Rain Kilt MYOG

Being petite can sometimes cause unnecessary frustration when looking for gear that actually fits right. I searched around for quite a while and had a very difficult time finding the right combination of the size and length of rain pants I needed.

During my research, I came across rain kilts. I found a variety of styles (see here, here, and here) that looked only slightly better than trash bags. Others were slightly better but either too long, made only only for men, not available (hey, babies happen) or too pricey (I found another one but can't find it right now). There are some really cute hiking skirts (head over to Trail to Summit's post) but none of them are really designed for rain.

Other search results were for Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) solutions. That wasn't what I originally had planned, but after turning up a lot of nothing, I started reading through posts.

Now, I'll tell you, I am not a seamstress. Sewing scares me. I can do buttons or a quick mend but I am not a grad of home economics as far as sewing goes. This could have given me very limited options, but I AM creative.

I found this post on Trail to Peak. I saw potential, but wasn't in love with the look. The comments included a link to a Sil-Net version whose style was much more flattering. But, materials would be north of $50 and sewing was involved. I was inspired though - why not combine the conical styling from one post with the ease of creation using Tyvek? What about a wrap skirt! An idea was born.

But I needed the end product to be a representation of ME. I can hear some of you now: "C'mon! It is a hiking kilt. It is supposed to keep you dry, that's it!" and "Really? Just buy one and be done with it!" Sorry if those are your thoughts; I plowed on in my research. 

I discovered that Tyvek can be tinted. Using acrylic paint on Tyvek is color-fast while retaining the waterproofing. Thank you, Paper Chipmunk, because this was my hallelujah moment. My last stop was to find some outstanding snaps with adhesive. I did, AND they have style. I wanted to ensure that my edges were finished and that I had some way to adhere the snaps if they don't stick as well as promised; Cloth Paper Scissors shared the glue that ALWAYS sticks on Tyvek.

Armed with information, I was ready to order supplies:

  • A 10' X 5' sheet of Tyvek (Amazon, $16.80)
  • SnugSnaps ($9.99 for 4 pairs)
  • Yes! paste glue (Amazon $9.29)
  • Daler-Rowney F.W. Acrylic Ink 1 oz Bottle - Purple Lake and Rowney Blue (Amazon, $8.64 and $8.18)

I modified the steps outlined in the conical kilt MYOG post to include an overlap and created my skirt template. I decided on a 14" length -- I wanted it above the knee but long enough to cover my shorts. Wrapping paper worked great for this.

After creating my pattern and making the desired adjustments I was ready to go. I traced the pattern onto the Tyvek with a marker.

After cutting I started the process of painting. I painted on the woven side. I did a base of the Purple Lake (shown below), then added the Rowney Blue and more Purple Lake on top (not shown, I was too busy painting).

The acrylic dried quickly enough to handle in about 15 minutes, but not so fast that colors couldn't be blended in my layering technique.

Some of my marker lines were still showing, so I folded the skirt in half, then in half again twice more and did a bit of trimming.

I wanted the side seam to look finished, so I folded it over slightly and glued it down.

I tried on the skirt to check for placement of the snaps, then attached them.

I am very pleased with how this came out. It is super lightweight, the exact length I wanted, rain proof and relatively stylish. And the best part? Total cost for the portion of supplies I used was under $6.50 ($2.50 for the Tyvek -- I'll use the rest for other projects, $2.50 for the snaps, $1.50 for the acrylic -- tons remain).