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  1. #1
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    Pleat stitching for lefties - here's a method that works

    Hi all,

    The instructions for stitching pleats in The Art of Kiltmaking are written for "righties". Many people have asked me what someone who is left-handed should do. I haven't had a very satisfactory answer in the past, because I am not left-handed myself, although I know that people have worked out a variety of strategies. But! I now have a suggestion that I _know_ works because I've just tried it out and pleated half a kilt this way.

    Here's the problem. If you are right handed, you can stitch from the bottom of the fell to the top of the kilt along the edge of the pleat, and simultaneously put tension on the pleat to keep it nice and straight by clamping the tartan under your right leg ("the position" http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...osition-70750/) and pulling the top of the kilt to the left with your left hand. If you're left handed, however, you need to start at the top of the kilt and stitch a pleat toward the bottom of the fell. You still need to put tension on the pleat to keep it straight, but, since you're working right at the top of the kilt, there's no extra fabric to stuff under your leg to pull against with your right hand while you stitch from the top to the bottom of the fell with your left.

    So - here's what I tried that works. I am in the process of pleating a Reverse Kingussie kilt where half the pleats have a different "handedness" than the other half. So I was faced with exactly the same issue for half the pleats that a leftie faces with a trad knife-pleated kilt - I had to stitch the pleats from the top of the kilt to the bottom of the fell. I had Dave take some pics of me sewing, but, since I'm still a rightie, I flipped them in PhotoShop so that it looks like a leftie stitching a regular pleat.

    Step 1: Put on a pair of heavy pants that you don't mind putting pinholes into. Jeans are fine, but even heavier pants are better. In the pics below, I'm wearing my fav Kuhl Ryders (these are fab pants for all kinds of other reasons as well!).
    Step 2: Pin the pleat along the full length at the right width. I use 6 or 7 pins. Start stitching at the top of the pleat, and stitch about 1/2" down along the fell.
    Step 3: Pin the top of the kilt to your pants. I found that I needed to pin both the pleat that I was stitching and the one I was stitching into in order to be able to pull evenly on the pleats without skewing. Take a big bite with the pins so that you've got a sturdy hold.



    Step 4: Pull with your right hand to straighten everything and make sure that your pins will hold in your pants.
    Step 5: Pinch with your right thumb next to where you will be stitching, and pull to your right.



    Step 6: Stitch along the edge of the pleat as instructed in TAoK, but use your left hand and work toward the bottom of the fell along the edge. Keep tension on the pleat with your right hand.



    I imagine that any clamping system would work just as well. This one is nice and portable!
    Last edited by Barb T; 29th June 17 at 12:44 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. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Barb T For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Saved as a pdf, and posted on your web page, this would make another great addendum to TAoK, like the box-pleat addendum.
    KEN CORMACK
    Clan Buchanan
    U.S. Coast Guard, Retired
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA

  4. #3
    Join Date
    30th November 04
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    True - when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I'll do that!!
    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

  5. #4
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    Brilliant. Just don't stand up to shake hands.
    " Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." - Mae West -

  6. #5
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    8th October 12
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    ...and just for clarification... it would appear that the material is sitting in your lap. Is that correct?

    And on behalf of the the sinister, backhanded, creative, right-brain folks here - myself included - thank you. Of course this means I have to wear jeans all week at Kilt Kamp. I hope it is moderate in Victoria this year.... or pin to my leg... hmmmm???

  7. #6
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    Yes, it is sitting in my lap. But there are alternatives! You can bring a clamp that you can clamp to the table, and you can pull against the clamp.
    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

  8. #7
    Join Date
    26th February 12
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    Lake in the Hills, IL
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    Thanks for this outstanding little tip, I have your book, knew I would need some creativity in the lefty sewing method but I couldn't figure out a simple way, pins seem to solve a lot of my issues as of late!
    "Everything is within walking distance if you've got the time"

  9. #8
    Join Date
    22nd January 13
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    Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle NSW
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    Hi Barb, and the left-handed tenth of the population,

    It seems to me that, if you can clamp your kilt to something solid while you sew pleats into it, you can just as easily clamp any other material, including, say, the cut-off leg of an old pair of jeans, to which you can then pin the top of the new kilt. This would reduce the risk of pinning the kilt to yourself as well as to your trousers.

    It also strikes me as an opportunity for right- and left-handed kiltmakers to team up when the kilt-wearing world "discovers" Kingussie pleating and floods us with orders.
    Grizzled Ian
    XMTS teaches much about formal kilt wear, but otherwise,
    ... the kilt is clothes, what you wear with it should be what you find best suits you and your lifestyle. (Anne the Pleater)
    "Sometimes, it is better not to know the facts" (Father Bill)

  10. #9
    Join Date
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    text deleted
    Last edited by Grizzled Ian; 27th April 14 at 10:19 PM. Reason: duplicate post
    Grizzled Ian
    XMTS teaches much about formal kilt wear, but otherwise,
    ... the kilt is clothes, what you wear with it should be what you find best suits you and your lifestyle. (Anne the Pleater)
    "Sometimes, it is better not to know the facts" (Father Bill)

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