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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Tool Recommendation

    Hi Barb

    I realize step 1 is reading cover to cover TAoK. I will handle that bit of business shortly. I also plan to attend kilt camp 2020 for my 60th birthday. I understand that I can hand sew a kilt. Iím an absolute novice, but will tend to that matter in the coming weeks. Hand sewing seems a bit daunting as I struggle with my finger joints, sometimes swear my ukulele hates me, so I will likely use a sewing machine where possible, and hand sew where necessary. Now the question:

    1. Can you offer sewing machine recommendations? I have a singer with lots of plastic (cheap) construction. I understand that a kilt is a labor of love, and purchasing one, expensive (ask me how I know ... and worth every penny. So I likewise understand that I want a good quality, all metal machine. Can you tell me brand(s) you would recommend, possible equipment like you use. I donít want to fight a machine that cannot handle easily 16 oz tartan wool, or properly execute the required stitches.

    Your recommendation is greatly appreciated.

    -John

  2. #2
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    Hi John,

    First, whether you read the book cover to cover depends on how your brain works. Some people love to pour over instructions ahead of time so that they know where they're going; other people find the prospect intimidating. Either works just fine. There's no reason that you have to read it start to finish, and many people (maybe even most) just take each step as it comes. Everyone winds up with a kilt at the end!

    Second, the instructions in the book are for a traditional, hand-stitched kilt. The only place where it's possible to use a machine is when you attach the top band - in all other steps, machine stitching would show. So, a sewing machine won't actually be any help if you want to make a kilt by traditional 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

  3. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Barb T For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48į 25' 47.31"N 123į 20' 4.59" W
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    But hey, you would be welcome in the Contemporary course where some will hand stitch their kilt and some will machine stitch their kilt.

    The first difference is that hand stitches, while weaker, will not be visible on the outside of the garment.
    Machine stitches will leave visible lines of machine stitching.

    With a machine stitched kilt we change the internal construction slightly. We put the Stabilizer the full width of the garment. It forms a waistband inside the garment.
    We also often do not need to use, or use as much floating interfacing. The machine stiches compress the layers and accomplish the same stiffness.

    And then there are a couple of places where we change the order of construction due to the difference in how the garment is stitched.


    But - with care and attention to detail, a machine stitched kilt can look very similar to a hand stitched one.





    When choosing a sewing machine there is not much difference. You can sew a kilt on almost any sewing machine. The primary difference between an industrial and a home machine is a lever, called a "Knee Lift" that lifts the pressure foot so you can keep both hands on the garment.
    And that Industrial machines are totally adjustable. Mine have been adjusted so that the height of the pressure foot is a full 1/2 inch.

    But any good quality sewing machine will work.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  5. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Steve Ashton For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
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    Steve and Barb

    Thank you both. I’ll have to ponder a bit to see which way to go. I did eventually find a very thorough machine tutorial that Steve had posted. If I go machine, I may have found one, I’m going to look at it in a few weeks. It’s in my moms closet which she’s had for at least 60 years. It’s the type that folds up from its own wood cabinet so has a bit of a built in fabric surface.

    And Steve, I do like some of the features of you contemporary kilts, particularly the pockets (sometimes its a bit troublesome to carry everything in the sporran that I want on hand), and if my joint stiffness continues to progress, machine sewing will be quite handy.

    Step 1, Barb’s book and learn the basic stitch techniques.

    Again, my sincerest thanks to you both.

    BTW: The TAoK has been ordered “)
    Last edited by javankrona; 7th March 19 at 02:45 PM.

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  8. #5
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    I must be a bit strange - when we moved into this house, three days later I set up the sewing machine. It was put into its case for a few days when some building work was done, for about a week, until the dust was mostly beaten, but other than that it has been available all the time - We moved, I believe, in 1981.

    It has a whole range of embroidery stitches as well as useful options - it can do buttonholes, but not automatically. Repairs, alterations and adjustments have all been easy.

    In the early days when I fist tried making kilts, I used to use the machine to adjust the length of the inner folds of deep pleats so they did not droop down below the outer layer - a couple of lines of loosish stitches, the top two ends sewn firmly, the lower thread pulled gently from the other end of the line, until it had drawn in enough. those ends were secured and then the fullness was evened out and pressed flat. These days I just lift the top edge into the waist band, but the easing in was proper tailoring.

    Having the machine available all the time means that I sew on buttons before they fall off, secure hems and do all the little repair jobs before they become big ones. It is just so handy.
    I presume to dictate to no man what he shall eat or drink or wherewithal he shall be clothed."
    -- The Hon. Stuart Ruaidri Erskine, The Kilt & How to Wear It, 1901.

  9. #6
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    So, I'm curious. Why the thumbs down on this thread? The person who made the original post asked a question, and it was answered honestly and politely by both Steve and me. Why did that merit a thumbs down???
    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

  10. #7
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    I did not know what you were talking about Barb, until I read the title after I opened the thread. I am baffled as well because I feel a good discussion was had here. This is another reason I don't use emoji.

  11. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Tarheel For This Useful Post:


  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    So, I'm curious. Why the thumbs down on this thread? The person who made the original post asked a question, and it was answered honestly and politely by both Steve and me. Why did that merit a thumbs down???
    I hope that wasnít my thumb. Since I began the post, I just now tried to vote 5* ... then I got a message that I already voted and cannot change my previous vote. Odd, I donít remember voting on this thread or really, any other thread. So if it was me ... it was totally inadvertent and I will place the blame wholly on fat fingers.

  13. #9
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    Just getting started

    I picked up an assortment of needles and thread this weekend, cut up a pair of denim shorts that will never, ever again fit me, and began pushing needle through fabric. First just trying to get the feel of it. Added some thread after I made a bunch of needle holes. Felt pretty confident until I turned to the wrong side ... oh yuck; not much of a straight line on that side ... so more practice.

    I did find that Iíve not yet found my comfort needle; too skinny, too long, too fat. So Iím still trying different needles ... and perhaps thread wax might help with the thicker needle. The thicker ones that felt comfortable were too long, and seemed to not like being pushed through denim.

    But I know itíll just take time, so Iím going to take my time and work it out.

    Again, Thanks

    -John

  14. #10
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    16th June 15
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    As far as high quality modern sewing machines go, our vote goes to Husqvarna Viking, though there are other good brands as well. Most of the items my wife sews are wool, tweeds or tartans along with some heavier coat weight and even blanket weight wools. She uses a Viking Sapphire 850 machine, which is excellent and in the mid to upper range of the Viking line of machines. Since I was a professional sailmaker for about 35 years and worked on hot air balloons before that, we have always had several machines on hand, and the 850 has been one of the most dependable.

    I sewed the leather goods in these photos either by hand or with my big industrial Consew upholstery machine, but all the wool clothing was sewn with the Viking. Compared to an old Singer, a good mid-range modern machine will probably be a lot more precise and have a lot fewer problems, despite much of it being plastic. The important parts won't be, as long as you get up above the bargain/beginner price range, many of which struggle with thicker fabrics.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nsjhrx7h6j...jects.jpg?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/6dro4rhmf5...coats.jpg?dl=0

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