NB - We have a minimum order of £50
Secrets of Kiltmaking There are a range of kilts available today of widely different quality and price. As is so often the case with other purchases - you tend to get what you pay for. These are some of the factors that make up the quality and price of a kilt. This picture shows how the kilt will look when it arrives. The white thread is a loose tack to keep the pleats in place and should be removed before wear.
Cloth Unlike almost all other clothing the bottom of the kilt is not hemmed, therefore the selvedge is all-important. Traditionally, tartan was woven on shuttle looms which gave the traditional kilt selvedge. Shuttle looms are gradually reaching the end of their serviceable life, and are being replaced by high-speed looms. These have a "tuck-in" selvedge which, although very straight, is discernable - if you look very carefully. The vast majority of kilts are today made in this method.
The MOD has caused uproar in some quarters by reducing the quality specification for the new kilts - so that the can be sourced abroad.
Tartan With something in the region of 5,000 tartans on the Scottish Tartan Authorities database, you have a wide choice. Few of these (less than 20%) are carried in stock. Those that are, are normally run off in great lengths, with obvious economies of scale. A special weave can easily cost £50 more than a stock tartan for an 8yd kilt length.
Weight Today most people will own several pairs of trousers. Light trousers that may go with a dinner jacket, medium trousers for business, heavier golfing or outdoor trousers and maybe even heavier trousers for rough use.
A few years ago a highland gentleman would have a range of kilts, of different shade and weight for different activities.
A light 11oz cloth makes a superb kilt for a ball. If you dance all night you really notice the difference in weight compared to a 13oz medium weight kilt. However, the 11oz kilt doesn't have the weight to give the pleats a good "swing" and tends to blow in the wind! Therefore, it is really a "second" kilt for evening wear only.
The 13oz kilt is probably the most versatile, especially for those living in warmer climes. It is not too heavy for a dance, but heavy enough for day wear. It is not rugged enough for the hills.
The 16oz kilt is that favoured by pipebands. It will last longer than lighter kilts, has a good weight in the pleats so that the kilt will swing as required in 'Tunes of Glory'
When the pipes are ringing, and the kilts are swinging
and your heart is singing as you gaily march along,
The 20oz kilt is the heaviest, as worn by highland regiments in the first world war and those out shooting or fishing. Considered too heavy to be versatile, this is really is a "second" kilt for hard outdoor wear only.
Stitching Our kilts are hand stitched in the classic manner by skilled craftsmen in the heart of Scotland.
Most kilts today are machine stitched and, if done well this can give a good finish. In fact it is probably fair to say that a good machine stitched kilt is better than a poor hand stitched kilt. However, the purists maintain that a good hand stitched kilt is unbeatable.
Our kilts are tailored with full deep pleats necessary to assure the graceful swing that is the hallmark of a good kilt. These pleats alone contain over five yards of cloth and are therefore quite heavy. A good kilt maker needs to ensure that these pleats wont sag over time. To this end heavy canvas is pad stitched along the back behind the lining at the top of the pleated area. Furthermore each pleat is backstitched to its neighbour. You can readily tell if this has been done if you can insert a pencil up behind the stitched portion of the pleated section. This process (known as lifting) is time consuming and adds to the cost of the kilt. Omit this and your kilt will look good at first, but will soon lose its shape.
Buckles They all have three leather straps and buckles, one on the left and two on the right and are carefully hand pleated.