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  1. #11
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    Thank you,

    One more question, Why do you put the pins in perpendicular?
    If you put them in perpendicular, the fabric doesn't skew parallel to the pleat. If you put them in parallel, the fabric can slip along the length of the pleat, and it makes it much harder to keep the stripes aligned.

    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.
    Oh, it's *vastly* more than a wash. Taking out and re-doing a pleat is quite literally 25-30x the amount of time that it takes to pin a pleat. Another very good reason to pin, in my estimation.
    Last edited by Barb T; 20th February 12 at 06:18 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

  2. #12
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Good discussion. I've learned what the no pins option is and why some kiltmakers choose to sew without pins.

    At the Keith Kilt School they had to choose between a variety of "traditional" pleating techniques. The one they selected was to chalk the pleats, then fold the pleat into its proper alignment, and then baste down along the edge of the pleat to hold the pleat perfectly in place while being sewn.

    There is no need for pins with this method and there is no danger of the pinned fabric slipping out of proper alignment while being sewn.

    They also teach using only quality thread and waxing it. This extra bit of craftsmanship by basting each pleat before sewing insures perfect tartan alignment and creates a bit extra quality and value.
    Last edited by Riverkilt; 20th February 12 at 06:03 PM.
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

  3. #13
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Part of the issue here is that different kiltmakers use different techniques for stitching the pleats in a kilt. I believe I am correct in saying that the Keith School technique (and certainly Ann Stewart's technique described in Folkwear Pattern 152 and that of many other people I've seen demonstrating how to make a kilt) involves basting all of the pleats first and then stitching them. For this technique, there's no doubt that basting is a whole lot better than pinning.

    The technique that I learned from Elsie (which is described in my book) is quite different. One pleat is folded and stitched at a time, which has the advantage of allowing you to move your hand along the edge of the pleat as you sew without having to bunch up the whole back of an entirely basted kilt in order to sew the pleats. If you stitch pleats this way, there's no advantage to basting first - pins do a fine job of holding the pleat for stitching, and basting would just add an extra step.

    I didn't start this thread to debate who owns the "right way" to pleat a kilt. I started it because I have found that, when I have confessed to using pins, it's been liberating for other "closet pinners" who have learned kiltmaking from my book and have also discovered that they could do a better job with more than one pin.

    As I pointed out in the first post of this thread, there is more than one way to do a good job pleating a kilt, and I hope that this thread doesn't now dissolve into breast-beating about the "one right way".
    Last edited by Barb T; 21st February 12 at 08:56 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

  4. #14
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    For holding kilt pleats for sewing I use long pins with bead heads - I think they are called quilting pins, rather than the ordinary dressmaking pins.

    I pin a pleat, sew it, removing the pins as I go, then do the next pleat, as pinning every pleat first seems to be a sure way to draw blood.

    Some fabrics and pleats seem to require more pins than others. I suspect that the fabrics I buy are not all of the same quality and that there are spots where the warp and weft are not at 90 degrees to eachother.

    I have found that when remaking a kilt it is a lot easier to align things than the first time it was sewn - possibly the washing, hanging and wearing have worked on the threads and aligned them better, or perhaps the size (dressing) has washed out and released the threads.

    High quality wool seems to need the least pinning whenever it is sewn.

    Pinning single pleats is the method I settled on without the benefit of 'The Book' as it seems to work well so I am pleased to read that it is the choice of experts, even if there is a little debate about the exact number of pins.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

  5. #15
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    No intent to breast-beat about the right way.

    Intent was just to clarify what the option to pinning was - the "no pins"....rather than just leave it hanging out there to be something for folks to wonder about.

    I used pins when I tried to create some pleats out of an old "pleated to the gather" SportKilt....I bled...a lot....
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

  6. #16
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Actually, the "no pins" method is literally no pins, no basting. When Elsie stitches a pleat, she pins once at the waist, uses the needle as a pin to hold the bottom of the fell, and then puts some tension on the pleat and stitches without any more pins and with no basting. She's quite adamant about this being the right way and will rap your knuckles if you try to add pins. The rationale is that time is money, and a professional kiltmaker needs to be speedy. Those are the instructions in The Art of Kiltmaking because this was just not negotiable with her.

    Me, I pin for all the reasons stated earlier, but, for the method of pleating that I use, basting is overkill and doesn't gain you anything (and actually makes it harder to get perfect pleats).

    I agree with Pleater - I use long pins with the round plastic heads. And when I've taught kiltmaking to guys with big hands, they've found the longer pins with the big heads just easier to use. These are the ones that I like the best:

    Last edited by Barb T; 22nd February 12 at 06:25 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

  7. #17
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Very interesting indeed!

  8. #18
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Okay, sorry Barb, but I just had to laugh (in a painful way). 20-30 hours? You professionals are soooo funny.

    Elsie's class was 40 hours, plus evenings spent pleating until midnight. I almost finished the pleating by the end of the class. 3 more months of an hour here, a half hour there... and it was finished.

    And despite a few rapped knuckles, I pin now. Too many redone pleats.

    ps: thanks for 'the book'! It feels really good to say I made the kilt I'm wearing!
    Last edited by Calico; 23rd February 12 at 04:20 PM.
    MEMBER: Kilted Cognoscenti

  9. #19
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    When Elsie stitches a pleat, she pins once at the waist, uses the needle as a pin to hold the bottom of the fell, and then puts some tension on the pleat and stitches without any more pins and with no basting. She's quite adamant about this being the right way and will rap your knuckles if you try to add pins. The rationale is that time is money, and a professional kiltmaker needs to be speedy.
    Indeed, time is money! For all industries. I learned to sew exactly the same way using my sewing machine. Factory sewing methods were introduced into the home sewing market about 15yrs ago. Sewing most seams you would anchor the top end at the presser foot, match the very end and hold in your right hand, then fold up the seam into your right hand, then keeping tension on the seam using your right hand, start sewing, using your left hand underneath the top layer helping the seams to match as it goes under the presser foot. I've seen people set in sleeves using this method. I'm not there unless I'm working with wool. The cotton velvet of the dance jackets? Ick.
    --Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows.

  10. #20
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    Re: To pin or not to pin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dixiecat View Post
    Indeed, time is money! For all industries. I learned to sew exactly the same way using my sewing machine. Factory sewing methods were introduced into the home sewing market about 15yrs ago. Sewing most seams you would anchor the top end at the presser foot, match the very end and hold in your right hand, then fold up the seam into your right hand, then keeping tension on the seam using your right hand, start sewing, using your left hand underneath the top layer helping the seams to match as it goes under the presser foot. I've seen people set in sleeves using this method. I'm not there unless I'm working with wool. The cotton velvet of the dance jackets? Ick.
    True, but for most of the people on this forum, it really doesn't matter if it takes an extra half hour to make a kilt. Even for me, it doesn't matter. If I don't pin, I might be able to make 41 kilts in the time it takes me to make 40 (although, chances are pretty good that I'd jack it up at some point and kill off any savings I made when I had to take out pleats and re-do them. In this particular case, I don't find the "time is money" argument very compelling.

    Your comment that "I'm not there unless I'm working with wool" implies that it is inevitably worth it to "get there". For any specific case, I think it's worth doing the actual analysis. If you can make a blouse at home in half the time by using industrial methods, that's great and definitely worth doing. If I saved 15 minutes over the course of the project, it wouldn't be worth it to me and I wouldn't waste time feeling bad about myself up because I wasn't using industrial methods.
    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

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