Leather has a warmth to it which fabric with never hold. It becomes more beautiful with age and use by finding personality in the marks life leaves upon it. Nothing compares to the luster of a well loved leather accessory. Support this project to help make handmade custom leather kilts and accessories real.
I want to bring that quality of material and love of leather accessories to you. This project is a test, a first run of items that will be groundbreaking and unique to any follow up builds. I have been able to prototype my leather kilt idea twice and now I can't wait to see it happen on a larger scale.
This is exciting new territory for me that comes with equipment needs, design challenges and some amazing rewards, for you and for me. I have worked for the last 7 years to perfect these designs in cloth and am now ready to make them in leather. As Alt.Kilt has become the go-to name for custom kilts, it is time to grow into an virtually untouched market.
Leather Accessories -
But not everyone wears kilts - and thankfully it is not all that I make. My two most popular accessories are my hip wallet and the Gentleman's pockets and those are the first that I want to switch over to leather. I have produced hundreds of these pocket systems and my customer love them both but cloth does wear out over time and fades. I feel that leather construction would enhance the appearance and the durability of these accessories.
Leather Kilts -
At this time, there is only one other company in the US making quality leather kilts and we think there is definitely room for another maker. I have spent years tweaking my designs so they fit the best of all modern kilts on the market - especially since they are made individually for each customer. As a designer who prefers to work on custom orders, instead of mass produced off the rack sales, leather allows for a new world of options. Let's launch some healthy competition.
I want to start with a basic all-around great modern kilt that is perfect for just about everyone. It will be box pleated with a hem and a 2.5" waistband to fit a standard kilt belt. There will be cargo pockets and snaps in either antique brass or silver. I think that this styling - with hand tailored fitting from hip to waist - will serve all people.
Each limited edition Kickstarter kilt will have our compass rose on the corner of the front apron with its production number. I am offering this first run in four colors (black, dark brown, dark green and tan) at this time.
How the funds will be spent -
1) Acquisition of a sewing machine designed for leather. This machine is a Juki DNU- 1541 with a walking foot and unison-feed. It is ideal for thicker leather and will handle everything I need to do. Retails: ~$1600
2) Stock leather hides. Unfortunately, it is still impossible to get leather by the yard like fabric so hides are the only way to go. They are also not very square in shape and therefore need to be trimmed down for kilts - but that means that the extra leather is then perfect to use for accessories. Waste not! Many times, a kilt will take more than one hide. Retail: ~$1200
3) Hardware and notions. Buttons, clips, needles and thread - it all adds up. Especially when trying out new building techniques to make things work the best way possible. Retail: ~$400
Is the project a go?
The awesome news is yes! Since the design has been tested on a previously borrowed leather machine, I am confident that it is ready to roll out. There will be a slight learning curve with the new machine, as with all new equipment, but I feel like the kilts and accessory are ready to jump into being.
The prototype kilt -
This is my prototype and I love it. It is modeled directly on my standard Alt.Kilt style with box pleats and a button front, done in ox blood red leather . This proves to me that it can be made well, deliver the style my customers are used to and last as a quality garment. This doesn't showcase the pockets but I tried them out on my next trial run.
For a while, I had access to a machine that worked, albeit sub-par, on leather and I put together a custom build for a client. It is styled as a more traditional kilt but it turned out spectacularly. These were my tests and something more along these lines will be available as a custom order if this project is successful. I patterned out the pockets - which look great - and also solidified how to handle belt loops and other details. The tailoring on this kilt will be the model to base the new kilts.
The Hip Wallet -
Since I currently do not have a machine that can sew leather, I can only show off the fabric version of this little accessory. It measures 6" wide and 4" tall (plus the clips) and has one large pocket accessible by buttons and a small id pocket in the back. For this Kickstarter, it is embroidered with the winged hourglass. The larger pocket should comfortably hold most smart phones or a wallet / keys with the back pocket being perfect for just an ID and credit card.
The Gentleman's Pockets -
Once again, this is the cloth version of these pockets since I currently cannot produce the leather version. With three generous pockets stacked on one another, there is plenty of room for everything - wallet, keys, pocket watch. They hang from belt loop to thigh with an adjustable strap to hold it in place. Made of 100% cotton and featuring antique brass hardware - ranging from the rotary clasps, swing lock, and rivets to coachman's loops and buckles.The top pocket has loops on the back to fit on any belt up to 3" in width. Total length is 17".
Leather cuff and Key fob -
Both of these rewards will be made with high quality tooling leather and stamped with our signature compass rose. The key fob is double sided and dyed black. The leather cuff is a golden brown and has an antique silver snap with two size adjustments.
Thank you -
Thank you for just reading this and considering supporting this project. Quality handmade goods are a rarity in this modern world and I want to help them to continue because I feel that it is important to us as a community. I love making for people - I enjoy every bit of my day as I customize a special kilt for a client. Thank you for helping me continue my dream.
Risks and challenges
Leather doesn't behave like fabric - it has no desire to be folded and stitched and it does not come in nice bolt yardages. I think the main challenge will be in working with these materials to produce a quality items. I expect a learning curve on the new machine and trials in getting my designs to translate into a new material.This project will be my main focus for the spring and I will hire help as needed to work on my existing kilt business in order to give me more time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)