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  1. #1
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    Need help with pleat stiching

    First off, thanks for the add! I'll try not to worry you all with questions while I make my first kilt using the book!

    My first question is in regards to making pleats, I've tried several times to follow the step-by-step staring on page 72 and I keep on being a total failure.

    I am doing a military pleat with an edge stripe as the center of the pleat. If I understand the instructions I measure 1/2 of the waist split off the center of the of the stripe and pin down the fabric. I then fold the fabric to the next pleat, and sew down the pleat with edge stitching, through the "top" pleat and into the second (bottom) pleat (through 4 layers of fabric. When I've done this and try to measure the next pleat, I can't make any adjustments to the pleat being created as I've sewn it down with the previous pleat.

    What am I doing wrong? And sorry if this isn't clear, its hard to describe what it is I don't understand.

    Thanks

    Jon

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  2. #2
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    Let me see if I can help.

    The way we calculate pleat size is to take the rear hip split and divide that by the number of pleats. The number of pleats is usually determined by a couple of factors such as how much fabric is available, the size of the Tartan pattern (The Sett size) how the fabric will be folded into pleats (Box Pleats vs Knife Pleats vs Kinguisse, vs Military box pleats etc.) And finally by the if the fabric is pleated to Sett or to the Stripe.

    On average a Traditional style kilt will have pleats between 5/8 inch and 1 inch. 3/4 inch is very common. The pleats in your photo appear to be tiny in comparison.

    We use the hip measurement not the waist measurement to determine the pleat size. We then taper each pleat from the hip size down to the waist size.

    We do all of this with calculations before we start sewing. We know the size of the apron facings, the width of the aprons, and the depth of the deep and reverse pleats. If you subtract these from the total amount of fabric available the remainder is what you have to work with to create the pleats.

    You should be able to count the number of Setts in the remainder. If you are pleating to the Stripe you can count the number of stripes that remain. This will give you the number of pleats.

    Divide the hip rear split measurement by the number of pleats and you have the width of each pleat at the hip. Divide the rear waist split measurement by the same number of pleats and you have the width of each pleat where your will fit the top strap. For the rise above the top strap you will simple go straight up the same width as at the waist.

    Now that you know the width of each pleat at the hips and the width of each pleat at the waist you can begin sewing.

    If you are following the directions in "The Art of Kiltmaking" you fold the first pleat to the hip width. Fold the second pleat to the hip width. Sew the first pleat to the second tapering both pleats as you work your way up to the waist hip width.

    Then pick up the third pleat. Fold it to the hip width and start sewing the second pleat to the third. Tapering to the waist as you go.

    Does this help explain the process?
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  3. #3
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    Here is a kilt to give you a visual example.

    This kilt is made from 16oz fabric in the Black Watch Tartan, Weathered version.

    This kilt is pleated to the black stripe which is present twice in each Sett.



    The waist rear split of this kilt is 17 inches or 43.18cm
    The hip rear split of the kilt is 25.5 inches or 64.8cm.

    I had a lot of this fabric and because I was not limited by a particular amount of fabric I could use as much fabric as I want. I chose to make 34, 3/4 inch (1.9cm) pleats.

    Each pleat is tapered from 1.9cm at the hip to 1.27cm at the waist.

    I sewed the first pleat to the second holding 1.9cm in each pleat. When that was done I picked up the third pleat, held its width to 1.9cm and sewed the second to the third.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  4. #4
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    Please notice in my kilt above that the same stripe goes right down the middle of each pleat.

    In your photo I assume that the fabric with the basting is the apron edge and that you then have three pleats.

    The first pleat does no appear to have the same center element as the next two. The second appears to have the white stripe along or near the edge. And the third appears to have the white stripe centered.

    Am I seeing this correctly?

    I guess my confusion comes from the terms you are using. You write that you are doing "a military pleat with an edge stripe as the center of the pleat".

    I assume that what you meant to say, and how it is described in TAoK, is " Knife Pleating to Stripe using the white stripe with red element to the right".
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the insight, but I think I've confused everyone due to my confusion!

    I am not working with a tartan, nor wool material, it's just a plaid that I like of some material. The photo I posted was more to show the pattern than anything else since by the time the picture was taken I knew I screwed up and was just practicing my stitching.

    I desire to do a knife pleat to stripe (the black-white-red-white-black) under my right-hand finger

    My waist is 39 and hip is 43, apron 20 at waist 21 at the hip, pleats 19/22 and I have 32 pleats. Fell is 8 inches, pleat size at waist 19/32 inches and 11/16 inches at the hip.

    If you are following the directions in "The Art of Kiltmaking" you fold the first pleat to the hip width. Fold the second pleat to the hip width. Sew the first pleat to the second tapering both pleats as you work your way up to the waist hip width.

    Then pick up the third pleat. Fold it to the hip width and start sewing the second pleat to the third. Tapering to the waist as you go.

    I think I understand the concept, but the execution seems to elude me! I've pinned the first waist pleat at 1/2 of the 19/32 (from the right side of the red stripe), I then fold that over to the next pleat location and pick up the first and second pleat in my left hand and stitch up from waist (1/2 of 11/16 from the right side of the red stripe) to the waist, stitch through 4 layers of fabric. When completed I moved on to the next pleat, trying to pin it down like mentioned above, but since I've stitched through 4 layers of fabric I have a "loop" such that I can't center the stripe without "bunching". That is my problem.

  6. #6
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    If I understand correctly, the wide red stripe should be in the center of each pleat, with the white and black stripes on each side of the center. I haven't run your numbers, but let's suppose that your 19/32 at the waist and 11/16 at the hips are correct. I'm not sure why you're measuring only half that width when you pin a pleat. The whole pleat should be 11/16 at the hip and 19/32 at the waist, and the center of the red stripe should be centered in the pleat both at the waist and the bottom of the fell (at the hip).

    You should start by folding the first pleat at the full pleat width at the waist and the hip, with the red stripe centered all along the pleat, and then stitch the edge of the apron to both layers of the pleat that you have folded. And yes, once you have sewn that, there is no way that change the size of that pleat, which is why it's important to get it right in the first place. After stitching the first one, you'll fold the next pleat at the full width at both hip and waist, with the red stripe centered, and then stitch the edge of the first pleat to both thicknesses of the pleat that you have folded.

    Or maybe I don't understand your question??
    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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    OK, let's go back to how the book describes things.

    Here is just an idea you could try.

    For a kilt with a waist of 39 and hips of 43 we figure out the splits. 1/2 of 38 = 19.5 and 1/2 of 43 = 21.5. So I would pick splits of around 20/19 & 21/22. or even 20/19 & 20/23.

    The apron taper will take up the difference.

    With a hip back split of 22 I would create 22 - 1 inch reveal pleats. These would then taper to the waist of 19/22=.863 or pretty close to 7/8 inch. (This is why I converted over and use metric.)

    Pick up the first pleat and pin it so that your element is centered in a 1 inch width at the hip. (The center of your center element is 1/2 inch from the pleat edge)

    Pin your taper into the this first pleat gradually to the 7/8 inch at the waist. ( The center element is now 7/16 inch from the edge of the pleat.

    Now pin the second pleat exactly the same as the first. Don't try to pin the second to the first just duplicate in the second exactly what you did on the first.

    then lay the first pleat on top of the second so that the second pleat shows 1 inch at the bottom of the 8 inch Fell and shows 7/8 inch 2 inches down from the top of the kilt.

    Stitch pleat one to pleat two.

    Now, when you are done pick up pleat three and pin it exactly the same as you did for 1 and 2. Pin pleat two onto pleat three just as you did two to one. Stitch pleat two to pleat three.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  8. #8
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    Barb,

    Yes, the wide red stripe should be in the center of each pleat. I am measuring only half the pleat width because on page 74 first column under the illustrations it says that if the pleat is 1/2 inch at the waist, for example, the center of the stripe should be exactly 1/4 inch from the edge of the fold. Is this where I'm messing up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    If I understand correctly, the wide red stripe should be in the center of each pleat, with the white and black stripes on each side of the center. I haven't run your numbers, but let's suppose that your 19/32 at the waist and 11/16 at the hips are correct. I'm not sure why you're measuring only half that width when you pin a pleat. The whole pleat should be 11/16 at the hip and 19/32 at the waist, and the center of the red stripe should be centered in the pleat both at the waist and the bottom of the fell (at the hip).

    You should start by folding the first pleat at the full pleat width at the waist and the hip, with the red stripe centered all along the pleat, and then stitch the edge of the apron to both layers of the pleat that you have folded. And yes, once you have sewn that, there is no way that change the size of that pleat, which is why it's important to get it right in the first place. After stitching the first one, you'll fold the next pleat at the full width at both hip and waist, with the red stripe centered, and then stitch the edge of the first pleat to both thicknesses of the pleat that you have folded.

    Or maybe I don't understand your question??

  9. #9
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    Maybe you'e misinterpreting what's on pg. 72? The center of the red stripe must be in the center of the pleat. If the red stripe is, for example 1/4" across, and the pleat needs to be 1" across total at the waist, the center of the red stripe must be 1/2" from each edge of the pleat. That puts your black and white stripes plus 1/8" of the red stripe into one half of the pleat and 1/8" of the red stripe plus the black and white stripes on the other side of the red into the other half of the pleat.

    That's the only way that the stripe can be centered and have the pleat be 1" across over all. If that's still not clear, let me know. Note: I picked 1" just for an easy example. I realize that's not the size of the pleats that you have.
    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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    Thanks, Barb and Steve!

    I've ripped the thread out (will be an expert at that by the end of this project) and will start over in about a week as I'll be going on vacation, so you're safe for a week!

    Thank you so much for the help so far!

    Jon

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