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  1. #1
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    Help with Droopy Apron

    I had an inquiry from a local pipe major regarding a kilt with a droopy apron. As can be seen in the photos, there is a saggy bit in the middle. It's there with or without a sporran. I took his measurements and compared them to the measurements of the kilt. The waist was okay, but the hips were quite a bit off. I calculated the measurements for how wide the apron should be at the hip and the pleat section as well. The apron was about right, but the pleat section was about 3 inches too wide. It looks like the hip buckle was just stuck on below the waist buckle instead of measuring.

    I have a couple of questions if I may:

    1. Am I correct in assuming that, to do it correctly, I would have to alter the pleats from both sides?

    2. Is this the only way to do it? I basically don't want to make a bigger job of it than it needs to be. I don't want it to be a situation where it's cheaper for the pipe major, or nearly so, to have another kilt made.

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

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    Last edited by Arnot; 30th September 19 at 02:13 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Hi Arnot,

    Can you post a rear view, plus the person's measurements for hips and waist, plus the actual measurements across the apron at waist and hips and across the pleats at waist and hips? Also, could you lay the kilt out on the floor or a table and take a pic of the apron and pleats in one landscape view?

    In terms of alteration, it could be that just the apron needs altering, if the kiltmaker put too much in the hips - this could easily give rise to a "wave" across the apron. But, if it's the case that the waist fits fine in the pleats but there's too much in the hips (which would more likely give a "wave" in the pleats, rather than in the apron), that's not something that a simple alteration will solve because you would have to alter each pleat and make it smaller at the hips but not at the waist. Taking out a couple pleats is not the answer for two reasons. First, taking out pleats simultaneously makes the kilt smaller in the waist and the hips, which is a non-starter if the kilt actually fits OK in the waist. Second, because the pleats are cut out, removing pleats leaves you with nothing for the deep pleat or inverted pleat toward the top of the kilt unless you literally cut off the apron and underapron and seam them back onto the pleats section once you have removed the pleats you want to get rid of.

    Maybe once I see more pics, there's a simple solution. Was the kilt made for this person, or is it a hand-me-down band kilt made for someone who is a different shape?
    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

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    Hi Arnot,

    Can you post a rear view, plus the person's measurements for hips and waist, plus the actual measurements across the apron at waist and hips and across the pleats at waist and hips? Also, could you lay the kilt out on the floor or a table and take a pic of the apron and pleats in one landscape view?

    In terms of alteration, it could be that just the apron needs altering, if the kiltmaker put too much in the hips - this could easily give rise to a "wave" across the apron. But, if it's the case that the waist fits fine in the pleats but there's too much in the hips (which would more likely give a "wave" in the pleats, rather than in the apron), that's not something that a simple alteration will solve because you would have to alter each pleat and make it smaller at the hips but not at the waist. Taking out a couple pleats is not the answer for two reasons. First, taking out pleats simultaneously makes the kilt smaller in the waist and the hips, which is a non-starter if the kilt actually fits OK in the waist. Second, because the pleats are cut out, removing pleats leaves you with nothing for the deep pleat or inverted pleat toward the top of the kilt unless you literally cut off the apron and underapron and seam them back onto the pleats section once you have removed the pleats you want to get rid of.

    Maybe once I see more pics, there's a simple solution. Was the kilt made for this person, or is it a hand-me-down band kilt made for someone who is a different shape?
    Hi Barb,

    Thanks for your reply. I'll contact the pipe major for additional photos as I don't actually have the kilt. I believe it was made for him when he was 18 or something like that.

    What you say makes sense. It does seem to be okay on the waist so unless there is another solution it might have to be a rebuild. I would rather not have to do that if I can help it as it would be a rather expensive job. I did a total rebuild (stripped it down to the tartan) for a relative. I didn't charge for the job, but it was a lot of work so it would have been really pricey.

    Many thanks for your assistance.

    Troy.

  6. #4
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    Because this is a pipe band kilt, my suggestion would be to save it for someone else in the future and get a new one to fit this person. If you were to charge for a total re-build, you would have to charge not only for the re-stitching time but also the cost for your time to take the whole damn thing apart, plus an extra charge for the really challenging aspect of trying to re-pleat a piece of tartan with big chunks cut out at every pleat. Personally, I wouldn't take the job even if they paid me the full cost of a new kilt!!!
    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

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    Because this is a pipe band kilt, my suggestion would be to save it for someone else in the future and get a new one to fit this person. If you were to charge for a total re-build, you would have to charge not only for the re-stitching time but also the cost for your time to take the whole damn thing apart, plus an extra charge for the really challenging aspect of trying to re-pleat a piece of tartan with big chunks cut out at every pleat. Personally, I wouldn't take the job even if they paid me the full cost of a new kilt!!!
    It's actually his personal kilt. I made his band kilt myself so it fits properly. I see what you mean, though. When I did the rebuild I was thinking that it was a good thing it was a family thing or I might not have done it either!

    I have contacted him requesting more photos. Hopefully he gets back with me soon.

    Many thanks.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnot View Post
    It's actually his personal kilt. I made his band kilt myself so it fits properly. I see what you mean, though. When I did the rebuild I was thinking that it was a good thing it was a family thing or I might not have done it either!

    I have contacted him requesting more photos. Hopefully he gets back with me soon.

    Many thanks.
    OH! Sorry I wasn't on the page. When someone asks me about something like this for a personal kilt, I typically tell them to sell it unaltered and use the proceeds to buy a new one that fits properly.
    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

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    Hi Arnot,

    Can you post a rear view, plus the person's measurements for hips and waist, plus the actual measurements across the apron at waist and hips and across the pleats at waist and hips? Also, could you lay the kilt out on the floor or a table and take a pic of the apron and pleats in one landscape view?

    In terms of alteration, it could be that just the apron needs altering, if the kiltmaker put too much in the hips - this could easily give rise to a "wave" across the apron. But, if it's the case that the waist fits fine in the pleats but there's too much in the hips (which would more likely give a "wave" in the pleats, rather than in the apron), that's not something that a simple alteration will solve because you would have to alter each pleat and make it smaller at the hips but not at the waist. Taking out a couple pleats is not the answer for two reasons. First, taking out pleats simultaneously makes the kilt smaller in the waist and the hips, which is a non-starter if the kilt actually fits OK in the waist. Second, because the pleats are cut out, removing pleats leaves you with nothing for the deep pleat or inverted pleat toward the top of the kilt unless you literally cut off the apron and underapron and seam them back onto the pleats section once you have removed the pleats you want to get rid of.

    Maybe once I see more pics, there's a simple solution. Was the kilt made for this person, or is it a hand-me-down band kilt made for someone who is a different shape?
    Hi Barb. You asked for additional measurements and photos. Unfortunately the photos were taken after a car ride back from a gig.

    The pipe majors measurements:

    Waist- 38 1/2
    Hips- 45 1/2

    The kilt measurements:

    Waist-37 1/2
    Hips- 25 1/2 in the Pleats, 23 1/2 in the Apron

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    Again, many thanks for your assistance.

  12. #8
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    Hi Arnot,

    OK - so here's my take. Someone with a 38 1/2" waist is not someone with a big beer belly, so there is no reason to add extra to the hip measurement in order to get the apron to hang straight down. Also, it looks from the photos that, even though he has a muscular butt (i.e., not a flat butt), there's still way too much in the pleats at the hips because there's a wave in the back of the kilt as well. The kilt should sit smoothly across the back at the hips in the pleats, and the photos show clearly that you could pinch an inch or more on each side in the pleats before the kilt would lie flat across his butt.

    If I had those measurements (and those are almost exactly the same measurements as kilt I just made for my son-in law), here's what I would do:

    waist 38 1/2: put 20" in the apron and 18 1/2" in the pleats at the waist.
    hips 45 1/2: put 22 1/4" in the apron and 23 1/4" in the pleats at the hips.

    So, comparing with the actual kilt measurements, it looks like, at the hips, the apron is over an inch bigger across than I would make it, and the pleats are more than 2" bigger across (which is consistent with being able to pinch an inch or so on each side of the kilt in the pleats).

    The big issue is the pleats - they're too wide at the hips for his measurements. I suspect that this is fundamentally the reason why the apron also wants to wave. The pleats section is too big across at the hips, and the wave is pushing forward toward the apron on each side because the pleats are stiffer than the apron. Because the pleats are not too big at the waist (and might even be a bit on the skimpy side), taking one pleat out on each side can't solve the problem. Having said all this, it's possible that taking the apron in on both sides some would help (at least it might help the wave in the apron). It certainly would be easy to test by just pinning a small fold at the edge apron and underapron next to the pleats to see if that helps.

    In the long run, I personally would never be happy with that kilt if it were mine. And I suspect that is true of someone who is a pipe major as well and must wear his kilt a lot. My advice would be to sell the kilt and have a new one made.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Barb T; 1st October 19 at 01:03 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

  13. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    Hi Arnot,

    OK - so here's my take. Someone with a 38 1/2" waist is not someone with a big beer belly, so there is no reason to add extra to the hip measurement in order to get the apron to hang straight down. Also, it looks from the photos that, even though he has a muscular butt (i.e., not a flat butt), there's still way too much in the pleats at the hips because there's a wave in the back of the kilt as well. The kilt should sit smoothly across the back at the hips in the pleats, and the photos show clearly that you could pinch an inch or more on each side in the pleats before the kilt would lie flat across his butt.

    If I had those measurements (and those are almost exactly the same measurements as kilt I just made for my son-in law), here's what I would do:

    waist 38 1/2: put 20" in the apron and 18 1/2" in the pleats at the waist.
    hips 45 1/2: put 22 1/4" in the apron and 23 1/4" in the pleats at the hips.

    So, comparing with the actual kilt measurements, it looks like, at the hips, the apron is over an inch bigger across than I would make it, and the pleats are more than 2" bigger across (which is consistent with being able to pinch an inch or so on each side of the kilt in the pleats).

    The big issue is the pleats - they're too wide at the hips for his measurements. I suspect that this is fundamentally the reason why the apron also wants to wave. The pleats section is too big across at the hips, and the wave is pushing forward toward the apron on each side because the pleats are stiffer than the apron. Because the pleats are not too big at the waist (and might even be a bit on the skimpy side), taking one pleat out on each side can't solve the problem. Having said all this, it's possible that taking the apron in on both sides some would help (at least it might help the wave in the apron). It certainly would be easy to test by just pinning a small fold at the edge apron and underapron next to the pleats to see if that helps.

    In the long run, I personally would never be happy with that kilt if it were mine. And I suspect that is true of someone who is a pipe major as well and must wear his kilt a lot. My advice would be to sell the kilt and have a new one made.

    Hope this helps!

    It helps a lot. You have confirmed some of my thoughts and pointed out other things I hadn't thought of. I will also be able to do a better job explaining why he should get another kilt.

    Thanks so much for all the help. It is greatly appreciated.

  14. #10
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    Absitively posolutely!
    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

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