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Thread: Woven fabric

  1. #1
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    Woven fabric

    I apologize if this has been asked before.

    I was thinking about this last night. I believe regular fabric is 54". So my first question is:

    How wide is woven kilt fabric?

    Question two:

    If an 8 yard kilt has a 24" drop, what happens to the other 30" of the fabric? (assuming fabric is 54" wide)

    I understand that there is a little extra fabric used for the band at the top, and for the double fringe part, but it cant be that much.

  2. #2
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    One of the things you have to understand is that there is no one, single, standard for fabrics.

    There are fabrics woven around 25" to 30" wide. These we in the kilt world call "Single-Width".

    There are other fabrics woven between 54" and 60" wide. These we in the kilt world call "Double-Width".

    If you purchase "Double-Width" fabric you rip or cut the piece in half lengthwise. This gives you two pieces around 28" to 30" wide. You would then seam the two pieces together to get one full length piece.
    So for an 8 yard kilt you would normally buy 4 yards of Double-Width fabric.

    If however you buy 8 yards of Single-Width fabric to get the same thing.


    Most of the Tartan weaving mills today use computer controlled Double-Width looms. A few are still around with the older Single-Width looms but they are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go by.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  3. #3
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    Steve, thanks for that info. Two follow up questions, so I am clear.

    I heard that for a special order most mills require a minimum of 10-12 yards. Regardless of whether its single or double width, you wouldn't need to seam two pieces together, correct? And if it were double width, you would be able to get two kilts out of it?

  4. #4
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    All looms have a minimum amount of warp yarn that is required to set up (called warping) the loom. There is always some waste on each end.

    To cover the cost of this waste, and to cover the labor to warp the loom ready to weave, there is a minimum amount of yardage where the weaver breaks even.

    This minimum yardage amount is different for each mill. One mill I know of set their minimum at 36 yards while another is 11 meters. (There used to be a mill that would weave one kilt worth of single width fabric but it has been so long since I dealt with them that others will have to chime in if that is still the case.)

    The mill I normally work with, for a custom run set their minimum at 11 meters of double-width fabric. This is one meter less than what would be needed to produce 3 kilts.

    Of course the cost for a custom run will be higher, per meter, than a normal run where the waste and warping costs can be spread out over many hundreds of meters. (The per meter cost is almost double for a custom run.)

    A custom run is the only option if you design your own Tartan of if the Tartan you want is one of the thousand of less common designs. This is where the help of a kilt maker can come in handy. One who deals with mills on a regular basis and is familiar with various mills. Their minimum yardage requirements, single with vs double width capabilities, and the qualities of the fabric of each.

    I would be far less influenced by whether the kilt required a seam or not. Seams are the norm in kilt making. Single width is usually chosen because some Tartan designs are what are called "asymmetrical" which means that they do not lend themselves to seaming as well as symmetrical designs. The Canadian Maple Leaf, some Buchanan, Stewart Hunting, MacMillan old Sett, and Drummond of Strathallan are just some designs that are easier to work with if you have one full length of either single-width fabric, or the mill can cut a single length from a double width bolt.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  5. #5
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    Steve, again thanks for the reply. Ultimately yes a custom weave for a personal tartan (STR 10077). We were going to start looking this spring/summer for someone who could help, with with the mill and kilt, but the way the world is right now, that may not happen.

  6. #6
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    D.C. Dalgliesh will weave a single kilt length (8 yards of single width tartan) as a custom weave. It is understandably expensive due to the labor and loom waste issues that Steve explained. If it's the only way to get the tartan you want/need, and you can't find anyone else who wants the same tartan, it's an alternative that IS available, as it always has been from Dalgliesh.
    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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