Making a Kilt – Part 2 of 2

A few days ago I told you about the first half of making Paul a kilt!  If you missed that, you can see it here!  When we finished last time, I’d made all the pleats and had neat unfraying edges on everything, I just needed to fit it to Paul and sort out all the linings and fastenings.  That is what I’m going to tell you about today!

I did the fitting last night as it helps to have the person you’re fitting it to in the room when you’re doing it!  The first thing I did was to carefully pin my darts together and got Paul to try it on so I could see what the fit was like.  Turns out it fitted from his waist to hips pretty much perfectly!  He was happy with the length and everything.  While it was on him, I marked using safety pins the points where the two buckles needed to be positioned and approximately where the line of velcro was going to go and where the button on the inside was going to sit.

Fitting and marking
Fitting and marking

With this all finished, I got it off him and sewed up the darts.  The first darts I’ve ever sewn!  They went very well considering!

A successful dart from the inside
A successful dart from the inside

The next thing to do was to add the lining across the pleats.  This gives it some strength and helps to keep the pleats in place without excess stitching.  I used a leftover piece of fabric for this, but using a plain lining material is also a good way of doing it!  I firstly hemmed up 3 of the sides of the material and then pinned it in place.  I then sewed around the 3 sides that weren’t on the waistline, and voila the lining is basically in…except that waistline!

The lining pinned in place
The lining pinned in place

The reason I haven’t hemmed or sewn it down yet is because I’m aiming to minimize the amount of material I’ve got around Paul’s waist!  Its already quite thick, my sewing machine was not very keen on sewing along there!
For a waistband, I’ve put a piece of petersham ribbon the whole way around the top of kilt, sewn at the top and the bottom.  This hides all the raw edges at the top and makes a nice feeling band to go against Paul’s waist.

Petersham in place
Petersham in place ready for sewing!

The final thing to do is to add all the fastenings using my safety pin markers!  First on was the kilt straps.  I’ve used two of these and sewn them carefully using my machine.  I used special leather needles for this, and I would not recommend doing it with anything but leather needles!  This doesn’t damage the tartan underneath!

Buckles in place!
Buckles in place!

Next I put a button to help keep the inside apron up.  In case you’ve forgotten, the aprons are the two flat pieces of fabric at the front of the kilt, one on the inside, one on the outside.  I’ve used a ribbon to fasten the button with as I didn’t have any elastic of the right size, and the ribbon is still easily moveable if it turns out I’ve put it in the wrong place!
I also put two buttons to hold the outside apron down while Paul is dancing using the same method.  It was here we were going to put a little bit of velcro, but in the end, buttons seemed the best option!  It’s a good idea to stay decent when wearing a kilt!


And voila! Unpin all those pleats…and one kilt!  I am exceeding proud of myself for the successful creation of a kilt.  I will post some pictures of Paul wearing his kilt when I have some, but for now, a kilt!

From the front...
From the front…
...and the back
…and the back

I promise I’ll put some better pictures up when I have them!  But for now, some things I would do differently if I made another:

  • Use tacking stitches instead of pins
  • Only tack the waistline down initially, then hem it properly when adding the petersham
  • Use a presser foot that lets me get closer to the edges of the pleats when sewing them down

And some new units of measurement I discovered during this project:

  • 1 (of our) house’s length (+ a little bit) = The length of material required to make a kilt
  • 1 spool of thread, length 100m = The amount of thread needed to make said kilt (including mistakes etc.)
  • 1 box of glass headed pins = The amount of pins require to subdue said kilt (specifically the pleats) into submission for sewing…next time we remember to tack instead of pin…

And finally, sewing comes with its mistakes.
This is what happens if you accidentally try to sew through a safety pin:

My needle seems a little bent...
My needle seems a little bent…

And how to sew through a label:

Not sure I wanted to attach that...
Not sure I wanted to attach that…

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