Thursday, July 7, 2011
A bicycling kilt for my sweetie!
My husband George was going to get arrested for indecent exposure one of these days, or at least, that's what his bicycling buddies thought as he blythly changed out of his bicycling gear into street clothes in parking lots all over southwestern Pennsylvania. To solve this dilemna and keep the public's tender sensibilities from being totally affronted, he decided a bicycling kilt was just the ticket. When it was time to change out after a long, hot ride, he could wrap a kilt around his torso, slip off the bicycling short and slip on the street shorts, offending no one. We looked online but sports kilts were horrendously expensive. Who knew this would become so popular? So I (silly me) volunteered to make a bicycle kilt.
Off to the attic I went to find that nice piece of grey worsted wool I picked up at the Goodwill some time in the last few years. Then to the fabric shop to purchase a pattern. I was all ready to start cutting when George walked through the room, picked up the pattern and said, "what is this?"
"A Kilt pattern." I responded, scissors in hand and lovely wool laid out for the slaughter.
"This is a costume pattern," he replied, puzzled. "I want a genuine kilt, not a costume kilt."
Deep sigh... put the scissor down....
So off to the internet we go again, looking for authentic kilt patterns. Of course we found one and at this time, I want to digress a bit and give my opinion of patterns available on the internet.
First, I did not know these animals existed until Jamie had me making all kinds of baby things from patterns she found on the 'net. Depending on the skill of the author, they can be easy to follow and therefore, just great! or badly written and confusing as hell. Of course, this was the case with the genuine kilt pattern we found.
As with every project, I am most confident when I know my subject and the steps it takes to accomplish my goals. ENTER HUGE CONFIDENCE CRISIS AT THIS POINT. Consequently, I dragged my feet on the project. At one point, George asked me, "are you ever going to finish my kilt?" and then another time, "when are you going to finish my kilt?"
In my defense, I want to point out that in this time period, I went to a museum store conference, married off a daughter, hosted my mother for two weeks at our house, and opened up our home to our German guest and now friend, Claudia for seven weeks. To say the least, I was a busy woman. But truly, I just didn't know what I was doing, the pattern wasn't helping, working with wool in 80-90 degree weather was not fun and I was scared! And the frosting on the whole dismal affair was that I would not let myself QUILT until I finished the DAMN KILT!
So, now it is done and quite beautiful. A great deal of it is hand sewn: the darts, the buttonholes, the leather straps (thank you PJ Zimmerlink, preparator at the Westmmoreland Museum of American Art for making the tool to bore the holes in the leather for me). I wish the buttonholes were more expertly made but overall, I am very proud of it.
This last picture is a side view and shows the various parts: the smooth fringed (by hand!) apron, the knife pleated back, the beautiful leather straps and buckles.
I love you, my sweetheart. Please wear this in good health and stop flashing the neighbors!