I am still chipping away at my 1940’s blouse and skirt make over…but it has been far trickier than I had anticipated and I have allowed myself a small break. So, I thought I’d share one of my other “Make Do & Mend” projects with you…rescuing a kilt that has lost it’s pleats.
It’s no secret that I adore woollen kilts, I’ve waxed lyrical about them before now and shared many of mine in earlier posts. Indeed, an olive green kilt was my first vintage garment purchase- way back in my teenage years.
These handy, warm, cosy woollen skirts are one of my favourite winter wardrobe staples and I spend much of the cooler months in them. I have always loved their yesteryear vibe and always imagined myself as somewhat of a 1950’s college student whilst wearing them…although I do know that many people consider them the garb of elderly women pushing shopping carts.
Every thrift shop I visit seems to have at least one of two kicking about and I always make a bee line for them. Mostly I find the stock standard red (or sometimes blue) tartans that are the same/very similar to ones in my collection…but every now and then I find one in an unusual colour, like my pink kilt;
A few weeks ago I spotted this two-tone green kilt in one of my regular thrifty haunts;
The colour was amazing and would a much needed green injection into my up-coming Winter wardrobe…but look at the state of those permanent pleats!
It had obviously been washed in a washing machine, hung out to dry and never looked at again. Kilt care labels generally recommend a ‘Dry Clean Only’ but I prefer to hand wash mine in wool mix and cold water.
I find this is the only way to remove that certain thrift shop smell , that I describe as “Essence of Elderly”, from woollen garments….you know the smell I’m talking about- a heady mixture of moth balls, unwashed garments and stuffy air.
But enough of all that…back to my dilemma…to buy or not to buy, that was the question. It was my size (which is rare, these elderly women must be on lean rations, because kilt sizes are generally quite small), it was a great colour and had no moth holes…if only the pleats weren’t so badly effected.
The older lady volunteer in the shop promised that the pleats would pop back in with a good wash and press…and knocked the price right down to $5. She said to the other woman in the shop “No one wants those skirts nowadays, and when will we have another girl come in who wants it? “.
So I brought it home and gave it a little TLC-if you ever need to rescue a kilt you can by following this simple step-by-step guide.
1. Wash kilt in cold water with a small amount of mild wool mix and allow to soak for up to 5 minutes.
2. Rinse thoroughly in cold water and allow to drip dry over the tub until it has stopped dripping DO NOT WRING OR SQUEEZE DRY.
3.Hang on the clothes line by the waist band and pull the base of the skirt down so that the pleats start to re-form. Peg each pleat in place along the bottom of the skirt with a spring loaded peg- this style will not leave an indent in the fabric. This does take a bit of time and effort and it means that it can take a few days for the skirt to dry, especially if the weather is cooler.
4. When the kilt is almost dry bring it in from the clothes line and iron whilst still a fraction damp- this will create a bit of steam. Set the iron onto it’s ‘wool’ setting and iron each pleat in place starting from the flat panel at the front.
5. Once all the pleats have been iron go over the base of the skirt on a slightly higher setting so as to make sure that the pleats remain in place.
Hang up with a clip hanger and allow to air for at least 1 day before placing in your wardrobe…this is to make sure it is 100% dry.
Here is the end result of my kilty project;
I can’t wait until the weather is a little cooler so that I can wear it!
Princess Pin Curls