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  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th September 04
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    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    A Step-By-Step Primer on Pressing a Kilt

    A STEP-BY-STEP PRIMER ON PRESSING A KILT!!!!

    Put your kilt on and turn around in front of a mirror. Look at the hang of the pleats. If they seem to have a stage curtain, wavy look, the pleats need to be re-creased completely.
    If your pleat edges are a smooth round edge instead of a sharp crease you need to re-press.
    If your pleats are hanging well and the edges are sharp, but there are wrinkles in the pleat surfaces you don't need to go through these steps. Simply set your iron to a steam setting and shoot steam through the pleats as it hangs naturally.

    DON"T STEAM YOUR KILT WHILE WEARING IT!!!! OUCH!!!

    You don't want to put too much heat on the kilt while steaming. This will take the creases right out. Just shoot a jet of steam at the kilt from about four or five inches away, while you gently pull down on three or four pleats at a time.
    If the fabric gets so hot that you cannot touch it you are using too much heat. I use a waving action with the jet of steam. I grab three or four pleats, pull down gently to put a little tension in the fabric and then shoot a quick shot of steam. Then wait a couple of seconds and shoot the next couple of pleats.

    If you need to re-set the pleats follow these steps.


    1. Lay your kilt out on a table or other large, flat surface. The floor is perfect.

    2. Set your iron to the appropriate heat setting. Wool for Wool, or the lower Polyester or Synthetic setting for Poly/Viscous, or the higher Cotton setting for most Contemporary kilts.

    3. Moisten a pressing cloth. You can use a pillow case, or some other like cloth. This cloth should be slightly damp only. Just enough so you can feel moisture nothing more.

    4. Get a needle and thread. Use an upholstery thread if you have it, otherwise you can use any heavy duty thread.

    5. Baste your pleats back to the original position. Use the pattern on your kilt up near the Fell as a guide. To find the Fell, slide you finger up one of the pleats until you find where the pleat is sewn down in the area of the hip.
    Basting is actually very easy. You should only need a few minutes to do an entire kilt.
    Fold one pleat to the proper line of the Tartan pattern and loosly sew it to the next pleat only. You will be sewing through four layers of fabric.
    Use a tape measure or ruler to insure you keep the proper pleat spacing exactly the same as up at the fell.
    You do not knot the thread, just leave a long tail at the beginning. You are not re-sewing the pleats, only holding them in place while you press.
    Baste one line at the hem and another half way up to the Fell.
    DO NOT SKIP THE BASTING STEP.
    do not use pins. Pins will leave large wrinkles in your pleats.

    6. After the entire kilt is basted use a pillow, rolled bath towel, or some other cushion to lift the Fell area up till the pleats below the Fell so the pleats are nice and perfectly flat and smooth all the way down to the hem.

    I use a large ironing table 3'x5' with a cloth cover but you can use almost any smooth, flat surface. The floor is perfect as long as you don't have thick shag carpeting. DON'T USE YOUR WIFES DINING ROOM TABLE!!! The steam you are going to use will ruin the surface and you will end up eating in the garage for the rest of your life.

    7. Lay the pressing cloth over the pleat area. Place the iron down on the covered kilt and LEAN ON THAT SUCKER!!!. Hit the Steam button on your iron a couple of times if it has one. It is the pressure and the heat of the steam that does the work. USE ONLY THE STEAM TO CREATE THE HEAT AND GET IT DOWN INTO THE FABRIC!!!
    Leave the iron in place with pressure for a count of ten or fifteen.
    Then lift the iron and move it over to overlap the last area by about 50%. DO NOT SLIDE THE IRON TO THE NEXT AREA, PICK IT UP AND PLACE IT DOWN. Press again. Repeat until you have gone over the entire pleated area of the kilt.

    8. Remove the pressing cloth and allow the kilt to cool completely without moving it or disturbing it. This allows the creases to set.

    9. Lift your kilt and look at the pleats. They should now hang perfectly straight and flat. If you see any irregularities remove the basting in that area only. Re-baste and re-press the irregular area. Check the kilt again.
    If everything looks good remove the basting.

    10. Put your kilt on, turn around in front of a mirror and check the hang of the pleats. If everything looks good smile and go outside to show off your work.

    This will completely re-set the pleats of your entire kilt. This only needs to be done once or twice a year on a good quality Wool kilt.

    Anyone who wears the kilt should get real good at pressing. Learn to enjoy the process. It is one of those totally new experiences for most men. But oh the difference in a newly pressed kilt.

    It takes me less than an 30 min. to do an entire kilt including the time to let the iron warm up and the time to find the basting thread and remember where my needle was used last.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    8th January 08
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    The Bayou City - Houston, TX
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    What method do you recommend in order to clean the kilt? Brushing the fabric? Washing in Woolite? I've heard not to take the kilt into a dry cleaners because the chemicals will ruin the oils in the wool and damage the leather straps. Are there professional cleaners that know how to clean a kilt?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    7th July 06
    Location
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    Convener, Georgia Chapter, House of Gordon (Boss H.O.G.)

    Where 4 Scotsmen gather there'll usually be a fifth.
    7/5 of the world's population have a difficult time with fractions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    13th January 08
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    Thank you great advice

  5. #5
    Join Date
    5th October 08
    Location
    Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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    Excellent step by step for anyone that is new to pressing / ironing their kilt. Thanks for sharing.
    Yours Aye,
    Sean

  6. #6
    Join Date
    12th August 07
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    Mansfield, Texas
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    I just pressed the pleats on an old kilt of mine and it looks like new now! Very easy to follow! Thanks for taking the time to put it all in "writing."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    9th January 08
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    I dry clean all my kilts at a local shop here in Houston (Sim's City Cleaners) whose owner had a son in a local school pipe band. It's not cheap but I only do it once or twice a year, given how little I wear my kilts. Keeping my kilts pressed in between is where I need some advice: Does anyone have any experience with a CLOTHES PRESS? My kilts tend to get wrinkled right where the sporran falls on the front apron. I hang them up using a quilt hanger with soft plastic clips, but I'm considering looking at a clothes press for whichever kilt is next in the rotation. How well do they work and is there a downside?
    "Bona Na Croin: Neither Crown Nor Collar."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    To answer your question....If the wrinkle is in the apron you don't need an iron, a press or anything but a small steamer. These can usually be found in stores like WalMart, Zellers, Target and others of the like.

    Hang your Kilt as described in my tutorial "How to hang your Kilt" and pass the steamer down the aprons. As the heat warms the Wool you will find the wrinkles fall right out. If you need a light downward pulling on the Hem will help but take care not to distort the fabric.

    I have been using a steamer for over 5 years now. When traveling, in the Kilt Shop for touch-ups, and on my own Kilts at home. I heartily suggest every Kilt wearer have one.

    A comment.....Some advise not dry-cleaning Wool Kilts. The thinking is that the chemicals gradually remove the natural oils and lanolin from the Wool.
    Hand-washing a Wool Kilt is best. It takes some time, especially to dry but is gentle, requires no re-pressing, and doesn't cost a thing to do.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  9. #9
    Dan R Porter is offline Membership Revoked for repeated rule violations.
    Join Date
    6th February 08
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    Capitalize

    Someone or somewhere, maybe a x-mark advertiser, could offer this as a service, I send my kilt in, you press it, and send it back. I would happily pay 30 bones to have my kilt proffesionally pressed, I tried it on my own with "good" results, though not great. I still have some pleats that "curl in." :/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    20th February 09
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio
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    how often do you tend to need to re-press on average?

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