# How to make a Cargo Kilt

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## Step 1: Step 1: Measurements

First you will need to make a couple measurements to calculate the amount of fabric you need. Make sure you write these down as you will also need them when we start pleating the kilt. Make sure you are using a fabric tailors tape, not a metal carpenters tape.
The only 2 measurements you will need are waist and knee length.

First is your waist measurement (measurement A in the picture). Don't use your pants size, kilts are worn much higher on the waist so measure around at your bellybutton, with the tape measure as parallel to the floor as possible. (This number will be divided by three and used extensively throughout this instrustable so if you want to round your numbers up to make the math easy go ahead. The difference can be covered by the front and under aprons.)
(Note: If your hip measurement is larger than your waist measurement then use your hip measurement. The belt will bring in the waist, or if you know how, go ahead and taper in the waist while pleating.)

Next is to measure your knee length (Measurement B in the picture). Kilts should go down to your kneecaps, ending right about the middle of your kneecaps. The best way to measure this is to kneel on the floor and measure from your waist line, at your bellybutton, down to the floor.

Record these measurements
Waist:
1/3rd Waist:
Length:

For example: my measurements are
Waist: 45 Inches
1/3rd Waist: 15 inches
Length: 24 inches

Now a few definitions:
Front Apron: The non pleated front of the kilt that shows when you wear the kilt.
Pleated Length: The heavily pleated length that comprises the back of the kilt.
Under Apron: The non pleated portion that wraps underneath the front apron when you wear the kilt.
Waist Band: The very top, unpleated portion that runs the length of the kilt.

## Step 2: Step 2: Calculating the amount of material and getting supplies

A non-traditional American style kilt, like we are making here, has a front apron (the non pleated front part) of about 1/3rd the total waist line. (Aprons on traditional Scottish kilts are about 1/2 the length of the waist.)

To calculate the amount of fabric for the pleated part of the kilt take your waist measurement and divide by 3, then multiply by 8 and add an inch. This will be the length of the kilt fabric, the amount going around the waist. The width of the pleated part will be the knee Length minus 2 inches.

Pleated Portion length (this length will include what is needed for the front and under apron, do not add the front and under lengths to this): Waist measurement divided by 3 times 8, plus 1 inch seam allowance
Pleated Portion width: Knee Length minus 2 inches
Waist Band length: Waist measurement divided by 3 times 4 plus 1 inch seam allowance (wait until you finish the pleated portion to cut this piece, I will explain why in step 4)
Waist band width: 7 inches

The length of the fabric will need to buy is equal the the length of the pleated part of the kilt plus an inch for seam allowance (go ahead and get it a little longer for good measure). Make sure the width of the fabric is at least 9 inches wider than your measured length. This will leave you enough fabric left over for the waist band and pockets.

For example my waist measurement is 45 inches. The length of fabric I need will be at least 121 inches (45/3*8+1=121) or 3.3 yards. I rounded up and got 4 yards. The width of the fabric I got was 60 inches, I should have enough fabric to make 2 kilts.

You will need to have:
Sewing Machine (Not Pictured)
Iron (Not Pictured)
Scissors
Tailors Tape Measure
Pins
Fabric pencil or Chalk

Fabric
Interfacing (Enough to line the waist band)
22 Snap fasteners (plus the hardware to mount them)

## Step 3: Step 3: Making the pleated portion

I'll be using 2 inch pleats in this instructable. This is deep enough for the pleats to hold well, and still looks good.

You will need to cut the pleated portion of the kilt from your fabric using the calculated numbers from step 2.

Once this is cut, fold over both ends 1/2 inch and sew a hem. Then fold the bottom over 1/2 inch and sew a hem here also. I want to note here that some fabric has a "good" or "Front" side and a "bad", "wrong" or "Back" side. When you hem the ends and bottom, fold over onto the bad side.

Once the edges are sewn, measure in 1/3 your waist measurement on each end and mark with your chalk. This will be the Front Apron and Under Apron.

Once you've marked your fabric you can begin pleating. I'm sure you have a very long legnth of fabric so do this on a very long table. place a large towel under the fabric because you will need to iron the pleats every so often.

With the hemmed bottom length of the fabric towards you and the unhemmed edge facing away you will start your first pleat on the right end of the fabric with the pleat going to the right. Measure 4 inches from your apron mark to the left and pull the fabric to the edge of the front apron. Make sure this fold is as straight as possible.

Next measure 6 inches from the fold and pull to within 2 inches of the fold. The fold on top should line up with back of the previous fold underneath.

Make sure as your pleating you measure the top and bottom of each fold to maintain 2 inch pleats. You will want to press the pleats with an iron after every 2 or 3 folds.

Once pressed, pin each pleat at the top, bottom and middle. Continue pleating until you reach the under apron mark on the other end of the fabric.

Once the entire length of fabric is pleated and pinned, bring it over to the sewing machine. Sew down each pleat at the edge of the fold from the top of the fabric down 5 inches. Sewing down the tops of the pleats will allow them to hold their shape much better.
(Note: You should take out the top pins as you sew down the tops of the pleats, but leave in the other pins while you are working on the kilt. It will make the kilt easier to work with. I'll usually remove them once I'm ready to attach the pockets)

## Step 4: Step 4: Making the waist band

To make the waist band you will need a length of fabric 1 in longer than the top of the pleated portion and 7 inches wide. Remeasure the top portion rather than using the calculation as the length may not be exact after hemming and pleating.

Hem all 4 sides of the fabric over 1/2 inch.

Cut a piece on interfacing equal to the inside portion of the waistband and attach per the interfacing's instructions.

Sew 1 edge of the waistband to the back of the pleated portion, 1/2 inch from the top, lining up the ends.

Fold over, covering the front 1/2 inch from the top of the pleated portion, press and sew the edge and along the sides.

## Step 5: Step 5: Attaching the fasteners

Now you can do what you all have been waiting for, try on the kilt.

Hold the kilt around your waist where you would naturally be wearing it. Wrap the left side over the right side until it is snug. Mark with a washable fabric pen where the waistband stops on the right (you may want someone to help with this).

Now place the kilt on a table face down with the waist band towards you. Fold the under apron (on your right) to the center of the kilt. Then fold the apron over the under apron matching up to the mark you had just made while wearing it.

Now you can mark where the snap fasteners will go. The will be about 1 inch from either end. This is a wide waistband so use 2 snaps at each end, on the top and bottom of the waistband. You will have 2 at the edge of the apron and 2 more through the apron to the edge of the under apron. Punching the hole through both layers at the same time is best to ensure they match up. Attach per the instructions that came with the snaps.

Now we'll attach some snaps to the face of the apron. This is for both decoration and to hold the apron down while wearing the kilt. There are several possibilities you can do in regards to the pattern. I usually run 2 rows of 3 tapering to the center. You can experiment by placing the snap tops in various patterns until you get something you like. Make sure the apron and under apron are centered before punching you holes through both layers of fabric (pin the apron and under apron together to prevent it from moving). Again, punch the holes through both layers at the same time to ensure they match up.

## Step 6: Step 6: Making the belt loops

You will need a 1 inch wide strip about 30 or so inches long, depending on the number of belt loops you want. I use 7 belt loops as you will see below. The belt loops will end up about 1/2 inch wide.

You will need to fold the edged to the center of the strip. Pin the folded strip about every 3 inches.

Once it is fully folded and pinned you need to press it with an iron. Go a couple inches and then pull out the pin and continue to the next, removing pins as you go.

Once the entire strip is pressed take it over to the sewing machine and sew down each flap.

Cut the strip into shorter pieces, 1 inch longer than the width of your waistband. They should be about 4 inches

To attach the belt loops you will fold the ends over about 1/2 inch and sew to the top and bottom of the waist band. You are going through quite a few layers of fabric, so be sure you are using a strong needle and take it slow, moving your machine by hand if needed.

You can use what ever spacing you like for the belt loops, I use one on each end of the apron, one on each hip, one at the m\iddle of the back and one for each space between the loop at the back and between each hip fpr 7 total loops.

If you want you can wear the kilt as is now, but it is a cargo kilt so we'll move on to the pockets.

## Step 7: Step 7: Making the pockets

We will be making the pockets separate from the kilt and then attaching them. This is both easy and allows the pleats in the kilt to move. We will have two side "Cargo" pockets and a back pocket. The measurements are approximate, don't sweat it if you're a little off. Also, feel free to make the pockets bigger or smaller if you wish.

First the back pocket. Cut a piece of fabric 7 inches wide by 15 inches long.

Hem both short edges 1/2 inch.

Fold 1 short edge over 5 inches, making sure the hemmed edge is facing out. Then fold the other edge over about 1 1/2 inches, again facing the hemmed side out. (there should be about a 1 inch gap between these flaps)

Sew the long edges together about 1/2 inch from the edge.

Once the pocket is sewn together turn it inside out, or rather rightside out since you should have sewn it together inside out.

Press with an iron.

Run another seam alone the long edge about 1/4 inch in from the edge. This will hold the flap in the gap down and keep your pocket flat.

Now fold the short end over the long, with the gap coming down over the front of the pocket and attach the snaps.

Now the cargo pockets.

First cut a piece of fabric 9 inches by 28 inches.

Hem the short edges 1/2 inch.

Fold 1 short edge over 9 1/2 inches, making sure the hemmed edge is facing out. Then fold the other edge over 2 inch, again facing the hemmed side out. (there should be about a 2 inch gap between these flaps)

Sew the long edges together about 1/2 inch from the edge.

Once the pockets are sewn together turn them inside out, or rather rightside out since you sewed them together inside out.

Press with an iron.

Run another seam alone the long edge about 1/4 inch in from the edge. This will hold the flap in the gap down and keep your pocket flat.

Now fold the short end over the long, the fold of the crease should be right in the center of the 2 inch gap. Then attach the snaps on the flap. (pictured are 3 snaps along the top. They will be to attach the pocket to the kilt and explained in the next step)

## Step 8: Step 8: Attaching the pockets

To attach the pockets we will sew the back pocket to the kilt and use snaps to attach the cargo pockets, making them removable.

To attach the back pocket first put on the kilt and have someone help place the back pocket in a "natural" position. Have them pin it into place, butting the top of the pocket to the bottom of the waist band.

Once pinned, open the flap and sew through the back of the flap (in between the flaps) onto the kilt.

To attach the cargo pockets first get someone to help to place them in position and pin them. They should be positioned on your sides at the hip, about 3 or 4 inches down from the bottom of the waist band.

Once pinned, position 3 snaps across the top. The snaps will go all the way through the pocket, from the front to the back, as seen the the picture. The back part of the snap will go through the kilt allowing you to snap the pocket to the kilt, and remove the pocket if you want.

## Step 9: Step 9: Enjoy

Now that you have your Cargo Kilt wear it and enjoy. Share your own pics in the comments.

Clean it per the fabric's directions, and use starch when ironing to help keep your pleats crisp.

Feel free to modify as you see fit. You can use buttons instead of snaps, or velcro to fasten the waistband. I think next I'll try attaching the cargo pockets with grommets and carabiners.

## Step 10: Making wider pleates

Since I originally posted this I received an PM asking about making a kilt with larger pleats. It's a great question and one I think others would like to know. When using wider pleats you may end up with either too much or to little fabric and there could be a gap between your apron and the start of the pleats. To keep the kilt symmetrical you'll need to do the following.

Figure out your front apron length, under apron length, pleated length and total cut length as if you were using 2 inch pleats (see step 2 in the instructable).

Front apron and under apron length's are 1/3 your waist measurement.
Pleated length is 6/3 (or twice) your waist measurement
Total cut length is waist measurement / 3 * 8 + 1

To modify it for longer pleats decide your desired pleat length
Take your desired pleat length and multiply it times 3
Divide that by your pleated length. Use only the whole number, drop the remainder. This will be your total number of pleats.
Take your total number of pleats and multiply it times your desired pleat width times 3 and subtract from your calculated pleated length
Divide that number (which is in inches) by 3
Take that final number, add it to your front apron length, under apron length and subtract it from your total cut length.

Obviously you'll need to do these calculations before you cut your fabric.

Example: I have a 45 inch waist and I want 4 inch pleats
Normally (for 2 inch pleats) I'd have a 15 inch front and under apron, my pleated length would be 90 inches and my total cut length would be 121 inches as figured in step 2.
My calculations would be
4 in pleats * 3 = 12
12 / 90 = 7 (dropping the remainder)
7 * 4 * 3 - 90 = 6
6 / 3 = 2
New front and under aprons length is 17 inches
Total cut length is now 119 inches

I've tried this out on paper a couple times with different waist measurements and it seems to be correct. I have to recommend rounding your waist measurement up to a number divisible by 3 though, it makes the calculations much easier and when you test fit the kilt in step 5 you'll take in the difference and not even notice.

To check your math use these 2 formulas
Pleat width times # of pleats plus front apron length = your waist measurement
Pleat width times # of pleats times 3 plus front apron length plus under apron length plus 1 = total cut length

I know this is a little complicated but I hope it helps.

Feel free to message me if you have any more questions and post a pic of your completed kilt in the comments section.

Good Luck
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Water Proof Kits with Reflective Taps

So pleased to see your guide line about kilt making. But it is really very difficult to make a kilt at home because it require some machine to place the metal snaps on it. It will be easy to make a Tartan Kilt instead of utility kilt because Tartan Kilts requires only attention. Just have a look the new design of Kilts at

which are not easy to made at home but with some tool it can be done at home too.

I have also made a kilt for Security purpose it is waterproof as well. Check the design

terrygilmore1 month ago

would wnyone want to make one for me. I will be willing to pay a reasonable price.

uglymike (author)  terrygilmore1 month ago
You may want to try placing an ad on Craigslist, try the arts and craft section. You can work with someone local and would available for fitting. Plus less likely to be scammed.
jsudar5 months ago

Thank you for an easy and well described process. I've sewn for um ... 44 years, and this was well done. I made my S.O. a kilt. He didn't want pockets as he has a pouch.

uglymike (author)  jsudar2 months ago

I've made some without pockets and I think they still look sharp. Thanks for the pics, your kilt looks great.

kristen.blomquist4 months ago

These are awesome instructions! I have made two so far and am about to make a third one. Thank you so much!

uglymike (author)  kristen.blomquist2 months ago

Your welcome. Hope they are being enjoyed.

mmunoz204 months ago
thanks, I got my sister to sew it for me and it came out great! I wore it to a beard competition in Houston and got a lot of good responses.
uglymike (author)  mmunoz202 months ago

Few things go together better than beards and kilts. Best accessory ever!

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:-

### we also can make it in leather etc. it depend on you what you like to wear.

www.helderclothing.co.uk

info@helderclothing.co.uk

IF U WANT TO KNOW OUR HANDMADE KILT PROCESS IS UNDER FOLLOWING
:-

### we also can make it in leather etc. it depend on you what you like to wear.

www.helderclothing.co.uk

info@helderclothing.co.uk

IF U WANT TO KNOW OUR HANDMADE KILT PROCESS IS UNDER FOLLOWING
:-

### we also can make it in leather etc. it depend on you what you like to wear.

www.helderclothing.co.uk

info@helderclothing.co.uk

IF U WANT TO KNOW OUR HANDMADE KILT PROCESS IS UNDER FOLLOWING
:-

### we also can make it in leather etc. it depend on you what you like to wear.

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Mike, thank you so much for this excellently-written instructable. Every step went smoothly and easily. And the fit was perfect thanks to your efforts. I used your instructable 4 years ago to make my son's first kilt for his senior prom, at his request. It still makes appearances to this day at college functions. I have also made a faded camo cargo kilt, using your instructions, that we like even better. He gets compliments and admirers everywhere he goes in these kilts. Thanks again!

cemama5 months ago

Thanks for the detailed instructions! I whipped this up last night for my five year old son who feels that clothing should be optional in the summer. I'm going to have to play with it a little to make it work better for playing but so far we're both happier! I'm happy he's decent, he's happy to be as little clothed as possible. My son spends his day in the dirt and rocks and so forth and the kilt kept up with him.

I didn't have any interfacing (and it being the middle of the night when I decided to do this, I couldn't go buy some) so I finished the waist with grosgrain ribbon I had leftover from another project. I used long strips of Velcro to fasten instead of snaps, which would have made it adjustable except that I made it exactly his size rather than too large as I should have. I kept the 2" pleats and really liked how they came out. A nice over sized look. The total time from googling "cargo kilt" to admiring the finished product was a little over two hours, but I didn't do any belt loops or pockets (all the reasons why little boy pockets are classic are also good reasons not to provide them!)

uglymike (author)  cemama5 months ago

Wow, 2 hours, that's fast! I glad he enjoys it. I know Utilikilt has optional "modesty snaps" that snap the front to the back for working high up or on ladders, that may help with mishaps during play. Though at 5, I'm sure he's still outgrowing his cloths pretty quickly.

5 months ago
Well, the two hours was because I skipped the pockets and waistband and belt loops, which all take a lot of time, and he only needed seven pleats and I did simple rather than box pleats (I'll probably do more pleats on the next one to give him more coverage for playing). I want anyone else considering this for children to go ahead and try it... If it took me five hours to make one he'd just outgrow in a few months, I'd probably not bother! Now my hubby wants one and I'm fine spending more time on his.

I asked my son last night if he liked his kilt. He said, "I love it! I want to have trillions so I can always wear one!" It's honestly a little mystifying to me (he has never once used the word love in connection with clothes) but I see that there are lots of men who love them. No reason to leave boys out of the fun.

I'll definitely check out the modesty snaps, thanks!
zdeklown6 months ago
cant wait to try this. nice job ugly mike. got any sugestions for fixing loose pleats in a factiry made camo utilakilt?
uglymike (author)  zdeklown5 months ago

I can't speak from experience as I don't have a Utilikilt, but several commenters here have mentioned using "crease savers" (low temp plastic fishing line) ironed along the crease to make it keep it's shape. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to on an older kilt. Otherwise I just use plenty of heavy starch when I press my kilts. It works fine, until I sit down.

kd0afk6 months ago
why don't you taper the pleats from the waist to the fell line?
uglymike (author)  kd0afk5 months ago

I know that's correct traditional way to do a kilt, but I was trying to make the project as simple as possible for those without a lot of sewing experience. I also was trying to make it easily adaptable and easily modified for those with more experience, or more daring.

GreenWenonah6 months ago

I made it... but my camera isn't working :( I didn't do my math right and had to sew on both an apron and under apron to get adequate length but that worked out alright; I left a small gap in that seam, hidden at the deep crease of a pleat, for a hidden pocket that hangs off the back of the inner apron. If you do this, make the pocket deep enough to fall between your legs when you sit. I also did away with the hold-down snaps since it seems pretty secure as is and a pin is so much cooler. One last modification is a box pleat (1 inch overlaps) down the middle of each pocket front and back with the creases sewn in and gussets on the edge of the pockets, creases also sewn in. This ensures the pockets will lay flat when empty but can expand significantly as needed. I'll take some pictures of the pockets when my phone decides to talk to my camera again.

I plan to iron in some crease savers (like a low temp fishing line) from the uniform shop on base to more firmly fix the pleat creases and stitch down the inner creases of each pleat (one line of stitching 1/8" in from the crease) to reinforce the crease and encourage the pleats to fall properly.

My next kilt will have much deeper pleats (probably all boxed) to allow a better fall and a slight scallop off the top of the aprons so my belt can ride down in front a little without bulging out below the waist.

uglymike (author)  GreenWenonah5 months ago

I'm happy to hear you pleased. I love hearing about all the different modifications people do with this project. I'm totally stealing the box pleated pockets for my next kilt.

simboka1 year ago
I've been having issues with my pleats and fabric that I have to assume somebody's figured out a solution to already. But using the Jo Ann's heavy cotton duck, my pleats when I sit get splayed out. But when I stand back up, they don't fall back into place and I'll have to almost individually crease them back in proper form. Any thoughts? My thinking was to wash it more, because it does seem rather stiff still and maybe if it was more broken in, it'd fall into place easier.
uglymike (author)  simboka1 year ago
I used the same fabric from JoAnn's and have the same problem. I always use heavy starch when I iron my kilts, which gives a good crease but doesn't compleatly take care of the problem. I've taken to placing a couple of baste stitches where the kilt is pleated on the inside. Each pleat has a crease that shows and one that doesn't when you wear it. It's that crease that doesn't show you can stitch. Just go in about a 1/4 inch and hand stitch it close to the bottom. This keeps that part of the pleat from splaying out and helps everything to fall back into place. It's not perfect and if you find anything else that works let me know.
1 year ago
I brought this up on reddit's r/sew and starch was the initial idea too. I made a little stitch inside the pleat already to help me just to line it up better when ironing. But it's right on the edge, I'll consider moving it in more. It just seems like the fabric itself is a very stiff fabric. But since this instructable is 4 years old, I assume you've washed it enough that any amount of loosening up would've been achieved by now.

I also may try experimenting with both a heavier and lighter fabric.

9 months ago
to keep the crease in my uniform i used to iron a piece of monofilament fishing line in the crease. it would melt and "lock" in the crease
Iridium73 years ago
Is there any way to weigh down the Kilt so it won't flutter in the wind?
9 months ago

You can simply add the weights they put inside of light weight curtains, you can buy them at any fabric ship, you sew them in and no one would see them, I will probably do that on my son's so it doesn't fly up! That way we don't have to deal with chains. Weights are much easier and less expensive and I already have them in my stash!

1 year ago
The way Coco Channel and a lot of the other high end fashion houses used to do it on women's jackets was to use beaded chain (you can get it at Home Depot- it's the stuff they use to keep pens from wandering off at banks and such), and put it in the hem. A few hand stitches every so often keeps it in place so it doesn't make any noise or shift, In jacket fabrics or any fabric sturdy enough to use as a kilt, you'll never notice it, but it will make the garment hang better. Hope that's helpful!
That's a great tip. Thanks, I'll have to try in on my next kilt.
3 years ago
You could also purchase a kilt pin. It's a heavy pewter pin (most of the ones I've seen are shaped like a sword) that attaches to the bottom right hand corner of the front apron.

And when I say right-hand I mean your right.
2 years ago
Supposedly, the custom of using the kilt pin arose when Queen Victoria was reviewing a Highland regiment an errant gust came along and exposed a private's---er, PRIVATES. The young man, it is said, blushed as red as his hair, but Her Majesty's only reaction was to pluck a pin off her dress and fasten it onto the kilt's apron; the weight was enough to hold down the fabric. Given the Sovereign's sanction, this custom spread throughout the Highland Regiments, and later into the civilian population.
2 years ago
its not really neccissary because it falls down easly but i use a big saftey pin on mine because i can use it for quick repairs if neccissary
uglymike (author)  Iridium73 years ago
I suppose you could sew in some small weights (like fishing weights) into the bottom hem. Otherwise you could go the Utilikilt route and add a "modesty snap" that snaps the front to the back between the legs. They use it for their painters kilt to use while on a ladder, but it will also keep the kilt down in the wind. Plus you can always unsnap it on calm days.

Mike
kmegamom9 months ago

Thank you SO MUCH for adding your really good instructions, with pictures to this web page for the cargo kilt! My middle son is getting married in May and is having a Celtic/Scottish wedding and his Groomsmen need to wear a black utility style kilt and his brother is one of the grooms men and I have looked absolutely every place for patterns or instructions and have not been able to find them until yours!! And you make it very easy to follow! I am a very experienced sewer, but the easy instructions makes it that much quicker for me to make this along with some other items I am making for the wedding such as the bride to be will have a dress that has a corset, covered with a stamped brushed leather, with a short skirt and that will take some time! Thank you again! I will send a picture when it is done!

Pheline10 months ago
Generally "we're" supposed to trim the selvage (the edge of the fabric where the weft, or threads going across the weaving hit the end of the warp (those threaded onto the loom, across which you weave) and head back the other direction) off machine woven fabrics before hemming. It seems like a handy finished edge but it can behave differently than the rest of the fabric, usually by shrinking and tightening up over time. Sometimes the selvage uses thread that's different than the body of the fabric, even by as few as one thread. In general, it seems safer to trim that edge, even if you're trimming less than a cm.

You did a great job on this Instructable and it's a pleasure to see the work of someone who knows how to to really sew. My Norwegian-Scottish-American boyfriend needs me to make him a kilt… but did you really show only one view?? I want to see how the completed pleats look on the model! (or is it a mobile view altering it?)
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