X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website The Scottish Trading Company
Xmarks advertising information Celtic Croft website Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website Xmarks advertising information

User Tag List

Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 51
  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    Posts
    5,192
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How an Engineer lays out pleats

    "The Art of Kiltmaking" does a very good job of explaining how to understand Tartan and how to lay out the pleats in preparation for sewing.

    But some of us need just a little more help. To fully appreciate Tartan from a kiltmakers standpoint takes an artists eye and a lot of experience. Few get the principle on the first reading of the book.

    I thought it may help some to understand what Barb is trying to get across by looking at the problem through the eyes of an Engineer.

    I call this pleating by the numbers.

    Now Barb has told me many times that there is no way my system will work. I take her word for that. But we have using this method at Freedom Kilts for over seven years now and it has worked every time. I guess we will run across a Tartan where this won't work one day but so far it has worked on every Tartan we have tried it on.

    OK, on to the the idea behind how this works.

    The first step is to create a set of lines that are equally spaced yet can vary in width. Here is how that is done.



    Notice please that I used an Olfa cutting board. Well that is because there is already a grid on the board. You don't have to use a gird like this but doing so makes the lay out of the lines much easier.

    I also layed down some strips of masking tape to allow the ink lines to show up better for the photos.

    (All of the layout table in my shop have 5 foot X 3 foot Olfa boards permanently glued to their surfaces. Each table has one of these sets of lines permanently marked on it.)

    Start drawing lines from one single point at the top of your work surface and draw down to any equal spacing. I use 2 inches. If you don't have a grid to work with use a ruler taped to your work table. (If you're going to use a good surface like your dinning room table please use painters tape so you don't mar the varnish.)

    If the lines start from a single point at the top, and are equally spaced at the bottom, they will also be equally spaced anywhere up or down. If I want narrower pleats I move up, and if I want wider pleats I move down.


    Now you need a piece of the tartan fabric you are working with. This can be a scrap or a leftover from the waistband out of the middle of your double-width fabric.

    The Tartan I am using for this tutorial is The Victoria, City of Gardens Tartan in 10 oz wool because it presents a few unique examples that I would like to point out.



    Please insure your strip of fabric is cut parallel to the hem of your kilt. Some Tartans are not the same up and down as they are left to right. (Warpwise vs Weftwise)

    Now, you will be needing to mark directly onto your fabric strip. You can use chalk but that will come off and you will loose your marks moving this strip around.
    (And you will be moving this strip around a lot. )

    I use fusible waistband interfacing. This not only gives me a good surface to write on but stabilizes the fabric so it does not change shape while you play with it.



    Notice that this piece already has some lines on it. We save these strips so we don't have to go through this process with each new kilt.
    For this example though I am simply going to put another fusible strip on the other side. Now I have two ways to pleat this tartan on one piece of fabric. (Clever or cheap? I dunno, I leave that up to you to figure out.)
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 31st January 14 at 10:04 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  2. The Following User Says 'Aye' to The Wizard of BC For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    Posts
    5,192
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Now, before I get too far into this tutorial I need to explain a bit about how this system came about and why it is so different from that explained in "The Art of Kiltmaking".

    When I first started making kilts I worked with solid colored fabrics. This allows me to make each pleat exactly the same size regardless of the fabric I was working with. So I picked 1inch wide pleats for my Dress Model and 1 1/2 inch wide pleats for my Cargo Model.

    This is easy to lay out but does cause one difference from how a traditional kilt is made. If I use the same pleat width all the time, to make a bigger kilt I need more pleats, hence more fabric. For a smaller kilt I use fewer pleats and need less fabric. All told my kilts use more fabric that what is in a traditional kilt. This worked quite well for me as the fabrics I was using were about 13 oz but because there was more fabric felt like a 16 oz kilt.

    Well I was so used to this idea of standard width pleats that when I started making Tartan kilts I kept the same thinking. To me Tartan was just fabric with lines already on it.
    And my Engineer mind said to me that Tartan patterns, or Setts, were mathematical. So to me laying out pleats was a mathematical process.

    In a Traditional kilt you start with a known amount of fabric. You figure out how much is used by the aprons and what is left over is what you have available for the pleats.
    In a Traditional kilt you also vary the width of individual pleats to work around the Tartan pattern. You do not want a line or element of the Tartan to disappear as the kilt tapers from the hips to the pleats.

    This manually adjusting each pleat just sits wrong with my Engineer's brain. It took me a very long time to get that concept. To me it just wasn't natural.

    OK, let me give you an example of why I like this system and why I continue to use it.

    No. 1 - If you are making more than one kilt from the same Tartan this is a quick and easy way of saving the layout and duplicating it for the next kilt.
    No. 2 - If you are making more than one kilt from the same Tartan but they are in different sizes, if you use this system all the kilts will look exactly the same from the back. Each one will have the exact same pleat width and the Tartan will look exactly the same. (larger kilts will just have more pleats on each side, and smaller kilts will have fewer pleats on each side.)
    No. 3 - If for some reason you are making two kilts from the same Tartan but different weights of fabric the back of each kilt will look exactly the same. Size of Sett makes no difference when using this system.
    No. 4 - If you are pleating a kilt to the stripe you may think it is easy. Just follow the lines, right? But how wide does each pleat need to be to fit the wearers size.? Using this system solves that question in one motion. No measuring in fractions of an inch, in fact no tape measure required at all.
    No. 5 - If you are pleating a kilt to the Sett this system makes laying out a breeze. Again, no measuring or tape measure required at all. And because you have a marked pattern that you follow you never make a mistake and drop a Tartan element causing you to rip out pleats to correct the mistake.
    No 6 - Did I mention that with this system there is no measuring required? That's right, no tape measure hanging around your neck and no math with fractions of inches or conversions to metric required at all. It is all visual. Line up the pattern, make some lines and your ready to start stitching.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 31st January 14 at 10:10 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    Posts
    5,192
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The next problem my mind just could not get around was the way "The Art of Kiltmaking" explains was how to figure out how wide your pleats needed to be. You need to measure the Sett size and know how many Setts of fabric you had to work with, and how big the hips of the kilt you were making was.

    To me, who was already used to using a standard pleat width, it just comes as second nature to figure out pleat size based only on the Sett size of the particular Tartan I was working with.

    Remember those lines you made on the table in the first step of this tutorial? Here they are again.



    Can you see up near the top a horizontal line drawn? There is another near the middle and another down at the bottom. These lines are my pleat width limit lines. the horizontal line near the top tells me where the spacing is 1/2 inch apart. The horizontal line in the middle is where the spacing is exactly 1 inch apart, and the horizontal line near the bottom shows where the spacing is 1 1/4 inch apart.
    This spacing is about the standard pleat width in a traditional kilt. Some kilts have pleats as narrow as 5/8 inch and some as wide as 1 1/4 inch. So the top and bottom horizontal lines are about as narrow or as wide as I want my pleats.

    All you have to do to figure out pleat width is to lay your Tartan down on the lines. Then move the strip of fabric up and down till the Tartan aligns with the lines on the table.

    Viola!!!

    Well, not quite as simple as that, but almost. And here is where knowing a just a bit about Tartan and tapering your pleats comes in.

    Here is my strip of Tartan laid out on the lines.



    Can you see that I have moved the strip up and down until the Tartan pattern is aligned with the lines. Look closely at the small yellow and white lines in the Tartan. Can you see how each is in the center of the grid lines?

    Now notice how wide each grid line is at this point on the grid. The spacing at this point on the grid is about 1 1/4 inch. Probably too wide for this Tartan and a traditional looking kilt.

    Now look again.



    All I have done is carefully moved the fabric strip up until it lines up with the Tartan pattern again but now there are more divisions for each Sett. The spacing of the pleats if marked her will be right about 7/8 inch. Just about perfect.

    The only difference is that in the first picture there will be 4 pleats to create one Sett and in the second picture it will be 6 pleats to create one Sett.

    See, no scratch pad with arithmetic all over it, no tape measures laying around, a no fractions or decimal conversions. Just move the fabric strip up and down till the tartan pattern aligns with the lines on the table.

    Now, here is the pop quiz!
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    Posts
    5,192
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The mid term pop quiz ---

    Look carefully at both of the layouts in the preceding post. The one with spacing of 1 1/2 inch and the one with the spacing of 7/8 inch. Can you see why you would not want to use either of these spacings to set the width of you pleats?

    Well in the spacing that is 1 1/2 inch the spacing is simply too large to keep the look of a traditional kilt. Pleats spaced this far apart look too rugged.

    And the spacing that is 7/8 inch has a problem too. Look closely where the lines of the grid cross the Tartan pattern along to top of the fabric strip. See how the lines are right at the edge of the small red lines? If I were to fold my pleats with these red lines right along the edge of the pleat they would disappear as I taper the pleat in the Fell area.

    A general rule is that you do not want an element of the Tartan pattern right on the edge of a pleat. As soon as you narrow to pleat to create the taper you will lose that element and the overall effect of the Tartan will be destroyed.

    So OK, let's go back to moving the fabric piece and see if we can find a place that will work better.

    Remember that there were already some lines marked on this Tartan fabric piece?

    Here is the same pic from two posts ago.



    I just sort of tossed the fabric strip on the table to take this photo but notice that it is almost lined up with the grid lines. But now count how many divisions there are in one Sett. Nope, not the six from before and not the four from before. Now there are five divisions in each Sett. The spacing is now just less than 1 1/8 inch. A little wide but not too much.

    But no element of the Tartan is aligned with the edge of a pleat. I will not lose an element when I taper the pleat.
    This is the spacing I will use for this kilt.

    OK, I've determined the correct spacing and width of the pleats. Now I just have to mark my fabric strip.

    I'm going to do this as accurately as I can.



    Please notice that I am using the upper edge of the Tartan strip. I am then using a ruler to draw a line straight down from where the grid line crosses the Tartan pattern.

    And here is the finished pleat lay-out pattern.



    Pretty slick huh? Everything looks good. The Sett of the Tartan is evenly divided into equal spaces. No element of the Tartan will be lost in the tapering. And here is the cool part.

    When you have done this just once, you can do almost any Tartan in less then three or four minutes.

    I'm going to take a break for tonight. I'll take the pics for the next part of this tutorial at the shop in the morning.
    The next steps are how you use the fabric strip to mark your fabric in preparation for sewing.


    Oh, remember that I said that we have been using the method at Freedom Kilts for a while now. And remember that I said we save the fabric strips for the next kilt.

    Here are just a few of the strips we have on file. Note how many different Tartans. This is sort of proof that this really does work.



    OK, until tomorrow.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    12th July 12
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Posts
    66
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well!!

    There must be a little engineer in my blood because this all kinda makes sense!! If everything pans out and I manage to attend Kilt Kamp 2014, I will make sure I am in attendance for this part of your lecture although I'd be in the traditional kilt making camp. I'm looking forward to your next installment!!

    Stephane

  7. #6
    Join Date
    6th December 13
    Location
    Coventry UK
    Posts
    197
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Really impressive Steve, does it work for assymetric as well.

    I have never made a kilt, but its quite a good way to spacing out the pleats, thank you for sharing your hints and tips.

    What about where the kilt gets tighter at the buckles and flares out at the rise, is the size of the rise equal to the fell (seat) or not.
    You have two bits of fused material on the kilt is from the fell down or fell to the waist.
    Most powerful is he who has himself under control

    Your soul is coloured by your thoughts
    ​Marcus Aurelius

  8. #7
    Join Date
    3rd January 06
    Location
    Dorset, on the South coast of England
    Posts
    4,106
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not only don't I understand the solution - I don't understand the problem.

    I guess I am neither engineer or artist.

    I do like micrometers though.

    And slide rules - slide rules are good.

    Maybe I'm a mathematician.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

  9. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Pleater For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Join Date
    18th August 13
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    3,430
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Steve,

    I showed this to my wife a few minutes ago. She made my kilt using Barb's book, and she is interested in this 'scientific' method of laying-out the pleats. She may try it when she makes my next kilt. We are eagerly awaiting the rest of the tutorial. Thanks!
    Allen Sinclair
    Eastern Region Vice President
    North Carolina Commissioner
    Clan Sinclair Association (USA)

  11. #9
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    Posts
    5,192
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm really sorry folks but I'm not going to be able to get part two up for you today.

    I have been having a heck of a time getting the photos to look good using the 10 oz Tartan fabric. You can't see any detail at all in the photos.

    So I have marked a piece of 16 oz the same way I did the 10 and will see if I can't get this up for you in the next day or two.

    I'm really sorry about this.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    15th February 12
    Location
    Seymour , Indiana
    Posts
    1,291
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Steve ,

    I am not a kilt maker , but I am an engineer . It would appear that you have taken the mathematics for kilt making and created a template through the use of a bit of geometry . Well done !

    There may be a tartan that doesn't fit this method , but I can't think of one . Even if a tartan is of a large sett or asymmetrical , I can still see this method working .
    Mike Montgomery
    Clan Montgomery Society , International

Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0