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  1. #1
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    The Art of Kiltmaking

    I am considering purchasing the Art of Kiltmaking and am curious as to the experiences (good, bad or just plain ugly) anyone else has had with the book.

    Based on everything I've read here at Xmarks I've already presumed that the book is excellent and a worthy purchase so that's not my angle at all.

    What I'm wondering is if it's geared towards someone like me with just rudimentary sewing experience (i.e. simple darning, button sewing, seam repair and a middle school home economics class which included sewing pillows. The latter example was some time ago - I'm 48).

    I'd love to attend a Kilt Camp but my funds and time constraints prevent that for the time being.

    I guess I'm asking if it's something that even I can follow along to and, with some work and attention to detail, come out with a nice kilt.

    Thanks in advance!

    Mark
    At a time like this one must ask themselves, 'WWJDD"
    What Would Jimmy Durante Do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    25th September 04
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    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    I would say that the best answer to your question would be a question in return.

    What type of kilt are you wanting to make?

    "The Art of Kiltmaking" teaches one style of kilt. It is the Iconic kilt as taught at Gordon & Sons.

    If you want to make a kilt where the waist fits at somewhere other than the anatomical waist -
    If you want to make a kilt from a fabric other than Wool Tartan -
    If you want to make a kilt for rugged wear like hiking etc. -
    Or if you want pockets in your kilt -

    Then perhaps you may wish to look at "The X-kilt manual"
    Or The Hand Crafted Contemporary Kilt" when it is published later this year.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    I would say that the best answer to your question would be a question in return.

    What type of kilt are you wanting to make?

    "The Art of Kiltmaking" teaches one style of kilt. It is the Iconic kilt as taught at Gordon & Sons.

    If you want to make a kilt where the waist fits at somewhere other than the anatomical waist -
    If you want to make a kilt from a fabric other than Wool Tartan -
    If you want to make a kilt for rugged wear like hiking etc. -
    Or if you want pockets in your kilt -

    Then perhaps you may wish to look at "The X-kilt manual"
    Or The Hand Crafted Contemporary Kilt" when it is published later this year.
    Thanks for the follow up questions. In order:
    I'm finding my kilts at the anatomical waist (belly button) very comfortable and natural fit.
    There are several tartans I have my eye on that seem to only come in wool but I like the PV material that USAK uses.
    I don't do much rugged hiking - walks through the woods; sure. A tip-toe through the tulips; you bet.
    Pockets not required. I'm finding my sporran is pocket enough.

    In short, I like the traditional kilt style.

    I do not own a sewing machine so I'd starting out by hand. I wouldn't be adverse to buying one eventually.

    Thanks so much for your feedback!

    Mark
    At a time like this one must ask themselves, 'WWJDD"
    What Would Jimmy Durante Do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Then "The Art of Kiltmaking" is the book for you. There simply is no better reference for the making of a traditional style kilt.

    I would suggest that if you have not sewn before that you pay a visit to you local sewing or fabric store.

    You want to find a assortment package of hand sewing needles, a thimble that fits comfortably on your middle finger (or find Barb's post on making a leather thimble) and a small spool of Gutterman 100% Polyester thread.

    Then practice stitching. You do not need kilt wool to practice on. Any fabric will work. You are practicing needle work. Try different sized needles from the package and you will find one that is comfortable for you.

    Hand stitching is a technique. You use your thumb and first finger to guide the point of the needle into and out of the fabric where you want it to go.
    Then push the needle from behind with the thimble. You do not pull the needle.

    This technique is simple when you see it done but takes a lot of words to explain. It is one fluid motion. Guide the point of the needle - then push it through from behind. You re-position your fingers so you catch the needle as it come out of the fabric.

    The work is done with the thimble and when practicing the goal is to develop a - one smooth, fluid motion. Guide the point in accurately, push with the thimble - and then catch it as it comes out.

    There are just four stitches needed to sew a kilt.
    The Fell Stitch - for the pleats and the liner.
    The Catch Stitch - for the apron facings and the apron tips.
    The Pick Stitch - for the fringe
    and The Pad stitch - for the interfacing and stabilizer.

    The easiest is to search youtube for video on these four stitches.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 23rd July 18 at 10:32 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    8th October 12
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    TAoK is a great book. You will want to read it through once, just to get it all down in your head, and then read it again as a manual. (Extra readings will not be a waste.) The skill set is fairly straightforward. I'm not a tailor, but found it fairly easy to follow. There are several steps that just require a great act of courage. So make sure you measurements are correct and that you have done everything correctly and LEAP. And Barb is wonderful at tolerating simple questions..as are folks on the forum. It is definitely helpful if you can attend Kilt Kamp as you do the first one. You are surrounded by folks who are in the same boat and supportive. IT's a great help.

    (ps - I am left-handed and that does cause a certain amount of challenge, as everything is upside down and backwards.... but we simply improvise, adapt and overcome)

  6. #6
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    Thank you!
    I went ahead and ordered the book. I do plan on reading it all the way through at least once. I will certainly check out the great all-knowing You Tube for the four basic stitches mentioned by Steve. I also plan on getting some inexpensive material and just practicing for a bit - maybe make a dummy kilt or something.

    I've done a few woodworking projects around the house; built-in book case; kitchen bench with built in storage (seat lifts up with a locking hinge and doors on the front); a back bar (ummmm for my mixology collection); a wall-mounted collapsible sideboard; even a wood stand for an IPad which can attach to a standard camera tripod. All without any real experience in woodworking outside of middle school shop classes. I figure if I can do that I can do this! Especially with the great advice and support of this group.

    Any more advice is most welcome - no point (pun intended) is too small - for example, Steve's advice on pushing rather than pulling the needle - just what I need.
    At a time like this one must ask themselves, 'WWJDD"
    What Would Jimmy Durante Do?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    25th September 04
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    From one sinister stitcher to another -



    Improvise, Adapt, & Ovecome about sums up my entire life in kiltmaking.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  8. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to The Wizard of BC For This Useful Post:


  9. #8
    Join Date
    30th November 04
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    For those who are interested in ordering The Art of Kiltmaking after reading this thread:

    I'm in the final stages of resolving a major issue with my online shopping cart vendor (details don't bear repeating, but it's been over 6 months...), and you can order the book from a number of vendors:

    In the US:
    In Canada: https://www.tartantown.com/products/...-of-kiltmaking

    In the UK: http://www.staonlineshop.co.uk/produ...iltmaking.aspx

    In Germany: https://kiltsandmore.com/various/boo...:c385:len.html
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  10. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Barb T For This Useful Post:


  11. #9
    Join Date
    7th September 14
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    Tobinn, our skills are likely similar given your listing - I'm confident you made the correct choice getting the book. I have it and have been using it to refine those rudimentary skills in preparing for my first kilt.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    8th November 17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    For those who are interested in ordering The Art of Kiltmaking after reading this thread:

    I'm in the final stages of resolving a major issue with my online shopping cart vendor (details don't bear repeating, but it's been over 6 months...), and you can order the book from a number of vendors:

    In the US:
    In Canada: https://www.tartantown.com/products/...-of-kiltmaking

    In the UK: http://www.staonlineshop.co.uk/produ...iltmaking.aspx

    In Germany: https://kiltsandmore.com/various/boo...:c385:len.html
    My order from Celtic Croft shipped yesterday. Very much looking forward to receiving my very own copy.
    At a time like this one must ask themselves, 'WWJDD"
    What Would Jimmy Durante Do?

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