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  1. #1
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    Wool Kilt from eBay

    I am getting a kilt bought off eBay. I do not know how it was cared for by the original owner.

    I do know it is wrinkled, I do know it was hand-stitched, also that it is of 8+ yards, and made of either 13 or 16oz wool from Lochcarron about 1997 I was able to chat with the kilt maker.

    If it fits and is in good shape I will need to do at least some cleaning and ironing.

    I have never even threaded a needle so basting is not an option for me personally and also I am very nervous about washing it. I want to be careful but I am afraid it should be really cleaned.

    So I believe I should take it to the cleaners. Does anyone know about one in the Detroit metro area? I do know to tell them no pressing.

    Also I am hoping, in ironing my kilt, I might just get away with the apron. I can do some basic ironing but again it's not my forte and am not confident. Is there a chance the weight and mill of the wool will help me out?

    Any advice is helpful. I have read a bit about it but just hoping for some tips from the forum.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
    I am getting a kilt bought off eBay. I do not know how it was cared for by the original owner.

    I do know it is wrinkled, I do know it was hand-stitched, also that it is of 8+ yards, and made of either 13 or 16oz wool from Lochcarron about 1997 I was able to chat with the kilt maker.

    If it fits and is in good shape I will need to do at least some cleaning and ironing.

    I have never even threaded a needle so basting is not an option for me personally and also I am very nervous about washing it. I want to be careful but I am afraid it should be really cleaned.

    So I believe I should take it to the cleaners. Does anyone know about one in the Detroit metro area? I do know to tell them no pressing.

    Also I am hoping, in ironing my kilt, I might just get away with the apron. I can do some basic ironing but again it's not my forte and am not confident. Is there a chance the weight and mill of the wool will help me out?
    My big concern with a used kilt would be moth holes, which would require reweaving to close. Other than that, send it to the dry cleaners. Dry cleaning, in my experience, works OK. I have never washed any of my kilts or needed to. They have not been cleaned very often either, because I am careful not to get them dirty. My understanding is that dry cleaning on a regular basis may result in deterioration of the straps, which I would think would also be the case with washing. In washing, the recommendation is to use cold water and "Woolite," do the job in your bathtub, hang on it a line, hose off the kilt with cold water then let it dry gradually. You do not need to baste the pleats no matter what you finally decide to do. In my experience with dry cleaning, the kilt comes back with the pleats in place. I have never specified "no ironing," when putting the kilt in the cleaners. Even if they are not in place, it should be simple, given that the sett is stitched into the rear of the kilt, to line them up and press them.

    Disclaimer...while I have been wearing kilts for 35 years, I am not an expert on wool or making kilts. All I can give you is my personal experience. You are likely to get a lot more opinions on this question and some of them are probably going to be different from what I said. Anyway...good luck with the kilt. Wear it a lot, do not shut it up in a dark closet, unattended, during the summer months and you should be able to enjoy it for years.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacRob View Post
    My big concern with a used kilt would be moth holes...
    Anyway...good luck with the kilt. Wear it a lot, do not shut it up in a dark closet, unattended, during the summer months and you should be able to enjoy it for years.
    Thank you for your advice; it is the experience and different points of view that make this forum great!

    I just got it in the mail yesterday and it looks great and the wrinkling was minimal. I can't tell if it is 13 or 16oz but it is very impressive nonetheless.

  4. #4
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    The general consensus here is that dry-cleaners should probably be avoided. First the dry-cleaning solution strips the wool of its lanolin. But equally important, most don't know how to press a kilt and so your pleats will come back all messed up! Basting is important! Basting is important! .. and, in case you missed it, basting is important!

    Two solutions you might like to try. First, try steming your kilt with a hand steamer.... you can pick one up at your local dept store for about $30 and it comes in handy anyway...but especially for your kilt. If you pleats are hanging more or less straight, that might be enough to freshen it up.

    The second alternative would be to find a kilt buddy who will teach you how to baste. Then you just throw it on the tub with a little cold water ...and walk on it. Best way to clean ...apparently.

    My thoughts.

    Robert

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
    Thank you for your advice; it is the experience and different points of view that make this forum great!

    I just got it in the mail yesterday and it looks great and the wrinkling was minimal. I can't tell if it is 13 or 16oz but it is very impressive nonetheless.
    You are welcome. The difference between 16 oz. and 13 oz. is very noticeable when you have two kilts made of different fabric to compare. I only have one 16 oz. kilt and it is quite comfortable, even with the heavier weight. If you got the 16 oz. then you will find that it hangs better and keeps shape better with fewer wrinkles.

    I see you have gotten a second opinion already. Just to restate, my experience is just that, my experience and others may have had other but what I have done has worked for me. My kilts are 34, 23 and 4 years old respectively, still look great and wear well. I have had no problems, including moth holes.

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaid preacher View Post
    The general consensus here is that dry-cleaners should probably be avoided...

    ...try steaming your kilt with a hand steamer.... you can pick one up at your local dept store for about $30 and it comes in handy anyway...but especially for your kilt. If you pleats are hanging more or less straight, that might be enough to freshen it up...

    My thoughts.

    Robert
    Thanks Robert, I do appreciate your thought on this. I actually was wondering about steaming but was worried it might not be good for a kilt.

  9. #7
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    You might consider contacting the Detroit Police and Fire P&D to get their recommendation on where to get it cleaned and pressed. Can't hurt to ask

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  11. #8
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    The best advice I can give is learn to baste. It's not hard. Really it's not.

    Learning how to baste a press a kilt will go a long way towards your enjoyment of your kilt over the years.

    Lay the kilt out on a table or the floor. Notice please that the kilt will not want to lay flat without the pleats splaying out.

    So what you do is lift the top portion that is sewn down. This part is called "The Fell" and is the part that is tapered.



    When you lift the Fell the pleats will now be able to lay flat and parallel.


    Most kilts that have not been basted and pressed will have the pleat crease running all wonky.



    Look at the first pleat up at where the sewing stops. Notice the Tartan pattern at that point. Now insure that the Tartan pattern stays the same distance away from the edge of the pleat all the way down to the bottom hem.

    If it doesn't you may need to steam out the crease and re-crease so that the Tartan line is straight down the pleat.

    Repeat this for all the pleats.



    Then - with a tape measure - find the width of the first and second pleats up at the bottom of the Fell. Pin the second pleat to the first keeping the same width all the way down to the hem.

    Thread a fairly large, long needle with some plain white sewing thread.

    Make large snug but not tight stiches through the first pleat into the second. The idea is not to be super neat but lock the width of the pleats so they don't move around.

    Repeat this process across the back of the kilt. Bast the second to the third and then the third to the fourth.



    As soon as you get all the way across the back of the kilt you can even pick up the kilt and it should stay. All the pleats nice and parallel.


    You can now send your basted kilt to the dry cleaners. Tell them to clean but no press the kilt.

    When you get the kilt home lay it out again. The Fell raised and the pleats nice and parallel.


    Heat up your iron and set to wool with steam. Get a pillow case and a spray bottle of water.
    Lightly mist water on the pleats. Lay the pillow case over the pleats and with the iron Press down. DO NOT MOVE THE IRON OVER THE PLEATS. Lift the iron - set it down - Press down hard.

    The water you sprayed will heat to steam which softens the wool allowing it to take a crease from the pressing.

    Go over the entire back of the kilt. One section at a time. Lift the iron, set it down in a new place - and press down.



    When you are done you will see nice sharp crease edges and the entire back of the kilt will have nice straight and parallel newly pressed pleats.


    You will notice the difference the moment you put your newly pressed kilt on. The back will look like the section of a cylinder. The pleats will lay nice and flat and from a few feet away you should not even notice that there are any pleats.



    This one simple garment care skill will save you a lot of time and money and will insure that your kilt always looks great as you now know how to keep it looking its best, anytime it needs a touch-up.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 2nd November 17 at 02:26 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taskr View Post
    You might consider contacting the Detroit Police and Fire P&D to get their recommendation on where to get it cleaned and pressed. Can't hurt to ask
    Thank you Taskr, that made me think of what should have been an obvious resource - better yet I will ask the Detroit St. Andrew's Society Pipe Band or Windsor (Ontario) Police Pipe band

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    The best advice I can give is learn to baste. It's not hard. Really it's not.

    Learning how to baste a press a kilt will go a long way towards your enjoyment of your kilt over the years....

    ...Heat up your iron and set to wool with steam. Get a pillow case and a spray bottle of water.
    Lightly mist water on the pleats. Lay the pillow case over the pleats and with the iron Press down. DO NOT MOVE THE IRON OVER THE PLEATS. Lift the iron - set it down - Press down hard...
    Thank you Steve. There are many things I learned but sewing wasn't one of them and I have to say I am nervous about it - I might try it on my acrylic first.

    I was wondering too if it mattered which side was ironed? Does it matter inside or outside?

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