People frequently ask me about altering kilts. Most of them are struggling with the same problem: they don’t weigh the same as they did when the kilt was made. Very few of them have lost weight. I am sympathetic to their plight. The whole weight thing has been a lifelong struggle for me, and I know how depressing it is to have stuff in the closet that doesn’t even come close to fitting, but I can’t bear to toss it out. Here’s what I tell them about their kilts:
If your waist and hips are within 3 inches of your old measurements, there is a good possibility that the kilt can be let out. What I am talking about is actually taking the aprons apart and resizing them so that the kilt can be buckled properly. The pleats can’t be changed without LOTS of work. I try to avoid this. But I do many alterations that involve redoing the aprons. The limiting factor is how much fabric is in the aprons–this varies depending on who made the kilt, and how much fabric they left in there. I try to leave enough to get 2-3 inches out of the aprons if at all possible, but some manufacturers are so intent on saving every inch of fabric that you won’t find any extra when you take the kilt apart.
Enlarging the aprons on a kilt is a full day’s work for me- about 8 hours. The top band comes off, the lining, front interfacing, and all of the stitching that doesn’t show on the front of the kilt all comes out. Then the aprons have to be undone so that the fabric is opened out to a single layer. Then the creases have to be pressed out. After this, I remark the new, larger apron, and then put it all back together. If done well, no one would ever know that the kilt was altered, except that I might have had to piece together the top band to lengthen it.
The reason that an alteration of more than about 3″ becomes too much is that it ruins the proportions of the kilt- the aprons become too wide, and start to go too far around toward the sides and back of the wearer. If you need more than this amount added to the kilt, it’s time for a new one!