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  1. #1
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    Making my first kilt

    I'm making my first kilt (using the art of kilt making) and am facing a couple challenges. Hoping this group can help me out. I've gotten all the advice I needed for my previous highland dance mom costume adventures (making 2 aboynes and a jacket for my dancing daughter) from dance.net, but it looks like this is the site for the big challenge - making a kilt.

    1. I am using double-width fabric. I tore it (based on measurements) and will hide the join near the centre back...however the second piece (for the right of centre back and under apron) is woven more tightly. The first 2 setts match (up and down), and then between there and the selvedge, the second piece is 1/4 inch shorter (or the matching stripe at the end is 1/4 inch away).

    Do I just wet and stretch? Carefully? I don't want to skew it in the wrong area...
    I know slightly shorter is great for the underapron, but want the kilt to look correct across the back.

    2. Does it matter how I join the apron edge when creating the first pleat (pleating to the sett)? The book explains how to choose the centre back pleat and to work backwards marking pleats from there...but I'm not sure that leaves the most flattering/true to set transition from apron to pleats. Do others pay attention to this? Should I?

    Thanks in Advance

  2. #2
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    In my experience, few tartans are exactly the same in two halves of a double width. I've had to deal with tartan that is more than 1/2" wider on one side of the fold than the other. So, I always check to make sure that I use the wider half for the apron and the narrower (more tightly woven half) for the underapron. I inadvertently did the reverse once for a kilt I made for my daughter when I was first making kilts, and the underapron was forever hanging below the top apron because that half about 3/8" wider. *headdesk* So, I always check to make sure I'm using the wider piece for the top apron.

    At the join, you don't have to wet the tartan - just stretch it a bit for the tartan stripes to line up. Pressing will take care of everything else.

    In terms of what part of the tartan falls at the apron edge - that depends on the size of the person and how you've chosen to pleat the kilt. Most of the time, there is little choice given the amount of tartan you have and the size of the person. If the kilt is pleated to the sett, you truly don't have any choice (short of putting in a hidden pleat). If pleating to the stripe, you do have a choice of center apron stripe, and you can, if you want, dink around with what the edge of the apron looks like against the pleats. In all the years I've made kilts, I've only ever had one person who was specific about it. But, to my mind, it truly doesn't matter. My experience is that the kilt will look good regardless.

    Here are a few examples of letting the apron edge be where it needs to be, instead of trying to engineer a "look". Personally, I find them all acceptable. Do they look "seamless" between apron and pleats? No. But remember that the apron edge is going to be a diagonal line in almost all kilts, so the look CAN'T be seamless. And also remember that, once the basting is out, the pleats look very different from the apron, so no one really expects a seamless transition. None of the ones below were engineered for a particular "look" at the edge of the apron.

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...ed-kilt-90859/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...-straps-89726/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...-colors-89109/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...-colors-87967/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...an-kilt-87763/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...ie-kilt-84115/

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...ng-sett-83779/
    Last edited by Barb T; 17th April 17 at 05:35 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

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for your quick and thorough reply. I'm amazed that you take the time to respond to so many people's questions. I really appreciate this.

    I think I'm overthinking every step at this point. I have 2 kilts here that I am referring to, in addition to your book and I think they may have been engineered to approx. align the sett at the bottom of the apron edge (but don't seem to have paid any attention to the centre pleat/centre stripe at the back). So I think that I was trying to follow the instructions in your book, and also have the apron edge look that way...and was trying to figure out if I missed some instructions or if they were just that way by chance, or ... again - overthinking.

    Your response makes sense. I need to stop re-marking where the pleats will be, make a decision and go for it (that is start sewing pleats).

    It sounds like many of my concerns will resolve themselves when I press it all out.

    I'm already thinking that the second kilt will be easier (like the reduced panic with the second child).

  4. #4
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    In kiltmaking this sense of the second child reduced panic is actually the reverse.

    With the first kilt you have a choice. You can actually stop. Put down the needle and thimble and never make another kilt.

    But the moment you even start to think about making a second one, you are doomed. The addiction has already set in and there is nothing you can do.
    Soon you will find excuses outside of Highland dance that a kilt can be worn. Then all the other non-dance Tartans will begin their siren call.

    No longer will you be able to walk into an Italian restaurant without wondering what Tartan that is on the tables. Soon, you will begin looking at pleated butts not for what is in them but to see how the pleats are pressed.

    Run away! Run away! As fast as your legs can carry you. Your life as you have known it is over.

    Lady, put down the needle and step slowly away from the Tartan.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  5. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Steve Ashton For This Useful Post:


  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    Lady, put down the needle and step slowly away from the Tartan.
    Thank you Steve for the belly laugh. But one should not toss the baby out with the bath water just because one admires the wash tub.

    TETrus, everything else Steve says rings true. My guess the second kilt will be a pleasure instead of a task that the first one seemed like. As always with this crowd, photos are encouraged.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TETrus View Post
    I think they may have been engineered to approx. align the sett at the bottom of the apron edge (but don't seem to have paid any attention to the centre pleat/centre stripe at the back).
    Not having a centered back stripe would look really odd. By putting in a hidden pleat, you could engineer a centered front and back stripe and have the sett flow seamlessly from the apron to the pleats when you're pleating to the sett (but only at the very bottom of the apron, as you point out). But, frankly, I don't think it's worth it. Just let the apron edge fall where it does in the sett, and tell yourself not to agonize about it!!!
    Last edited by Barb T; 18th April 17 at 04:45 AM.
    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. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Barb T For This Useful Post:


  9. #7
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    Question

    I'm getting closer...the pleating is done...I'm just trying to finish the hidden pleat (putting me that much closer to the scary cutting part of this process).

    I'm confused about p 125 of TaoK...

    Heading - Finishing the edge of the hidden pleat

    "Stitch the underapron edge that has the hidden pleat"

    ... isn't my hidden pleat in the lower left apron edge?

    Do I need to hide a pleat in my underapron also?

    Thanks!

  10. #8
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    Well hey, lookit that.....you've discovered a typo that no one has caught in 15 years! Should be apron edge. All of the rest of it is right - I just bungled that sentence. Thanks for catching it!
    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

  11. #9
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    Thanks again for the quick reply...still not trusting myself through the process. I have 20 days to finish (alongside the busiest time of year at my full time job) - so I am trying to avoid any errors that will require re-doing sections. Probably everyone else was reading what they expected to see...which I might have done as well if it weren't for the combination of deadline and time constraints.

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