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  1. #1
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    Cautionary tale about hemming a dress tartan

    Grrr snarl. I'll tell you my tale of frustration from today in the hopes that it saves someone else the lost hours that I just spent.

    I'm making a kilt from a fairly light weight dress tartan that doesn't have a kilting selvedge. I got all the pleats done, did the back join, turned up the hem, stitched the hem, and started to press the crease at the bottom of the kilt. That's when I noticed that the dark stripe that I had turned up in the hem ghosted through the white block in the front. You can see it easily in the scan below - at the top, it looks like there's a dirty gray stripe - that's the ghost of the black/purple/orange stripe showing through.



    I'm used to working with Dalgliesh dress tartans, which are heavy enough that the white is opaque and you don't have to worry about where you turn the hem up. This stuff is lighter, and the white is a bit translucent. Grr snarl.

    Anyway, the only solution to this particular problem was to take the entire kilt apart - yes, all the pleats, everything, cut about an inch off the tartan, and lay the kilt out again with the hem fold in the middle of the dark stripe. The kilt won't have quite as deep a hem, but it's still plenty deep enough. So much for everything that I did yesterday....

    So, moral of this story is to check what the hem edge will look like _before_ you lay out the kilt. But, this is a good illustration that you can, in fact, undo everything up until you cut out the pleats.

    Grr snarl....
    Last edited by Barb T; 30th June 17 at 01:16 PM.
    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

  2. #2
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Christina Young tartan? (A replica of this arisaid woven c. 1726 is on display in our museum, pictured below).


  3. #3
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    Yup! It will be a beautiful kilt when it's done!
    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

  4. #4
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    Here's an old sewing (not necessarily kiltmaking) tip for hems that bleed through. Try using a thin, opaque interfacing/interlining inside the hem fold. It might not work with kilts because it adds another layer when there's already so much fabric with the pleats, but maybe it's worth a try.

    Of course, Barb's caution:
    check what the hem edge will look like _before_ you lay out the kilt
    is the best advice!
    .
    The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.

  5. #5
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    I had to laugh a bit. When I look at the main page, some of the thread titles get cut off. When I looked at this thread title I thought it was a caution about lemmings! LOL

    Sorry you had to redo your work Barb. I've done things like that before, and while it's a pain, it also shows what a professional and perfectionist you are.

    Cheers!!
    The Kilted Ref

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldisimo View Post
    Here's an old sewing (not necessarily kiltmaking) tip for hems that bleed through. Try using a thin, opaque interfacing/interlining inside the hem fold. It might not work with kilts because it adds another layer when there's already so much fabric with the pleats, but maybe it's worth a try.
    That's a really good idea for the apron of the kilt. It wouldn't work in the pleats because of bulk (as you say), but for a dancer, the front is the part of the kilt that's going to be most obvious on stage. Sometimes it might be completely unavoidable to have a dark stripe behind a white block in a hem (either because of the layout of the tartan or because you're putting a hem up or down), and that would at least solve the problem in the apron. I'll remember that one!
    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

  7. #7
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    Update - pleats are back in the kilt, and I'm almost back to where I was at noon yesterday.
    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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T. View Post
    Update - pleats are back in the kilt, and I'm almost back to where I was at noon yesterday.
    You're fast as a lightning!

    I find idea of using the interfacing in the hem as a useful one even in the pleated area (this was my first thinking). As long as the interfacing is soft. It would add a bit of weight to the hem on such light kilt.
    I like the breeze between my knees

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mipi View Post
    I find idea of using the interfacing in the hem as a useful one even in the pleated area (this was my first thinking). As long as the interfacing is soft. It would add a bit of weight to the hem on such light kilt.
    Trouble with using it in the pleats is that adding extra fabric makes it really hard to press the pleats without leaving a ridge at the top of the hem because it's so much thicker than the rest of the kilt.
    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. #10
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    Putting the interfacing into the hem would have worked pretty good without leaving a ridge at all.

    I've hemmed a kilt in this tartan so I know first hand how thin this is. You can see the kilt posted in the Heraldry and Tartans forum.

    Actually, what I'd really do is use a strip of thin non-fusible interfacing that was 1/2" wider than the hem. I would then pink one edge using my rotary cutter with the pinking blade. Lay the strip inside the hem so that the non-pinked edge was against the fold. With the hem folded up, the interfacing would be sticking out of the hem by 1/2". Then I'd sew the hem as usual through the interfacing, ignoring the interfacing as it were. When you press the hem, you'll not see a ridge at all as the hem and the interfacing are graduated. The pinked edge of the interfacing would not leave a ridge.

    There's some very thin interfacing available on the market these days. Just make sure it's a non-fusible!
    Last edited by Dixiecat; 19th March 09 at 12:29 PM. Reason: more info

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