Many of you followers that have been reading this blog for awhile have read many of posts of my kilt making days. At the beginning of each fall and spring I work on making kilts for these lovely boys (plus about 50 more). They are the men of Chi Lambda Phi. You may be asking yourself, "Why kilts?" Well you see, their mascot is Scotsmen; lo and behold... the kilts.
If you can sew a straight line, then you can sew a kilt. Seriously!
So here you have it:
The Kilt Tutorial
What you need:
2 Yards of Fabric
1 Yard of Lining
1 Foot of Velcro
Leave your fabric at 2 yards in length, but this will actually make not one.. BUT TWO kilts. I know, lucky you! You are going to cut your fabric 21" wide. You will use part of the extra to make the waistband so do not trash it just yet.
Everything you sew on you will do from the inside of the kilt NOT the outside.
So, starting with the left side of the kilt going long ways, measure 19". At the 19" mark is where you will begin making your pleats. Your pleats will each be one inch wide (so 2" of fabric folded in half). All you are going to do, is fold your 2" of fabric in half and sew a straight line from the top of that 2" mark directly diagonal down about 4" to the crease. So you are sewing a straight line, but it is a diagonal line. I hope that is not confusing you as much as it is me.
Once you have that pleat done, you are going to space over 2" and then make another pleat with the next 2" of fabric. So you will have 2" between each pleat when completed. You will want to make about 9-10 pleats leaving as close to the same 19" on the right side with no pleats.
Sewing on the inside of the kilt again, you are next going to grab the lining. You will notice it is not quite long enough to stretch across the entire kilt. This is because the lining is simply to make it more comfortable around the front of the body for the person wearing it. Typically the back will not touch a person's legs. So, cut the lining to be about 19" wide. You are going to take the lining and starting with the left side of the inside of the kilt, line it up along the edges, and sew it along the top. When you get to the pleats, be sure to fold them down facing you so they are easier to sew over.
After the lining has been sewn on, you are going to sew a 1" hem on each of the two sides of the kilt so the ends are all nice and neat. You will actually not hem the bottom unless you just badly want to. The kilt looks more authentic if you leave the fabric as is on the bottom.
We are now moving on the waistband. You are going to cut out an 8" wide strip of that fabric. Even though the kilt is no longer 2 yards long, you can still cut it that much. We will cut off the extra at the end. Take your 8" wide waist band and this is where the iron and ironing board comes into play. We are going to steam the belt so it is much much MUCH easier to sew on. You are going to fold it in half, fold it in half again (that was two folds) and steam the edges. You should have at this point one half has the nice clean steamed edge and the other half is the raw edges we cut.
This part you can pin, but I would recommend you just manually hold the belt on because you want to make sure the kilt stays centered inside as best as you can. This is by far the most difficult part of the kilt because it is very tedious. So here is what you will do, you are going to make sure the raw edges of the waist band are on the inside of the kilt and the smooth creased end is what will show on the outside. Again, remember we only sew on the inside of the kilt. You are going to fold under about 1" of the edge of the waist end and line it up with the left edge of the kilt. We want to try to prevent any raw edges from showing except for what we left at the bottom of the kilt. Make sure the kilt is slid all the way into the middle of the waist band. You are just going to sew it all the way until you have about 6" remaining of the waist band and kilt to attach. When you get to that 6" mark, you are going to cut off all but an extra 1" edge of the waist band that is hanging off past the edge of the kilt. Again, you are going to fold that extra 1" under on the waist band until it lines up with the edge of the kilt so it looks nice and clean. Finish up sewing the waist band to the kilt. You are done with the hardest part!!! Congratulations!
Now we are going to add the velcro. Tear your strip apart. You will notice one piece is more rough and one is much softer. We want to make sure the rough piece is facing away from the body. You know how I have been saying we never sew on the outside of the kilt, well, this is the exception to that rule. Take your rough piece of velcro, you are going to sew it onto the left side of the kilt, but on the outside. Then, take our smooth piece of velcro, you are going to sew it onto the right side of the kilt, but on the inside. You should then be able to hold the rough piece of velcro in front of you, wrap the kilt around you, and adhere the soft piece of velcro. This makes the size kind of a one-size-fits-all for a typical college male.
This is the LAST step! You are almost done! All you are going to do is lay out the kilt with the inside facing up. You are now going to cut two slits in the lining until about 6" away from the waist band. The first one should be roughly 10" from the left side of the kilt. The second will be about 18" from the first slit. This just makes it easier to move around in the kilt.
You have now made your first kilt!!
I hope that was not too confusing. Maybe someday when I am sewing away on them I will remember to take pictures. When I am in the mass production phase I typically totally forget about pictures.
Now all you need is a great Scottish accent and you are 1/2 way there to becoming a true Scotsman. The other 1/2 is some blue face paint so people know you are serious.
Good luck on your kilt making! Please send me pictures if you decide to make one and I will add them onto this post.