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  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th September 04
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    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    A little behind the scenes

    I almost titled this thread "A bit more involved than at first glance".

    A customer called a week or two ago and inquired if I could resize his Cornish National Tartan Kilt. When he arrived I had him put the kilt on so I could mark it.

    What I found is that the customer wants to wear the kilt lower than full rise so the bottom of the Fell and the hem were too low. This also made the kilt too small in the waist.

    The customer's first question was "could I hem up the bottom of the kilt?". So I pointed out in the mirror what the back of the kilt looked like with the Bottom of the Fell 2+" below his butt. Once he saw the back he agreed that the solution was to re-build the kilt shortening it from the top down.

    I would also let the pleats out to make it fit around him.

    I have now been working on this kilt part time for a couple of days. Here is what it looks like right now.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the upper right you can see the yellow pins marking the original location of the buckles. Lower down you can see the new buckle location.

    Now, here is a test ------
    Can anyone notice anything strange or different in this kilt?




    A hint. Look at how the kilt is pleated.

    Can you see the vertical line of yellow pins? That marks the center back of the kilt.
    Now look to the right of center. This is how the kilt was pleated by the maker.

    Here is the outer apron so you can see the entire Tartan.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Please notice that the center of the apron is a Red line. It is normal for kiltmakers to use the same line in the center of the back.
    On this kilt a white line is in the center of the back.



    Now please notice that to the right of the vertical line of pins the yellow stripes in the Tartan disappear as the pleats are tapered in the Fell.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So, what I am having to do with this kilt is;

    1) Shorten the kilt from the top down so that the bottom of the Fell stays at the crest of the hips.
    2) Un-stitch each and every pleat. Re-press it so that the yellow lines are not lost in the tapering.
    3) Re-stitch the pleats increasing the size of each pleat to make the kilt larger.

    In the above pics you can see where I have re-stitched the pleats from the left to the white center stripe.
    Each pleat is incrementally larger.
    I have also added the reverse flare above the top buckle so the kilt will fasten on without moving.
    And I have re-folded the pleats so that the entire Tartan pattern is retained.

    What you do not see in these photos is that when re-pressing the pleats to move the yellow lines I am having to deal with the cut-aways inside the kilt too.

    I thought some of you may like to see what is turning out to be a very labor intensive job when all the customer thought he would need is a hem turned up on his Scottish made kilt.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    28th May 13
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    Perhaps there are some projects that even the Wizard should decline....unless there is significant sentimental value... then price and time doesn't matter.

    Slainte...Bill
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience
    well, that comes from poor judgement."
    A. A. Milne

  3. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Liam For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    28th March 06
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    Victoria, BC
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    I think he viewed it as a challenge.....not intended to earn the monetary value of the time requirement, but the enjoyment of rebuilding something to a high standard. The life of an engineer!
    Last edited by KiltedKnome; 15th October 13 at 07:57 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    28th May 13
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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    I absolutely respect Steve's motives.....and I look forward to seeing his rebuild... (I too am an engineer, although not of kilts).

    Slainte...Bill
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience
    well, that comes from poor judgement."
    A. A. Milne

  6. #5
    Join Date
    8th August 07
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    Westchester/Putnam NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiltedKnome View Post
    I think he viewed it as a challenge.....not intended to earn the monetary value of the time requirement, but the enjoyment of rebuilding something to a high standard. The life of an engineer!
    I'm quite sure that's how Steve must have viewed it. Also, with that approach of great care and attention to detail, a kiltmaker just couldn't bear to leave anything undone that needed to be done to make the kilt right. I really respect that.
    Bonnie Heather Greene, Kiltmaker and Artist
    Traditional hand stitched kilts, kilt alterations, kilt-skirts

  7. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to bonnie heather For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
    Join Date
    23rd September 09
    Location
    Vassalboro, Maine
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    More often then not, when doing an alteration; I always wind up doing extra work to make it as good as I can.
    This one really takes the cake Steve!
    Humor, is chaos; remembered in tranquillity- James Thurber

  9. #7
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    I'm really sorry but I forgot to take pics of the rear of the kilt when the customer had it on. You would have seen why we shorten a traditional kilt from the top down.
    The bottom of the Fell was a good 2" below the butt and hung in pronounced "stage curtain" waves.
    Hopefully it will not do this when it is done.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    1st February 12
    Location
    Northeast Ohio, USA
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    I hope the customer understands exactly what was wrong with the kilt in the first place (other than the length), so that he knows what to look for (and what not to accept) in the future.
    KEN CORMACK
    Clan Buchanan
    U.S. Coast Guard, Retired
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA

  11. #9
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    Yes, Ken, I explained to the customer fully before I accepted the kilt into my shop. I gave him options anywhere from a simple hem to a full re-build.

    The customer purchased this kilt in Scotland and it has significant sentimental value. It was he that chose to go the route of a complete re-build. I would never undertake or perform more work than what the customer asked for and expected.

    Strangely enough this Kilt was made in Scotland by a reputable name maker. It is marked inside as being made from The Cornish National Tartan. This is actually The Cornish Htg. Tartan, or Cornish National Htg Tartan. ITI #1568.

    The customer was a little surprised when I pointed out the difference in Tartan and the unusual pleating choice. It is the customer's choice to wear this kilt just above the hip bones and not up under his ribs so he accepted my suggestion to shorten the kilt from the top down.
    He understands that I am also correcting the size and the pleating.
    Fortunately the customer is not in a hurry to have his kilt back so this gives me time to photograph it and share this kilt with you.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    28th June 11
    Location
    Berkshire, UK
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    The mark of a true artisan and craftsman - doing the job RIGHT.
    Martin.
    AKA - The Scouter in a Kilt.
    Proud, but homesick, son of Skye.
    Member of the Clan MacLeod Society (Scotland)

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