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  1. #1
    Join Date
    16th September 21
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    Large waist measurement

    Hello, everyone! I've been hand sewing historical clothing for many years now and have been eager to make a kilt for quite some time now. I have the fabric ordered and have researched the heck out of things--thank you TAOK, YouTube, and this forum--and can't wait to begin. One thing I am still a bit fuzzy on, however, is how to deal with a larger waist measurement. I've read previous threads and found the towel trick, that was helpful, but I am still uncertain about how to proceed. With the expense of the cloth, I really don't want to screw this up.

    Pre-towel, I am a 49.5" natural waist and a 47" hip, after towel my hip is 49". I had planned on doing a 50/50 split. Will the pleats along my hips fall appropriately? This has been the most confusing part for me. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  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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    If you look in a mirror sideways I think you will find that your butt sticks out a bit further than the small of your back.
    And as the front apron should always fall straight down from the belly - This means that your hip circumference will ALWAYS be larger than the waist circumference.

    And splits are seldom 50/50. At the waist the front apron will almost always be larger than the rear pleated area. This allows the aprons to curl slightly round the sides.

    I found it helpful to imagine the side seam of trousers. The apron edges should fall vertically at about where the side seam would be.

    So on larger guys I measure the front waist backwards to the side seam - The back waist forward to the side seam.
    I never did like the rolled up towel method. I had guys step forward until the belly touches a wall. From there, simulating the roundness of the belly, rearward to the side seam, and very loosely around the butt or hips forward to the side seam.

    It is far better to have more room in the hips, than too little. So be generous with the hip measurements. Give yourself 2-3 inches extra.

    Oh, and by-the-way - The largest kilt I ever made had a waist of 84 inches and it looked and swished great.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 21st September 21 at 02:35 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  3. #3
    Join Date
    3rd January 06
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    Kilts are quite complex garments in their way - and there are two distinct parts to them - the back with the pleats is quite a tailored structure, the pleats need to fall straight down from the lower edge of the fell, without flaring or twisting. Above that line the sewn and shaped pleats should skim the body, not compressing it, with enough room for shirt and anything else to be worn beneath it.

    The fell is narrowed into the small of the back, and at waist level there is at least one buckle to secure the apron to the right side of the pleats, which is the narrowest part of the fell. Above that is 'the rise' - usually 2 inches or a little more, which follows the natural shape and expands in size, up to the top edge.

    Having got around the rump, you now need to do almost the reverse styling, the aprons should also fall vertically but from higher up, so the measurement needed is not really around the hips, but around the rear plus whatever amount of fresh air needs to be included at the front.
    If you are somewhat of a bay window in front then consider how the kilt will look side on when deciding how to divide up pleats and aprons, and how you stand.
    I have seen kilts which could do with more pleat width as they seem fine from the rear, but then there is too much apron to look right.
    Don't be tempted to wear your kilt low on the hips like jeans - the proportions will be wrong, and rather unflattering. Upper hip to knee just isn't long enough to look right.
    As you do costume, you already know about proportion, and how important it is to the look of a garment.
    It might also be important to consider how to shape the upper edge - if you have ever dealt with bias cut garments you will know how you can raise and lower the upper edge and make the lower part swing to the rear, or be made to encompass various shapes of padding.
    I believe Steve Ashton has an article about the way the front and back of a kilt might be shaped to get various different effects either even or sloping of the waistline.

    I don't seem to have answered your question, about the way to set out the parts, but I'm afraid that it really does depend on a number of different factors, and you really need to see how it shapes up and if it looks to be right or wrong on the person wearing it.

    Anne the Pleater
    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.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    3rd January 06
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    Ah - you have the art of kilt making - sorry the initials did not translate - study it well and you are half done.

    Anne the Pleater
    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.

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    16th September 21
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    Boston, MA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    I had guys step forward until the belly touches a wall. From there, simulating the roundness of the belly, rearward to the side seam, and very loosely around the butt or hips forward to the side seam.

    It is far better to have more room in the hips, than too little. So be generous with the hip measurements. Give yourself 2-3 inches extra.
    The side seam of my trouser does give me a good visual to work with, so, thank you. I still worry about getting my measurements right. I like the method you described of walking up to a wall. Would that be side seam around the rear to side seam (gives me 24") and then side seam to wall (gives me 8"). So, for my overall hip measurement, would I then be looking at adding 8" to my initial hip measure?

    Somebody needs to make really good video out there for measuring bigger guys! If you know of one, let me know.

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