me get mine out. Oh, hang on… Bwahahaha Gosh, what a story! I giggled the whole time reading your post! I have been waiting for it ever since you posted a teaser on IG 🙂 I think I am in the non-metallic wearing camp too, but boy, this outfit certainly makes me change my mind! That skirt. I mean, THAT SKIRT! Perfection itself.

  • Antipodean Stitcherwrote:

    The pleats might have taken ages, but they were so worth it. That skirt is perfection.

  • Erin @ I Heart Fabricwrote:

    Lol you’re so funny. Loved reading this blog post. My god what a vision you had. This skirt is incredible and your photos look like you’ve walked right into a fashion shoot. Turned out amazing you should def be proud. P.S love the bag too! 🙂

  • nathaliewrote:

    wow it’s georgeous, it’s so chic, it’s amazing! I never tought I would like a metalic pleated skirt but you made me realise that I do. I also really like the way you styled it and the photos are amazing as well

  • Hannahwrote:

    Absolutely LOVE this! So happy every time you put up a new post, I feel inspired to sew. Can’t wait to see what comes next 🙂

  • Veronica Darlingwrote:

    Oh boy, I saw your instagrams, and would never imagined this… pleatgeddon AND it melts if ironed on the topside… what challenges! Great job, and you can wear with black heels and tights in winter! WOW (although it is winter for you right, and you can wear bare legs?!) a great sewing success!

  • Summerflieswrote:

    I’m really impressed. It’s gorgeous! You deserve to be sew, sew proud. I’d love to see this in real life sometime!

  • Thewallinnawrote:

    You should be proud with this skirt! Just thinking about fabric pleating, even with the help of machines, makes me feel tired. Amazing garment!

  • Mahwahwrote:

    It’s so compleatly out of this world… zings with electricity… what a totally amazing look .

  • Chiewrote:

    This is so rad! Gold + pleats combination is stunning!

  • Elkewrote:

    Hi Ada,
    your skirt is perfection! I love how you made your vision come true and didn´t give up. The result is amazing and you can be sew sew proud of yourself.

  • Weekly Windup #1 | Helen's ClosetHelen's Closetwrote:

    […] swooned over Ada Spragg’s skirt of a thousand pleats…that is, wishing I had the patience to make something like that.  I love the styling of her […]

  • poppywrote:

    wow, its one super fabulous skirt!!!

  • Liswrote:

    you are truly genius, this looks so fabulous and together is a perfect outfit!!
    Loving the vision, it really paid off

  • Sonjawrote:

    Holy effing cow!!! I don’t even know what to say about this! It’s amazing!!!!! I literally cannot imagine that pleating process, but I’m so glad you hung in there because the results are stunning! I have a gold linen/lurex/lycra blend that I bought in a fit of mania at Mood a few summers ago and immediately regretted. I need to dig it out and think of a suitable style! You’re so inspirational!

  • Julia Fetisovawrote:

    Beautiful outfit! I really loke your skirt!!
    Hope you visit my blog!

  • Alliwrote:

    Your whole outfit is amazing, and I loooove your gold skirt! I would never have thought to put those two pieces together, but they’re perfect!

    I really don’t know, so I wanted to ask: how do you wash the gold skirt? Do you have to repress all those pleats afterwards?

    • Sophiewrote:

      Thanks so much Alli! Look, I’m probably not planning on washing the gold skirt ever lol. But it would be a spot clean / dry clean job for sure. Would not put it near any water for fear of losing the pleats!

  • Jessicawrote:

    That is absolutely freakin’ fantastic!

  • THE jupe and co |wrote:

    […] Je voulais ABSOLUMENT me réaliser un jupe dans un tissu doré comme celle de Sophie du blog Ada Spraag (que j’adore !) ou celle de chez Zara. C’est The Sweet mercerie qui a finalement […]

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