Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Kilt Making

My Viking and I were going to be attending the Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games in our area. It's a pretty big event, so I decided to make myself a nice woman's kilt to wear.

I have several women's kilts, but they are made out of wool, and traditionally, this event is warm (around 80 deg F), so I wanted something lighter.

I took my nice Scottish kilt, measured every inch of it, and took copious notes about sizing, the type of pleats (one box pleat and the rest were knife pleats), the size of the pleats, etc.
What's nice about this type of skirt is that it's a big swath of fabric that's pleated into a simple skirt shape. There's not a lot of sewing pieces together, except for 4 small darts on either end to help give it shape, adding a waistband, and the final closures.

However, there is a lot of pleating to be done. I found some cotton/poly fabric (2.1 yards = ~75" wide) that I liked and started pleating. I couldn't find my "perfect pleater" so I had to pleat by hand, which isn't that hard, especially when the plaid acts as a nice repeating pattern to create said pleats. It took quite a bit of time to complete all of the pleating.

For my particular skirt, my pleats weren't perfectly straight, with my original skirt, the pleats curved slightly up towards the top of the skirt forming pleated "darts" that help shaped the skirt for my waist. It's hard to see in the photo.

Once I had all the pleats in place, I used a combination of a water/vinegar solution (1 cup vinegar/2 cups of water) in a spray bottle to help permanently set the pleats during pressing. I spray the solution over the pleats and carefully press the pleats down.

The vinegar solution helps to chemically set the pleats permanently.

It's hard to see the pleats in a photograph, so I stuck a ruler in between said pleats.

Once the pleats were set, I carefully sewed down the pleats from the waist to the top of my hips. (This was done in the original skirt as well.)

I added the waistband to the skirt and the final closures. Because this skirt was so light, I opted to use a hook & eye skirt closures that I picked up at Joann's.

While I was making the skirt, I added quite a bit more notes for future use...just in case I want to make more kilted skirts.

Overall, it took me about 3-4 hours to make the skirt -- and most of that time was spent pleating and re-pleating when I wasn't happy with the pleats. If I can find my perfect pleater, I'm sure it would have taken far less time.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to wear this kilt at the Highland Games. We had a record-breaking heat of 104-114 deg F at the Games all weekend, and it was much too hot to wear that much fabric, so I opted to simply wear a sarong instead!

However, once the weather cools down, I now have a new skirt to wear for work, so I definitely call it a win!

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