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  1. #1
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    Pleating challenge #3: pleating an asymmetric tartan

    In the past, I've posted a couple of threads on pleating challenges. I thought that adding one on asymmetric tartans would be good (especially since F&K has had a lot of Maple Leaf for sale lately!!).

    So, first, what makes a tartan asymmetric? In the MacMillan kilt below that I've just finished, the yellow stripe looks like it ought to be a pivot, but you'll notice that the stripes adjacent to the yellow are not mirror images. And there isn't a single spot on the tartan where you can find a pivot with mirror image elements. So, the tartan is asymmetric. But notice that the order of stripes in the warp _is_ the same as the order of stripes in the weft. Some people are confused about that.



    Choosing a center stripe isn't as easy as it is with a symmetric tartan, where you can choose one of the pivots as the center front. In this MacMillan kilt, I chose the yellow because it is so prominent that it would have looked odd if it weren't centered in the apron.

    This kilt is pleated to the sett, which means that the pleats are folded to reproduce the tartan across the back of the kilt. This kilt is a nice example of one that worked out really well. If you squint and stand back, it's difficult to tell the front from the back. A kiltmaker does the best he/she can to make square blocks square across the pleats and not too wide or too narrow, but sometimes it's just impossible, and square elements wind up being somewhat rectangular.

    The rule of thumb when laying out a kilt with most tartans is that the first pleat next to the apron should be a mirror image of the last pleat next to the underapron, and checking that is one way to make sure that you've laid the kilt out properly. This isn't the case with an asymmetric tartan, though! In the close-up below of the kilt back, you'll see that the asymmetry of the tartan means that the first and last pleats are different (maroon on the left and green on the right). So, you can't use the standard rule of thumb to check layout - you just have to be extra careful to avoid a mistake.



    And last, where you fold each individual pleat can be tricky, and it's worth pinning a couple of tests to see which looks best. In the pic below, you'll see that the yellow stripe is divided among three pleats. Ditto for the maroon stripe. You'll also see that the yellow in the two pleats bordering the center yellow are the same width, whereas the two maroons bordering the center maroon are _not_ the same width (the right side is a little wider). Given the pleat size, I couldn't have both equal and had to choose which one would be identical and which one wouldn't. I chose the yellow, because it has a central black stripe, and I thought it would look really odd to have the yellow on one side of the black stripe be a different width than the yellow on the other side. It's not nearly as obvious in the maroon pleats, because there's no central stripe. Doing a test pleating helps catch things like this.


    Last edited by Barb T; 30th June 17 at 02:12 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
    BEEDEE's Avatar
    BEEDEE is offline
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    Barb - once again you have excelled with your explanation. I'm not even ready to think about tackling an asymetric tartan but you make it look so simple!

    And the kilt itself is just beautiful!

    Thanks,

    Brian

    In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

  3. #3
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    It actually _is_ really simple, provided that you don't have a double width of fabric. You just can't apply all the rules that you normally would for a symmetric tartan.
    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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    My goodness, you truly are an artist Barb! What a great looking kilt!
    Sara
    :ootd:
    Last edited by Sheep In Wolf's Clothing; 27th May 09 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Cat on Keyboard
    "There is one success- to be able to spend your life your own way."
    ~Christopher Morley

  5. #5
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    Is there a list of asymetric tartans? I know of the MacDonald dress, Maple leaf, and MacMillan. I dread the day when I order a 4 yd double wide and then find out it is asymetric. Can you help me put a list together?
    Wallace Catanach, Kiltmaker

    A day without killting is like a day without sunshine.

  6. #6
    Paul Henry is offline Membership Revoked for repeated rule violations.
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    Buchannan!
    When I ordered my fabric the weavers told me that I would need to order 8 yds... but they supply half double width, so they were very used to the problem.I would have thought that the weavers would mention it

  7. #7
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    * It's already on the list, never mind. *
    Last edited by Bugbear; 4th June 09 at 12:26 PM.
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

  8. #8
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    I put a list into my book at the beginning of the appendix on dealing with asymmetric tartans (p. 145) and also in a footnote in chapter 5 (page 45).

    Here's the list that's in the book:

    Buchan
    Buchanan and Hunting Buchanan (but not Old Buchanan or Dress Buchanan)
    Campbell of Argyll
    Dress Campbell
    Drummond of Strathallen
    MacAlpine
    Dress MacDonald
    MacMillan
    Malcolm
    Hunting Stewart (but not the other Stewarts)
    Ontario Provincial
    Quebec Provincial

    Also need to add (not in the book):
    Bear
    Connecticut
    Maple Leaf
    PSD: Project Iraqi Freedom

    Fortunately, there aren't many _common_ tartans that are asymmetric, but you can be ambushed by a less common one. The good news is that, if it's truly not common, you'll probably have to have a custom weave done anyway, and, if you have Dalgliesh do the custom weave (which I would recommend), they do their custom weaves in single width.

    You can always go to the Scottish Register of Tartans (http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/index.aspx) and check a tartan. This is a much better idea than checking a thumbnail on ScotWeb or a similar site, because the thumbnail might not show the entire sett. But, in the Scottish Register of Tartans, be _sure_ to click on the tartan pic and look at the enlarged view. The default small view can look asymmetric, even if it's not, depending on your screen resolution and the number of small stripes in the tartan. For example, the Mull Millenium tartan (http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/tar....aspx?ref=3044) looks asymmetric on my laptop screen (only one of the white guard stripes shows in the low res default view), but, when I click to the see enlarged version, it's clearly symmetric (both white guard stripes show).
    Last edited by Barb T; 31st May 09 at 03:26 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

  9. #9
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    That is a grand job indeed lassie. Well done!
    I don't believe the idea is to arrive in heaven in a well preserved body! But to slide in side ways,Kilt A' Fly'n! Scream'en "Mon Wha A Ride" Kilted Santas
    4th Laird of Lochaber, Knights of St Andrew,Knight of The Double Eagle
    Clan Seton,House of Gordon,Clan Claus,Semper Fedilas

  10. #10
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    Early in my sewing of kilts I bought a whole bolt of an asymmetrical tartan-ish fabric.

    It is pleasing to the eye, lavender, purple and black, but it doesn't rotate and match up.

    No worries anyway, because the right side is brushed so it has to be cut across the width.

    This kilting thing wouldn't be half so fascinating if it was easy.

    Folding fabric into pleats to make a kilt has to have a solution but it is as intriguing as Sudoku puzzles, or crosswords.

    That is a fine looking kilt there, Barb - and a nice bit of matching on the waistband too.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

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