How to make a Cargo Kilt
10 Steps

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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.
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ata1anta says: Mar 28, 2013. 8:54 AM
Thank you very much! I found a big hunk of navy fabric in my stash that I hope is enough to try this out. I saw a long skirt on a kilt website that looked like it was based on a cargo kilt pattern but I can't afford the \$\$\$ (and I'm perfectly capable of making my own!) I think it will go great with http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Steampunk-Corset/?ALLSTEPS to start to get my outfit together.

I'll be sure to post pics when I finally have it done.
greedypaul says: Mar 25, 2013. 2:24 PM
successfully made my first kilt of urban camo flannel. it was just a trial effort. going to take on a heavier material next with 3" pleats overlapping to only show 1" of each. i dont know if that has a specific name, but i like the idea. also, rather than pleating one drecton continuously, i pleated to the mid point each direction so pleats would meet at the center of the back. i like the way it turned out.
simboka says: Mar 23, 2013. 3:42 AM
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) says: Mar 23, 2013. 9:06 PM
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.
simboka says: Mar 24, 2013. 2:03 AM
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.

faeriegrove says: Feb 3, 2012. 4:32 PM
You all made this sound so easy and since I have a lot of sewing experience, it seemed do-able. It was looking great right up until the trying on part, only to find that there was not enough overlap of the apron part. The finished waist measurement is spot on, and I thought I was following all steps correctly, but now I will have to add about a 6-8 inch panel to the under apron for adequate "coverage". Where do you suppose I went wrong? Too many pleats? It does seem a bit narrow overall. Thanks for your help!
uglymike (author) says: Feb 7, 2012. 1:12 PM
Without seeing what you have I really can't speculate on what may have gone wrong. I can say that if you were going with the 2 inch pleats, the number of pleats in your finished kilt should equal your 1/3 waist measurement. In my example above, my 1/3 waist measurement is 15 inches and I have 15 pleats in my finished kilt. (I didn't plan that, it just works out that way) If you still need help feel free to PM me.

Mike
faeriegrove says: Feb 7, 2012. 4:44 PM
thank you for the reply Mike!
Waist 31, so 1/3 is 10.3, so I "should" have 10 pleats, but there are only 9...
which would seem like that would make the kilt extra roomy, not less!

I did add the 6 inch panel to the under apron/waistband, so the waist is a bit, loose, and through the hips a bit tight.

Overall, it turned out fine and my son LOVES it! (he wore it to his high school Winter Formal dance!)

blhack says: Mar 12, 2013. 9:37 AM
Hey that looks awesome!
uglymike (author) says: Feb 8, 2012. 10:14 PM
Looks great! Congrats!
I'm glad you could make it work.

You actually need to be Pro Member in order to download the PDF.

Mike
Mayhem_mike says: Jan 23, 2013. 3:00 PM
I dont know what I did wrong since I followed everything to a cue but it didn't work out? Can you help me I'm kinda pissed (not at anyone)
uglymike (author) says: Jan 23, 2013. 8:07 PM
It's a little hard to tell by the pictures but I'm going to guess the fabric wasn't wide enough before you started pleating. It also looks like you may be using a knit (stretchy) fabric which is hard with a project like this. You can probably salvage this by removing the first and last pleats. This will give you a wider front apron and you will have to make a new, wider waistband, but the alternative is to start over. If you try to salvage this one use a seam ripper (you can use a razor or x-acto knife if you're very careful) to remove the waistband and cut the stitching along the first and last pleats. Hold the de-constructed kilt around you're waist to make sure you have enough "coverage" in front. If it's good then measure the new width of the kilt and use that measurement to make a new waistband.
If you're up for giving this another shot from scratch PM me your measurements and I'll double check the math. There have been a handfull of people I've heard fom that have had some problems with that.
I'm sorry this project didn't go well for you and I've screwed up enough on my own to know how you're feeling. If you have any other questions or need any more help feel free to shoot me a message.

Mike
Hockey Mike says: Jul 17, 2012. 9:30 PM
Thanks for the great instructions!!  With little sewing experience (but direct supervision from my wife) I was able to make a kilt for my 6 week old son.  I only had two modifications from your design (Other than reducing the size) and they were to use velcro to fasten it closed and the other was to work the pleats back from both the front apron and under apron.  When my store bought kilt wears out, I will probably be making my own (if I even wait that long)

ctine1 says: Jun 26, 2012. 6:07 PM
I could not find in the instructions where you hem the left and right side of the kilt. I am guessing it is before you sew on the waist band. Do you just fold each part over once or do the double fold over like the bottom?
uglymike (author) says: Jun 28, 2012. 12:18 AM
You are correct in hemming the sides before adding the waistband. Double-folding the edges will keep the edges from fraying and will look much more professional, but it's a personal preferance.

Mike
rdailey4 says: Apr 6, 2012. 1:14 PM
About how many hours does it take to make one of these kilts?
uglymike (author) says: Apr 6, 2012. 9:09 PM
4 to 5 hours if I don't get sidetracked and take a bunch of breaks. The first one I did over the course of 2 days and corrected a couple mistakes along the way.
SewistCrazy1 says: Apr 6, 2012. 10:18 PM
Thank you!
WReynolds111 says: Jan 2, 2012. 11:27 PM
im finaly getting in to making one.... and now there making it to where i cant view every photo.... this sucks... cause i needed those photos to help with knowing how to make it... i got 5 yards of fabric... im useing duck cloth... (dark blue) found at joanns in there Dectorative cloth area... for houses..... is there any way i can get this set of instructions emailed to me in a PDF... or something cause it wont let me download them... my email is reynolds_william111@live.com
Iridium7 says: Jul 20, 2011. 8:14 PM
Is there any way to weigh down the Kilt so it won't flutter in the wind?
rwintersgill says: Dec 28, 2011. 4:18 AM
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
Leeshmonster says: Aug 18, 2011. 8:16 AM
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.
Zanesfriend says: Jul 13, 2012. 7:27 PM
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.
uglymike (author) says: Jul 21, 2011. 3:21 AM
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
jward3 says: Aug 8, 2011. 11:21 AM
Just stopping by to say thanks for this. I had a failed attempt at making a kilt (traditional method) years ago but your instructions inspired me to give it another go.

Deviations:
> I made mine to sit just above my hips. I didn't attempt a "beer-gut cut"; for now it just sort of heads that way naturally. Hopefully when the beer-gut's gone it'll still fit nicely.
> Drawing on experience from my previous attempt, I tapered the pleats slightly from hips to waist. I didn't quite get them even, but it certainly fits well. The initial build was based on my hip measurement to allow tapering.
> Having done the tapering the waistband had to be curved, so I made it from two curved peices (following the top of the kilt as a guide) stitched back-to-back.
> Pockets are sewn on. I also added a pleat detail to the front of them and they only have one snap on the flap. And, having lots of "belt loop" left over, I put a tool loop on too.
> I stitched up the inner pleats. It certainly helps the way it hangs.
> I wasn't going to bother with the apron snaps, but having the front and under held together has vastly improved the way it behaves in motion.

So, thanks again. Another very happy customer. :)
uglymike (author) says: Aug 8, 2011. 7:01 PM
Great looking kilt!! Glad to see you didn't give up. I know how difficult traditional kilts are, not a great project for a beginner, but they look awesome.
I love seeing the modifications everyone does to their kilts. It's one of the reasons I made the instructions so simple and plain. That tropical print pattern on your kilt look totally cool.

Great job.
Mike
Iridium7 says: Aug 7, 2011. 1:40 PM
So if I wanted to make a traditional Scottish kilt then do I take my waist and divide it by 2 and not 3?
uglymike (author) says: Aug 8, 2011. 6:55 PM
Actually making a traditional kilt is quite a bit different than what I have here. There are several good sets of instructions on the net so I'll just do an overview of what you'd be in for. Yes, the front apron is about 1/2 your waist measurement and the pleated portion makes up the other. The pleats are done a little differently. If you use a tartan plaid you need to figure out how often the pattern repeats and adjust the width of the pleat to match. The idea is to maintain the pattern of the plaid despite the pleats. The pleats are also usually deeper in traditional kilts which allows the kilt to hang/drape in a more attractive manner. Finally a traditional kilt is fitted to the wearer much better than what I have here. This is done by closing or opening the pleat at the top 4 to 6 inches. This makes for a better looking and fitting kilt, but is quite a bit more difficult. Maybe I'll do a full 'ible for a traditional kilt but right now I got quite a bit on my plate offline.

Mike
Mike73 says: Jun 10, 2011. 1:31 AM
This is awesome. I made a skirt once, too, but it didn't come out that cool. So I only used it at home. But still, it was very comfortable.
I may make one from some jeans that are worn out and have holes in the bottom.
WReynolds111 says: Apr 17, 2011. 1:36 AM
fantastic instructions and designes. im looking to get my step mother to do this for my birthday. and im several states away. so i guess this might be harder to do. but shes a seamstress and i hope she works her magic. im in the sca. and i wear kilts all the time. but i want one i dont have to fuss with so im wanting one of these. that and i would wear it any where else... Summer kilt for washington?? i think so!
uglymike (author) says: Apr 17, 2011. 7:46 AM
Sounds great. Since your step mom lives so far away I'd recommend having her skip step 5 (attaching the snaps) and doing it your self. It's much easier than the actual sewing and it will allow you to do the actual fitting to your own body. And living in Arizona I can firmly attest to how great a kilt is in the summer.

Mike
WReynolds111 says: Apr 18, 2011. 10:48 PM
step mom fell through so i will have my real mom do it but that was my plan...
wedjlok says: Mar 8, 2011. 4:57 PM
Thanks for the great tutorial! I finished mine with bottom weight fabric easily and added Line 24 snaps for the enclosures. I also just sewed the pockets in place permanently.
uglymike (author) says: Mar 9, 2011. 1:57 AM
Looks Awesome! Thanks for posting the pic. Sewing the pockets on is really nice. I've done that with a couple of mine. Removable pockets are nice when you need to wash and iron it, but other than that they can sometimes get in the way.

Mike
Rosilin says: Feb 18, 2011. 9:22 PM
Thank you! My Husband has wanted one of these for SO long, and now my 2 sons want one each! You have them Very happy!

Sorry the pics are dark, we took these at 3 am before he went back out on the road trucking. It did his partner in, he already doesn't know what to say when John is knitting a "boobie" headrest, now hes wearing a "Skirt" too!
And Yes its alittle "long" that will be fixed.

uglymike (author) says: Feb 19, 2011. 1:50 AM
Looks Great! Thanks for the comments and big props for posting the pictures.

Mike
rhaubejoi says: Jun 27, 2010. 6:54 AM
AWESOME! You guys who are manly/secure enough to wear a kilt are real men! and I see from the pictures you guys are rockin them too! love it!
uglymike (author) says: Jul 22, 2010. 2:21 PM
I second that!!! I'd like to thank everyone who's posted pictures. Mike
jack penny says: Jul 19, 2010. 9:47 AM
WEAR SOME UNDERWEAR, NO-ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR JUNK IF YOU FALL OVER!!!!!
uglymike (author) says: Jul 22, 2010. 2:19 PM
Maybe it's just no one wants to see your junk if you fall over ; ) Mike
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