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  1. #1
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    contemporary box pleat kilt: an ongoing thread

    OK, so there are these two guys who are regulars at X Marks the Scot "Beer/Kilt Nights" at the Devils Canyon Brewery, and they hang out with us kilties. One is Jason, good friend of TimC and Tims's Lady, and the other is Dan. Dan is one of the brewers and is married to Goddess #2, Lora. Anyway, it's plain to see that these guys have to get their arses into kilts, but they're just plain too cheap to do it. Harrrumph!

    OK, so I decided a while ago that I would MAKE them kilts, just to see what I could do...sort of "pretend" how fast I could bang out a kilt when in "semi production" mode. Of course, I've only made two, now, so I'm hardly an expert, but what the hey. OK, so at the last Beer/Kilt night, I brought a tape measure and I got Lora to measure up Dan, and we got some sweet young thing to measure Jason. (She was cute, BTW.) way2fractious donated 4 yards of 60-inch material. It's heavy cotton/poly twill, almost canvas weight. It's a light green, almost khaki. Thanks, Mate!

    OK, so much like last time with my hand-sewn, I'm going to document every step of the process of making two kilts, simultaneously to my own design, and how long it all takes. Maybe some of you folks will find this interesting..

  2. #2
    Kilted KT is offline Membership Revoked for repeated rule violations.
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    can't wait to see the in-process pics...I'd love to figure out how to make a kilt....( and find the patience to do so!)

  3. #3
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    OK Jason firmly said he wanted a "narrow apron kilt" after looking over our attendant traditionalls and the two Utilikilts in the crowd. OK, then, narrow apron it shall be. (I didn't give Dan a choice, because I wanted to make them both, basically the same.) Jasons measurements are: waist:33, rump: 40, Drop: 23....... Dans measurement are waist: 43, rump: 45, Drop 24

    Neither has much of what I'd call a "beer gut", in fact Jason is pretty trim, so I decided not to worry about "slope". I gave Dan a hard time about not having a butt...what's this with his butt measurement only 2 inches bigger than his gut?

    Anyway, we did all this at the last beer night, so I'm not gonna count the measurement in the time allotment.

    Last night I sat down and thought about what I could/would make for these guys. I wanted something contemporary with a narrow apron and pleats that go most of the way around. I thought over the options, and strongly considered doing what Utilikilt does, meaning pleats from both sides of the front of the wearer point backwards, and meet in a box pleat at the back. I think Robert at R Kilts does this, too.

    Well, I don't want to copy anybody's design, so I finally decided not to do that. I'd just seen way2fractious's (bluidy gorgeous) box pleated kilt at beer/kilt night, and I thought about that. Would a box pleat be something reasonably easy to stitch up that would be quickly adaptable to various sizes? The answer was yes. By picking a standard size for the pleats (3 inches) being careful about how much material folded UNDER the pleats so that I could work in a correct taper, I had flexibility. I could accomodate both Dan and Jasons sizes by A.) varying the number of box pleats, B.) varying the taper and C.) changing the width of the apron by an inch or two.... but yet stay with basically the same design for both kilts. OK, then box pleat it was.

    I laid out with care the fabric stitch lines. I'm going to prepare a long length of fabric, and then instead of pleat-and-stitch, I'm going to 1) stitch in the velcro that goes on the over-apron so it can't be seen. B.) hem over the right hand edge of the over-apron and then C.) just work my way down the length of fabric, stitching down where the edges of the pleats are GOING to be. Yah, yah, I planned this very carefully, we'll see if I got it right. After it's all stitched, then D.) I fold it up, pin in the tapers, and E.) stitch the pleats down. This means that the fell will be double-stitched, not a bad thing at all. Finally, I will sew the velcro on the inner apron, and voila...Le Kilt, minus little details like belt loops and stuff. BTW, Jasons over-apron is 10 inches wide, Dans is 12 inches wide, and neither have will have any A-shaping to them, they'll be completely straight.

    I dunno if this is going to need a little waistband or not, we'll see when we get there.

    Turns out that by my calculations, these kilts will take about 3.2 yards of material for Jason and 3.5 for Dan, so I have enough to work with, here. I might even have enough for cargo pockets, or something, though I'm not keen on cargo pockets, personally. Maybe I will build in slash pockets....then again, maybe I'll tell the guys to go to the surplus store and buy a cheap fanny pack. We'll see.

    OK, all the design work and adding up numbers and drawing the pleats and figuring out exactly where to stitch etc. etc...alll that thinking took me an hour and 45 minutes.

    Two kilts Design: 1.75 hours.
    Last edited by Alan H; 5th July 06 at 11:24 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilted KT
    can't wait to see the in-process pics...I'd love to figure out how to make a kilt....( and find the patience to do so!)
    I don't have a digital camera! foooie...or I'd document exactly that! Still and all, I'll be describing every single step in gory detail, so everyone will see what I'm up to.
    Last edited by Alan H; 5th July 06 at 11:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Kilted KT is offline Membership Revoked for repeated rule violations.
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    sometimes the details tell more than just the pics...thanks!

  6. #6
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    OK, this morning I worked from about 8:00 - 10:30 on the two kilts, andlast night I washed, dried and pre-ironed the material.. How much time do I have into it?

    Washing and drying 4 yards of double-wide cotton/poly heavy twill: 60 minutes for two kilts, but you know, while the washing machine is going you can always do something, else....like design the kilt! Loading the machine, moving the fabric from the washing machine to the dryer, and then taking it out, inspecting it and folding it up took probably fifteen minutes, so we'll say this step took me 15 minutes.

    ALWAYS wash (on hot) and dry (on hot) your cotton or cotton/poly material before making your kilt. Get all the shrinkage, and dye leakage done BEFORE you start stitching it up!

    OK, this morning I did this:

    Lay out material, measure and cut out fabric: 2 kilts, 30 minutes

    Lock down/serge the raw edge ( 4 yards) so it won't unravel: 1st kilt, 35 minutes, 2nd kilt 20 minutes, so total was 55 minutes.....call it an hour, 60 minutes.

    My Lady's machine has an edge finishing stitch, but I always run in through the machine twice. I really don't want the edge to fray very much! I don't fold it over to hide the raw edge (it's at the bottom of the waistband, 3 inches down from the very top edge of the kilt, and inside of course) because I don't want extra bulk right at that point. I'm guessing that a folded-over edge right there would leave a little bulge in the kilt and besides, my machine will revolt when it hits that line when I'm sewing down the fell. I'd be tryihg to sew through five layers of canvas at thatpoint instead of four. Four is hard enough! Anyway, on the first one I used the serging stitch and then went over that with a zig-zag. The serging stitch eats thread, and is it very slow at moving down the fabric! On the second one I ran a zig-zag along the raw edge, and then went back over it with a tight straight stitch, right down the middle of the zig-zag. That's why it took 20 minutes instead of 35. We'll see if that's as good as the serge/zig-zag at locking down the edge.

    OK, this fabric has a non-kilting selvedge, so I'm gonna have to hem these puppies. That means I need to iron up the edge in the right place, so that then I can pin it and stitch in the hem. I also need to measure up from that point( the bottom edge of the kilt) to the top for the kilts drop (length from waistband to hem). At the top I'm folding over the cloth and ironing it down to form the waistband. OK, to measure and stick in pins to define the fold-over edge for the waistband on both kilts.....15 minutes.

    On to the ironing board! To iron in the fold-over for the waistband and for the hem at the bottom took me 30 minutes for each one...so an hour for both; 60 minutes.

    ONGOING TOTAL: 285 minutes, or four hours and forty-five minutes....remember, I'm making two kilts simultaneously.
    Last edited by Alan H; 5th July 06 at 12:04 PM.

  7. #7
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    Alan, looking forward to another excellent series of threads. I am interested in seeing how the time compares between a contemporary, box pleated kilt and your experience with a traditional kilt. Being a confirmed electronics junkie (and packrat!) I actually have an older digital camera laying around. Nothing fancy, but it takes pictures and they can be posted to photobucket or some such. Hit me with a PM and I can work out to get it to you. My donation to the Alan H Kilt Making Research Foundation (AHKMRF)!
    The kilt concealed a blaster strapped to his thigh. Lazarus Long

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H
    Jasons measurements are: waist:33, rump: 40, Drop: 23
    Dans measurements are: waist: 43, rump: 45, Drop 24
    ... what's this with his butt measurement only 2 inches bigger than his gut?
    Jason is single and Dan is married, you say?

    Hmm...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex_Tremende
    Jason is single and Dan is married, you say?

    Hmm...
    That's pretty funny...I got a good laugh out of that when I read it. *grin*

    Just for reference, the first kilt I made was a caramel canvas kilt. I had no clue what I was doing, basically I just stared at one of Rocky's Casuals and imitated that. The only differences between mine and a USA Kilts casual were that I put in a reverse pleat and I fringed the over-apron edge. I had no clue what to do with tapering the fell, or anything. In fact, I should have sewn downthe fell about another 2 inches longer than I did, but what the heck. It took me 19 hours of flying by the seat of my kilt (ha!) to make that garment.

    I then made a completely traditional, essentially entirely hand-sewn wool kilt that has 27 pleats, plus the reverse pleat. I followed Barbs instructions closely. The only significant difference between what Barb has you do, and what I did is that I made a "Matt Newsome Special" INSIDE buckle on the left side of the kilt, instead of the usual "strap through the slit in the waistband" left-side closure. Personally, I am sold on this method, and way2fractious used it on his box-pleat kilt with great success, too. The hand-sewn traditional took me 67 hours to construct.

    I'm hoping to bang out these box pleat contemporaries, minus pockets, in about 18 hours for two kilts....or nine hours each. We'll see.

  10. #10
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    I've decided on a slight change of focus for this project. Aftr I make these two, I'm going to take what I've learned and make two more. I'll take pics of the process, write it up and build a website, and put a .pdf file of the whole thing there for download.

    The X-Kilt
    MAKE YOUR OWN KILT; FOR THE COMPLEAT IDJIT

    The goal is to develop the easiest-possible-to-sew-yourself contemporary kilt, without swiping too much of anything from any of our professional kiltmakers. The more I think about it, the box-pleat, narrow apron kilt fills this bill admirably.

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