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  1. #1
    Join Date
    26th December 18
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    Steeking Question

    Good day all,

    I have a polyviscose kilt that appears to follow most of the conventions of TAoK (with machine stitched pleats and the shape of the apron being notable exceptions). It fits, hangs and swished well but I noticed that in two pleats, the steeking stitches have let go.

    I have steeked (and added stabilizers and interfacing) two acrylic kilts, mostly to practice the skills for when I tackle my own build. So, I'm confident I can open up the liner and redo the steeking.

    My question is, is this something that should be done immediately or as long as the other steeking doesn't let go, something that can wait?

    Thanks in advance,

    Shane

  2. #2
    Join Date
    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48 25' 47.31"N 123 20' 4.59" W
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    It really depends on if the pleats under the Fell Area are cut away or not.

    The purpose of the Steeking line is to support the inside of the pleats that have a tendency to sag from being cut away.

    If the kilt is machine sewn then the chances are pretty good that the pleats are not cut away. (In a machine sewn kilt there also may not be the hair canvas interfacing because the machine stitching through all the layers compresses and stiffens the Fell Area which is what the interfacing does in a hand stitched kilt.)

    Very few Poly/Rayon kilts and virtually none of the Acrylic kilts have, or need, a Steeking line. The reason is that the Poly/Rayon fabrics are thin enough that they don't have a lot of bulk and the Acrylics are made without cut-aways, interfacing, stabilizer or any more than a rudimentary liner. Heck in many Acrylic kilts, the only reason there is a liner is because other kilts have a liner.

    I have even seen Scottish made custom kilts without Steeking eventhough it should have been there to support the pleats..

    But if the inside of the Fell Area has the excess fabric cut away to reduce bulk, then I would fix the Steeking line sooner than later.

    Another thing I would be asking myself is - "Why did the steeking fail in the first place?" There should be very little stress on the area of the kilt where the Steeking line is.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 18th February 20 at 10:24 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    26th December 18
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    Thanks Steve!

    When I got the kilt, I did the stretch test, which saw very little stretch and stood up the fell, which it did but not well. Based on that, and how the fabric felt, I assumed that there was a stabilizer, interfacing and had cut out pleats.

    Based on your post, I checked and it seems the pleats are not cut out. I don't know whether the steeking was original or added after the fact from what you've said, I don't need to worry about it.

    As to why it failed, the thread seems rather cheap and I've checked when I'm wearing it and there doesn't seem to be much stress in that area so I don't know.

    Thanks, as always, for taking the time to provide a detailed explanation.

    Shane

  5. #4
    Join Date
    30th November 04
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    The lining typically covers up the steeking, so I'm having a hard time visualizing this. If you haven't taken the lining off, how do you know that the steeking has let go? Are you sure that it's not just the stitches that sew on the lining that have let go?

    Maybe you could post a pic of what your kilt looks like where the steeking has let go so we can see what you're looking at? That way, we could help you better.
    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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  7. #5
    Join Date
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    Thanks for weighing in Barb, I'll try to get some pictures when I get home.

    However, I'll try to explain why I believe there was steeking and that it has failed in at least one place. In most pleats, if I gently reach up in the pleat from the fell, I can feel where there are some stitches holding the fabric together. I, perhaps mistakenly, assumed these were steeking stitches and in two adjacent pleats, these stitches seem to be broken. It didn't appear to be the stitches holding down the lining, however, I may have just jumped to conclusions and not checked that closely enough.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I'll check when I get home and if it's not the lining stitches, I'll get some images to show what I'm seeing.

    Shane

  8. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb T View Post
    Maybe you could post a pic of what your kilt looks like where the steeking has let go so we can see what you're looking at? That way, we could help you better.
    Barb,

    So I had a look when I got home and here's what I noticed from the outside of the kilt.

    Here, there is stitching right at the bottom of the fell:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    But, a couple of pleats over, the stitching has let go:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    But when I flipped it over to look at the inside, which I didn't even think to do earlier, here's what I found :

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    So it would appear the previous owner decided to add this line of stitching and those stitches are letting go.

    Thanks again to both you and Steve. Next time I'll remember to look at both sides of a kilt before jumping to conclusions!

    Shane

  9. #7
    Join Date
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    I suspect you are right that they were added later - steeking is normally hidden under the lining. I'm curious why the previous owner thought it was necessary.
    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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