These pics were taken in a hurry when I got home from work tonight, because I was keen to give you guys a look at the kilt I made this weekend!
a) please overlook the slight creases etc because I wore it on Sunday and couldn't bring myself to press it again before taking these pics, and
b) the fading evening light has made the colours a bit off no matter how I adjust it, in reality it's a black background with navy blue check.
The front! Kilt lesson 101 - the flat piece at the front is an 'apron' and there is another inner apron underneath! The aprons are traditionally 5/12ths of the waist size, with the remaining 7/12ths given over to the pleating. The pin on the front apron is a large Celtic design brooch I bought in the UK 20 years ago.
These button straps are a bit of a temporary fix, ideally they'll be replaced by adjustable leather straps and buckles. I couldn't source them in time, but I'll replace them when I find something suitable. I made this to a traditional kilt plan, where the under apron has a wide inverted box pleat between it and the start of the pleats. I wasn't sure why, but it makes perfect sense and means that the front apron can move freely and the pleats still hang nicely.
The back! Or, where the action happens! I pleated this 'to the sett', which means that the pleats are sized to allow for the distance between each check. I made each pleat the size of 2 setts, or in this instance about 22cm. The distance between each pleat is 4cm. If I had more fabric (the lenghth I used was just under 6m) I would have made the distance between the pleats a more traditional 2.5cm (1 inch) which would have put even more fullness and swing in the back. Traditionally a standard men's kilt uses about 7m of fabric.
See how the check pattern travels across the top of the pleats, that's the result of pleating 'to the sett'. Neat huh? And the pleats are slightly narrower at the top to allow for hip vs waist sizing. (Oh, and ps: HARD. Worship my sewing skills!) On the left hip you can just see the strap from the under apron. The under apron fixes closed with a single strap that passes through a bound buttonhole concealed by a pleat, and fastens on the outside. Neat trick, and you start dressing by fixing this strap through the buttonhole first. The pleats are cut away at the top inside to reduce bulk, and a lining hangs freely from the inside waistband. The plan on how this is made is probably best described here.
So, there you have it. This was heaps of fun to make, and the fabric was a 1.5m wide remnant labelled as 2.5m in length (actually just under 3m) that I bought for only $20. $20! It's not in fact a wool, but a surprisingly drapey cotton that has a hand like wool suiting. I cut it along the length and pieced it end to end, taking care to match the check and hide the join in a pleat.
I plan on wearing it to the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day on the weekend, so hopefully I'll get a shot of me wearing it!