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  1. #1
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    To pin or not to pin!

    Hi all,

    On a number of occasions, people have asked about pinning pleats before stitching. In my book, the instructions are to use only one pin (at the waist), and to stitch without any other pins in the pleat. This is the way that Elsie was taught, and it's the way that she taught me, and those instructions were non-negotiable when I wrote the book.

    BUT!!! I have confessed to many people that I pin every pleat before I stitch. I discovered very early on that I make better pleats that way, and I take out fewer of them. This "confession" seems to have been really important to people and has let them do better kilts without feeling guilty about pinning, so I'm making a full post on the issue here.

    Personally, I think the business of whether pleats are pinned or not is a complete red herring. Someone who pins a pleat before stitching is adding maybe 3 or 4 extra pins before starting to stitch. Remember that the finicky part is getting the waist and hip right to begin with, so adding 3-4 pins takes takes about 30 seconds (I timed it this morning). If your kilt has 30 pleats and you're a slow pinner, that adds _at best_ 30 minutes to your kiltmaking.

    And I understand the argument that, for someone who does nothing but kiltmaking and for whom a half hour is really critical, not adding extra pins makes sense - you could make 41 kilts in the time that it took the "pinner" to make 40 kilts.

    But that's definitely not most of the people on this forum. What's really important is the quality of the work. If someone can better meet high standards and is willing to spend the extra half hour (out of a total of 20-30 hours) to add a few pins, what is the big deal?? I hope we stop all this chest-pounding about "the one right way".
    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
    MacBean is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
    Join Date
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Sometimes I wish we had a "Like" button!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Barb,

    Even though I do not make kilts, I promise not to pound my chest, at least not about pinning pleats. Always happy to do my part to keep the peace.

    jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    19th July 11
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    How do you pin?

    I normally pin one at the top where the book says but then pin another two just through the edge of the pleat thats been folded up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    I'm glad you came clean on this. I hope that this makes things better for the rest of us. I know your better for it.

    I will now allow myself to pin in public withour fear of scorn. Now if you can tell me how to stitch by hand and hide the threads then I will feel better yet. I might as well just top-sew for as good a job as I get done the first time through.

  6. #6
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    I have always pinned all of my pleats before I sew them. This is the way I was taught. If anyone thinks I'm doing it "wrong," well... they are free to try it for themselves!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    I don't pin pleats at all. I have enough trouble getting the basting stitches out of them.
    I changed my signature. The old one was too ridiculous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    30th November 04
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    How do you pin?
    I put 4 or 5 pins, starting with one half way between the waist pin and the needle that anchors the bottom of the fell. I commonly measure at that pin to make sure that the mid-pleat stays about the same width across the back. Then, depending on the length of the fell, I put in two pins or so on each side of the mid one. I put all pins in perpendicular to the folded edge. Does that help?
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    19th July 11
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Thank you,

    One more question, Why do you put the pins in perpendicular?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    22nd June 11
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    You mention that pinning has improved your pleating. So, even if it takes 30 seconds extra for each pleat, think of the time you saved re-doing pleats that didn't come out as perfectly as if you had pinned. It's gotta be a wash at the very least.

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