Added Apr 26, 2010
Our friend Mikey wanted a kilt for hiking. I did some research about traditional Scottish kilts and then adapted the idea into a simplified and more casual Americanized version. I did not use a pattern.
The front apron part is formed by a deep pleat (about 8 inches) and there are a dozen other box pleats around. All pleats are sewn to make ironing easier. Everything is topstitched and bar tacked to make the kilt more durable. The cargo pockets are sewn only at the hip line and hang free from that point. The waistband is closed with two very large metal snaps. I adjusted the belt loop length to accommodate an extra-wide belt and added a key clip, seen just above the pocket. The pockets close with snaps that match those on the waistband.
Traditionally kilts go just below the knee, so I went with that approach. I believe it was 21 inches. With all the pleating it takes a length of fabric just over 4 yards. The pleats are stitched down to the fullest part of the hip, which gives it a nice fit. The trick is to pleat the fabric so it fits both the waist and the hips. It takes a bit of calculation and a lot of pins.
The first seam is the hem. Next, stitch the inside seam of each pleat down to the hip line. Sew the pleats from the bottom up to the hip line. Then you start adjusting the pleats above the hip line to fit the waist. Sew a couple pleats, press, check measurements, then do a couple more.From beginning to end, it took me about six or seven hours to make. I then made one for myself and it took less than five hours. I have a couple more requests and I expect they will take even less time. Mikey is happy and, yes, wears it regimental.
The fabric is an 8 oz. cotton twill that is brushed on one side. Mikey picked it out and asked to have the brushed side on the inside for comfort reasons. I cut it on the cross-grain in order to avoid calculating where to piece the thing. Also, I wanted to be able to turn the selvage up just once and stitch it for the hem to avoid bulky hems, which are a mess with pleats. I recommend a cotton-poly blend that will wash better, or you will be a slave to your ironing board after each wash.
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