Today has been really frustrating. I had a plan to sew this afternoon, but, as sometime happens, nothing went according to plan. I began at 2:30. It is now 8:30, and I have 9 pleats to show for it. I should be well over halfway across the back of the kilt (25 pleats in all), but there were problems.
Normally I plan and mark the pleats, then join the two pieces and do the hem, then start pleating. This kilt came with the pieces ripped to length, and marked. I made some minor changes, and then did the join and the hem. As I was beginning the very first pleat, I saw what I thought was a minor flaw in the fabric. After further investigation, it turned out to be a hole–probably a moth hole, right in the front in the middle of the apron. I don’t have the capability to re-weave tartan, and I certainly don’t want a hole on the front of the apron, so I started to see what else I could do. My first thought was to take a piece that I had from the end of the kilt (I was sent 8 yards, and the kilt needed 7) and use it as the apron. That lasted about 5 minutes, because as I was examining it, I noticed some streaks of dirt that would have come right in the middle of the front of the apron. At this point I began to say some very rude words, and put it down for a minute to consider my options. After a cup of coffee, some measuring and checking, I ended up taking out the hem, taking apart the join, and switching the position of the two pieces of tartan. This allowed me to hide the hole under a pleat, where it will be cut off later. I remarked the whole kilt, and I was ready to go. Again. The problem is that this takes time, which right now is in short supply. This kilt needs to be done by Friday.
The moral of the story: Take a few minutes when you receive a shipment of tartan, and examine it CAREFULLY for dirt, flaws, holes, etc. Some things, like knots, are often on the wrong side of the fabric, but should not show on the front. With dress tartan, dirt is more likely to be an issue. Sometimes the dirt is in a very inconspicuous place, sometimes it comes off with a little bit of soap and water, but sometimes it’s in a bad spot, as it was today. Occasionally, particularly with tartan that is woven in Canada, there are other issues that have an effect on a finished kilt. The worst one is that when you rip the two sides according to the sett, one piece will end up measuring almost 1/2 inch longer than the other. This means that when you try to join it, the stripes won’t match up exactly– you have to ease one side in. The end result is that one half of the kilt may be longer than the other. This can look really bad.
Moral #2: don’t cut or rip anything until you are SURE that you are doing it correctly. If I had left that last yard on there until I had started sewing, I might have been able to do something else– probably put the dirty piece on the underapron where it wouldn’t matter, or hope that it would fall in the back of a pleat. It’s always tricky when you are working with someone else’s fabric, too. I would hate to have to replace a kilt length.
So, now it’s late for me to be sewing–I try to stop before I get too tired, so that I don’t make errors. But it’s not too late for me to type. I hope that the people who follow this blog aren’t Too bored by my ramblings– it is actually cathartic to be able to “vent” about these things knowing that there are a few people on the planet who know what I’m talking about. Maybe some of you will post a comment or two!