Four different styles for completely different looks!
A chair can have many variations and skirts are just one way to change the look. There are kick pleated skirts, boxed pleated skirts, gathered skirts and one of my favorites is the dressmaker or sometimes called waterfall skirt. Let’s talk about which one might work best for your piece.
It’s like adding interfacing to a collar
The most classic skirt style for upholstery is the kick pleat skirt. This skirt style has simple lines and is very clean-looking. A kick pleat skirt is just what the name suggests, a flat panel with a kick pleat between each skirt piece. Each component is sewn separately and fully lined. You will find this type of skirt typically has a stiffener called skirtex in between the layers. Using skirtex is similar to putting interfacing in a collar.
The gathered skirt adds a bit of romance and femininity to an upholstered piece
A soft romantic skirt style is a gathered skirt. These tend to be full and add a more feminine look to your piece. This gathered skirt style takes the most fabric as you are pretty much doubling the measurements around the base of your upholstered chair or couch. The Gathered Skirt will also need a lining but will not have any stiffener. To fabricate this style skirt a sewing machine with a zigzag stitch and a spool of dental floss are good tools to have on hand.
This gathered skirt is pictured on a slipcover project.
Boxy and fun for a more casual look
Box pleated skirts offer more of a country or casual look to your piece. This style was very popular when I first started upholstering but has become less common at the moment. The box pleated skirt also takes a lot more fabric than a kick pleated skirt but not quite as much as the gathered style skirts do. This type can be sewn into box pleats beforehand or created as you pleat them on the furniture piece. Again they are fully lined without adding any skirtex.
(the gold chair pictured is a slipcovered piece)
The most elegant of all upholstered styles is the dressmaker’s skirt
Now if you want a touch of class and elegance this final skirt will most likely be your choice, this one is my favorite. This style is called a Dressmaker’s or Waterfall Skirt. There are many details you can add to this type if you choose, but I feel this style makes a statement all on its own. The chair pictured below has what we call a T-Deck. This deck type does make the dressmaker skirt a bit more time-consuming as it is necessary to create miters in not only the deck but the top skirt as well as the flap on the front corners. You will notice that the sides and back of this chair are actually a part of the skirt making for a very sophisticated sleek look! A dressmaker’s skirt actually takes less fabric because you are creating the whole outsides and skirt all at once.
How To Add A Dressmaker Skirt To Your Upholstery Project is included in our Online Classes!
When you get ready to choose the perfect upholstered skirt for your piece remember that you will not only be adding more yardage to your fabric needs but also time to complete your piece. A basic kick pleated skirt can add close to 2 yards and 2 hours of time to your project.
I would love to have you share pictures of your completed projects with me in our community or in Kim’s DIY Upholstery Hangout group on Facebook if you are not already a member!
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