DIY "Utilikilt"...

For those do-it-yourselfers...

DIY "Utilikilt"...

Postby BrotherTailor » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:05 pm

I bought the materials to make a skirt along the lines of the "Utilikilt" type of garment. Methinks it will be a tedious process steaming in all the pleats... The fabric I chose is a chocolatey brown heavy cotton twill (same as on the utilikilt website in one of the shots). I'm going to mock up a cheapie model in $1.99/yd white broadcloth to get the sizes figured out before slicing up twelve dollar a yard twill. If I can get some good pictures, I'll try to post them when it is finished...I could see a market for this around here, as the only dealer for the utilikilt is a hard core gay only store three hours away... The likelihood of a dad with a wife and three kids going there is not too good. And that's the market that exists around here for the most part. If I can make one and wear it as advertising, it might drum up extra business for my sewing service.

Has anyone else tried making a kilt like that?

I'm going to sew on steel "D's" at the beltloops on the front to clip a sporran made of the same material to. A place for the cell phone, keys, wallet, pipe, matches, tobacco, whatever.

On a somewhat related note. I cannot wear a sleeved jacket for my work (pm me and I'll tell you what I do) and so have worn insulated vests etc and nearly froze in the winters. I made a winter cape and maching flat cap for myself out of a denimy look cotton stripy material (think "engineers overall" look - train driver) and will be wearing it to a plouging match on Thurs, after that it will become regular work wear for me. The wearing of a cape is very rare around here, and it may come off as feminine, I hope not, as it is manly looking fabric. The matching cap might make me appear foppish...I don't know. geez... Why do guys have to be ugly and stereotypically badly dressed to be perceived as "normal"? I go to great effort to make myself a matching outfit to wear to work and then worry that it will come off as a little boy who had his mother dress him... :wink:

Anyhow to the kilt now.
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Postby sapphire » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:38 pm

I've made a number of kilts in the past and the biggest challenge for me was fitting the pleats to fit my body. At the time, there was a 12 inch difference between my waist and hips, so forming the pleats to fit while maintainin the lines of the plaids I worked with was a bit of a fuss.

What I did was to carefully pin the pleats at the waist, then spread the garment on a flat surface and begin spreading the material out and working to maintain the lines of the plaid and achieve the dimension needed for the hips.

I carefully pinned the pleats in placed and then sewed the pleats to the hipline.

As for steaming the pleats in place, I agree that is time consuming. An alternative is sewing the pleats. Just run a of stiching along the outer knife edge of the pleat. Then when you need to press the garment, you will just be removing wrinkles. You will need to press the pleats too, but the sitching makes that chore much easier.

What other modifications do you plan to incorporate? Some of the Utilikilts have cargo pockets, some have set in pockets, some add loops and stuff.

I've never seen a Utilikilt in person, so am unsure about the stuff in front. Are those buttons? My kilts have all been the more traditional apron/wrap style.
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Postby BrotherTailor » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:27 pm

Sapphire,

I've got the pleats made on my mockup version. I had some directions from a website on kiltmaking as to how one must lay out the pleats. I cut out a cardboard template marked to allow for a 5" deep pleat with 2" exposed and 3" under the next pleat. I laid out the material flat and then began with a box pleat on the middle center back, then using the cardboard template I folded and pinned my way out on each side. Lots of pins, then I pressed both sides and today I unpinned each pleat one by one and topstitched a qurater of an inch away from the knife edge as you mentioned. I got that idea from another website...
Lots of pinning, and unpinning... I'm going to try and figure out the front panels tonight, The utilikilt is square on front, while I was thinking of something wider at the bottom and tapering somewhat at the beltline, rather than have to dart it.
I think the metal stuff on the utilikilts are just commercial metal eyelets (like you buy for lacing corsets, dresses etc) and for decoration. I'm going to skip the pockets for now, and instead make a sporran, more traditional look hopefully. Once I figure out the basic design and method then I'll play around with other stuff. I don't mind throwing out broadcloth, so I may try tree or four different front panel shapes until one works.
Working with a solid coloured fabric is much easier than matching tartan or plaids. I did see some really cool plaid in the fabric store and I asked the girl what it cost, and it was the same price as the twill...so maybe if I get this done, there will be a "real" kilt forthcoming...? 8)
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Postby BrotherTailor » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:43 am

An update at around midnight...
basically done. The waist band is on, the front panels are on, the whole thing fits great and just needs another row of stitching around the waist and some beltloops and a snap.

Now that I'm seeing how nice this white trial kilt looks, I'm wishing I had hemmed the bottom edge to prevent unravelling. I may try zigzagging it, although being pleated and stitched it will be a pain.

I was thinking to myself as I saw it taking shape "Male Nurse Scrubs". Wear it with a pair of white runners or leather loafers (white) and a white polo shirt, with either black belt and socks or go all white.

Either that or tennis skirt... :shock: :wink:

I'll start the good version in brown next.
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Postby SkirtDude » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:39 am

Deleted.
Last edited by SkirtDude on Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sapphire » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:38 pm

When I'm setting pleats, I do press the garment, with the pins still in. Then I sew down the pleats, again, leaving the pins in place.

What I do differently is pin perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. Then I can sew over the pins. You have to go slowly, but the pins are covered by the fabic.

This trick also works very well when setting in sleeves. It also allows you to ease in the fabric equally.

Lots of pins though!
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Postby BrotherTailor » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:51 am

FINIS!!! :)

My "WORKILT" (tm) is finished ..... 8)

I'll try and get some pictures up here. I started yesterday morning and worked on it most of the day, except for three hours while I was waiting for the fabric to try out after steaming the pleats...pin all pleats, lay a damp towel over them and the steam iron on high. remove damp towel, carfeully lift up kilt, and place two dry terry towels on the table, then lay the kilt back on them flat and leave it to set with a fan blowing over it. Great set! I also edge stitched each pleat inside and out as the next step after the steam/dry part.

She goes on the road to work today - do or die. It looks really really good! matching sporran and leather belt add a lot. It was the most sewing I've done in a day though..from scratch to finished, sewing through two bobbins full of thread edgestitching for miles and miles..thankfully the pleat set was so firm I just unpinned the pleats and sewed them without repinning...stiff twill takes a nice pleat.
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Postby sapphire » Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:02 pm

Congratulations!

Looking forward to seeing pix of the results
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Postby Emerald Witch » Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:31 pm

BrotherTailor wrote:Now that I'm seeing how nice this white trial kilt looks, I'm wishing I had hemmed the bottom edge to prevent unravelling. I may try zigzagging it, although being pleated and stitched it will be a pain.


I wasn't clear from later posts whether you ever finished this one, or just went on to the "real" one in brown twill (though both sound WAY cool!), but I had a suggestion if you didn't want to hem or zigzag the bottom edge -- you might try wrapping it in double-fold bias tape.

Idunno, it might make it too bulky and stick out funny, but if it worked it could also be a cool way to incorporate another design element. You could use the tape to either match the skirt's color, or use it like piping to add a new color stripe.

Another thought that occurred to me is hemming lace. Have you ever used this? I ask because I've seen it around and I think I know how it's used...but I'm not sure. I could give you my best guess, though. And I bet it might work. But I hate to sound either like a know-it-all, or to sound stupid. But sounding like a STUPID know-it-all is the worst! :!:
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Postby BrotherTailor » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:27 pm

Emerald,

I stopped work on the white one. I had figured out the general sizes, shapes, etc, and went on to the brown heavy twill kilt. I'm going to finish the white one soon, and the problem is that I had edgestitched the pleats on the top (outer) edge and so it is impossible to hem conventionally. The purist would simply rip out the bottom inch of stitching and hem by hand, then restitch the pleat. I think I will have to do something like this...as it is no more tedious than cutting little bits of biastape to fit the pleats, or ironing on tidbits of interfacing, etc. The hard way is usualy the best...

I wish I had known how nice it was going to be, I was intending to make it and use it for a pattern then scrap it.

Thr brown one is done, it looks almost exactly like an original Utilikilt. I made a matching pouch or "sporran" that is attached to steel D's on the belt loops by 1 1/2 black nylon webbing. Lots of room for stuff, while getting ready for work I dropped in a cd, my wallet, cell phone, keys and still had room and it is only 7"by 7".

I'll try to get someone to take a picture, my camera is an old 35 mm and it is terrible taking mirror shots inside. I'm too poor to buy a digital.
EDIT: I took some self-photos in the mirror after work on my 35mm. I'll have them developed first of the week and see what comes of it. Then see if I can upload them somehow here.

Need to make and sell a few dozen Workilts to pay for it... :roll:
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Postby BrotherTailor » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:30 pm

Here are a few poor images of the kilt...
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Postby BrotherTailor » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:32 pm

not sure why they're so large... :?
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Postby BrotherTailor » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:34 pm

more...
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Postby Emerald Witch » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:38 pm

BrotherTailor, I never got around to seeing these pictures of your finished Utilikilt before! I'm so sorry, you must have thought I didn't care enough to comment. I feel terrible. They are terrific! It's just that they were all being posted right during my busiest time when I was pushing to get enrolled into college, and several other things were all happening at once, and then the Cafe's "check entries since last visit" feature kicked in at a time when I wasn't always able to read or respond to every entry, and I lost track of the thread.

Well, I must say I think you look fantastic. I agree that you did an excellent job of sewing this, and it looks really professional. I'm impressed. I think it looks very flattering on you.

Now that you've had a chance to wear it "out and about" for a while, how do you feel about it? I'm sure it's stood up well to washing, but has ironing been a pain? Would you do this again the same way, or would there be any changes you'd like to make on your next model?

-=[Emerald]=-
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Postby BrotherTailor » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:33 pm

Emerald, I like it. The pics are icky. It washes well and presses easily. I'm planning on making a few more before next season. with a few modification to the pleat arrangement and front panels etc.
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