How I Made My Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt

Chardon facing -

Chardon skirt - belt - left side -

When I finish a garment I usually do a post that shows the completed garment and all the steps I took to make it. But that can make for a r-e-a-l-l-y long post. So I posted Finished: My First Chardon Skirt earlier this week and today how I made my Deer and Doe Chardon skirt, which was one of my sewcation projects.

I got my Chardon sewing pattern at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, which carries many indie patterns – everything from Christine Haynes and Sew Liberated to Sewaholic and Thread Theory. And Bay Area Sewist members get a 20 percent discount at the store on meetup days! Naturally, I bought my Deer and Doe Chardon pattern on a meetup day. (If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting, be sure to check out the Bay Area Sewists meetup page.)

The Chardon features a high waist and inverted box pleats. There are two versions – one with a contrast band at the bottom and a bow in the back (version A) and the other one has belt loops (version B). The line drawing doesn’t do it justice. Frankly when I first saw the pattern, I didn’t think that much of it. It was hard to visualize what it would look like. But when I saw this lovely linen version by Camille of Attack of the Seam Ripper, I thought, oh, I need that pattern! I want those pleats!

Chardon skirt by Camille of Attack of the Seam Ripper

During my sewcation I wanted to use something from my stash and when I ran across this floral fabric, which I got from my mom’s closet more than year ago, it said “Choose me!” Pink has never been one of my favorite colors – even as a young girl I resented the idea that I was supposed to like pink because I was a girl – but I like this bright pink, orange, and green against a black background. The colors really pop. So I do make exceptions. (This isn’t the best photo because I shot it indoors.)

Floral twill fabric -

OK, moving on to the details! (Note: You can click on the photos to see a larger image.)

Here’s my list of materials – I put [brackets] around things that are my additions or changes to the pattern’s supply list:

  • Cotton twill fabric with a touch of Lycra (Pattern calls for 1 1/3 yard of 60″ or 1 2/3 y of 45″ wide. I had about 2 yards of 60″ wide so I’m going to use the extra as contrast bands on two more Chardons, one black and one lime green!)
  • Black thread (I had a couple of spools of black Coats & Clark – bought on sale at JoAnn’s a while back.)
  • 70/10 Schmetz needle
  • black stretch fusible interfacing for facing [I used interfacing with a little stretch because my fabric has lycra in it. I got it a Discount Fabrics in San Francisco.]
  • [Invisible] zipper [I used an invisible zipper because that’s what I had on hand.]
  • Bias tape for hem – 25 cents – I got some vintage bias hem tape from East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.
  • [Design Plus bias fusible stay tape to reinforce area around zipper]

The pattern calls for “medium weight, soft fabrics like lightweight twill, linen, denim or chambray.” Well, my twill was a bit on the heavy side, but I didn’t think it would be a problem, plus I liked the fact that it has a little stretch. If I overindulged at a meal, then the waist could stretch to accommodate any, ahem, waist expansion.

I contemplated not using any interfacing because the fabric was a bottom weight but then I thought, well, the waist area gets a lot of wear and tear so I decided to use some of this stretch fusible interfacing.

black stretch fusible interfacing -

It doesn’t stretch much but then, my fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch either so it’s a good match.

I cut out a size 44. For my first Chardon, I made version B, but without the belt loops or the contrast band at the bottom. The only adjustment I made was to make the skirt a little longer and the pockets a little deeper. I have long fingers and when I placed my hand over the pocket pattern piece, I decided I needed to add some length.

chardon skirt pocket -

So when traced the pattern, I went a little long in the pocket, which you can see here.

Making Chardon skirt pocket bigger -

After I cut my pattern pieces (skirt front and back, pockets, facing) it was time to mark the pleats. I decided to use my Pilot Frixion erasable pen. The pen erases with friction or heat. You can just iron over the pen marks and they disappear, seemingly like magic. (I posted about the Frixion pens in 2013, when I first learned about them.)

Marking pleats on Chardon skirt -

Before I pinned my pleats, I attached my pockets and finished the edges of the pockets and side seams.
To match up the 3-inch pleat lines, I put pins at the top of each pleat, like so…

Use pins to line up pleats - chardon skirt -

And then lined up the pins for each pleat. If you look closely, you can see there are two pinheads next to each other.

Line up pleats on Chardon skirt -

Then I pinned each pleat along the lines with the pin heads going from bottom to top so I can pull them out as I sew.

Pleats pinned to sew - chardon skirt -

After you sew the pleats, you open it up so that it’s centered over the seam. I inserted a point turner inside the pleat to open it up and then pressed it. The instructions don’t mention pressing here but you should press it so you’ll have a nice edge to guide the next step.

Center the pleat over the seam -

Then you need to stitch 1/4″ along each side of the pleat seam to hold the pleat in place. Here you can see the pleat seam just to the left of the my sewing machine foot.

Reinforce pleat on Chardon skirt -

It’ll look like this. Here I’m flipping up the right side of this pleat – the stitch near by thumb is the reinforcement line of stitching, the other line of stitches is the pleat stitch. If I flip it down, it’ll look like the inverted box pleat on the left – the two lines of stitches above my hand are the reinforcement stitches.

Reinforcement stitches for pleats -

Here’s what the pleats look like on the right side.

Chardon skirt - inverted box pleats -

After I fused the interfacing to the facing, I pinned it to the waist, lining up the side seams.

Chardon facing pinned to waist -

This was then I realized the fabric was pretty thick where the pleats were because there were about four layers of fabric in those areas – the right side, the folded box pleat two layers, and the facing. I should have used a lighter fabric for the facing. Oh, well.

Chardon skirt - facing thickness -

I understitched the facing, which is not mentioned in the instructions but it helps to keep the facing in place. (Here’s a link to a understitching tutorial on Coletterie.)

Understitching onChardon Skirt -

I graded the seams at the pleats as close to the seams as possible to help with this thickness and pinked the rest. Oh, and I decided to finish the facing edge with seam tape, which you can see in the above photo and below. It looks pretty sloppy below – and it turns out it wasn’t such a great idea because seam tap doesn’t have any stretch so when I’m wearing the skirt, it pulls a little and creates a slight line where the seam tape is. I only noticed this when I wore it to work. I may just cut if off and finish it with a zig zag stitch or cover it with bias tape.

Chardon skirt - fusible bias tape -

I fused a strip of fusible bias tape along the seam line of my invisible zipper – that’s the black strip you see above. I’ve had RTW skirts where the fabric around the invisible zipper got a little frayed so I wanted to make it a little stronger there.

I installed the invisible zipper – the pattern uses a regular one but I like the idea of hiding it. One side went in easily but I had problems with the other side. I discovered that the little plastic thing at the top was slightly off and prevented the teeth from staying in the groove of my invisible zipper foot. I took a pair of sharp craft scissors and trimmed it down and then it went in fine. (whew!)

The directions to press the pockets toward the front but I wanted to press open the side seams so I clipped one side of the seam allowance so I could do that.

Chardon pockets -

This skirt uses bias tape to finish the hem, which I had never done with a skirt hem. I usually fold, press, and hand sew the hem.

I looked through my bias tape and saw that I had this really wide vintage bias tape – 100 percent mercerized cotton.

Vintage hem facing tape -

Look at the label on the back, which says it’s for “lengthening skirts” and as “facing or band trim on apparel, curtains, bedspreads, draperies, etc.” It was a bit shiny where the fold was or I might have used it as a contrast band at the bottom.

Vintage facing label -

On the other side of the label, there’s an offer for bits of Wrights trimmings for doll’s clothes in exchange for 3 labels and 50 cents.

vintage hem facing label -

Here’s close-up shot of the hem facing. I unfolded it, pinned the edge to the skirt hem and sewed it to the skirt.

vintage hem facing -

After I sewed one side to the skirt edge, I pressed the hem tape and then hand stitched it in place. I really like this way of finishing a skirt hem. I think I’ll use it more often.

Press hem facing - Chardon skirt -

And I was done!

Chardon skirt - front -



This was an easy pattern to sew. Now I want to make more Chardon skirts! I’ve cut a maxi version from this African wax print, which I’m going to line instead of using a facing. I hope to sew it soon!

Dutch wax print -

Author: Chuleenan

Chuleenan sews, collects hats and shoes, and is a fabric addict. She is also the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group.

4 thoughts on “How I Made My Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt”

  1. This is gorgeous, thank you for sharing such detailed construction notes!! I do love reading them 😉
    And your ‘not pink’ floral fabric is fabulous 😉

    1. Thank you! I’m really happy with this skirt. I thought I would save the fabric to make pants but the Chardon beckoned! Glad you like the notes – sometimes I think I get a little too detailed. 😉

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