How to form pleats in your wool kilt.

My dear friend Rene (pronounced Renny) moved to Lincoln a while back.  He and his lovely family are from Scotland. Well, some of the kids were born in the USA, but by all means are Scottish.  Rene brought with him his well worn, genuine Scottish kilt. It needed a little TLC so I told him I was up to the challenge. 

As I mentioned above, this kilt has been well worn and as any good Scotsman would tell you, wearing a kilt is not only a tradition, but is comfortable too. As you can see, the pleats are basically non-existant, it also needed a bit of mending and loose threads trimmed. This kilt is made of wool, so ironing is out.  I have been told you should never use a hot iron directly on wool.....However, you can carefully lay your kilt on an ironing board and form the pleats by folding them back to where they originally were. You then take a lint free towel, I use a flour sack towel, wet it and wring out the excess water. Make sure you have water in your iron to the maximum fill line, (check your owners manual to see if you should be using distilled water) you will most likely use all of the water during the steaming process. When you have your pleats lined up, place the wet towel on the kilt, with the iron on the steam setting, CAREFULLY hover the iron over the towel, holding it as close to the towel as possible without touching. When you are done with a section, put a heavy object on the towel while the fabric is cooling. I used a large, very full, three ring binder. Make sure you use something that can get wet, my binder has a plastic cover, so the hot steam didn't do any damage. You may need to go over a section a couple of times. It took me about 45 minutes to steam the pleats back into the kilt. I was also removing  already existing lint from the kilt as I went along, so it took a little while. Since this is the first time I've ever worked with a kilt, I thought it turned out pretty nice.  Thankfully, so did Rene.


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Joyce Docherty said...

Hi Kel, Rene's mum here! What a super job you have done with his kilt. When I was a girl we were taught to tack the pleats with a needle and thread. this involved pinning each pleat into place and loosely putting large running stitches up each pleat, double stictching at top and bottom.Kept us busy for a long while!!! This made it much easier to steam. Another tip was to find a large pair of nylon tights and use one of the legs(with the foot cut off) as a sock for the kilt. This also kept the pleats intact!

Kel said...

Thanks for the heads up on the pleats. I will be steaming the pleats into the Husker kilt either later today or tomorrow so will try tacking the pleats into place first. I'm hoping he'll let me get a picture of him wearing the Husker kilt when he picks it up. I want to post it on my blog and Facebook page. Can you explain a bit more about the nylon tights as a sock for the kilt....I'm not quite sure how that would work. Thank you for the information.