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  1. #1
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    Kilt for a Highland Dancer

    I have been asked to make a kilt for a 10 year old girl. Apart from the growing room stuff, are there any other differences in construction of the kilt for a highland dancer? Is the rise any less? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Hi Arnot,

    A kilt for a dancer is made exactly the same as a kilt for a man, although the tartan is typically lightweight (11 oz). Putting a hem in, making the kilt an inch or so too big (but putting buckles on at the current size), and adding a hidden pleat all give the kind of flex that you need for growing room. Tartan for dancers are typically dress tartans (a white-based tartan shows up better against the background of outdoor highland games competition stages), and the setts for "dancer's tartans" are typically on the smaller side (5-6"). To get good swing, you still need to have the weight of quite a bit of tartan in the back, though, and a kilt for a 10-year-old will need at least 6 yards (more if the child is on the large side). Have a hem actually improves the swing, because it gives the back a bit more weight.

    The Art of Kiltmaking has more info on making kilts for dancers.

    Best,

    Barb
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  3. #3
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    Many thanks, Barb. I'll go back and review the book. I thought I would ask the question here, though, as there might be an extra bit of advice thrown in.

    I assume, then, that I should charge something approaching my going rate scaled down a bit because I will use less tartan. Does this sound logical?

  4. #4
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    I actually don't scale the cost down at all. It's a similar number of pleats, and the hem is quite a lot of extra work unless you have a blind hemmer, and adding a hidden pleat is also extra work. I figure it all works out in the end.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Barb. You have been very helpful. I can now give a good quote for the job.

  6. #6
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    Paging @argyle24, who I believe would also be able to help with suggestions...
    Here's tae us - / Wha's like us - / Damn few - / And they're a' deid - /
    Mair's the pity!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katia View Post
    Paging @argyle24, who I believe would also be able to help with suggestions...
    Thanks Kat - Barb's got this one covered. I think my only addition would be to advise the hem be generous - a 10 year old likely has quite a bit of growing upwards to do yet! While it's unlikely that this kilt will see them through their late teen to early adult years, with a good hem, it's not unreasonable for this to get them to the 14-16 age range - depending of course, on how they're built and when they begin to mature.
    "Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made." - Ted Shaw

  8. #8
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    And remember that, if a child grows 8 inches, you're not going to have to let the kilt down 8" - not only is height growth distributed (obviously....) but kids in the 10-12 range tend to be leggy, so additional height is commonly less in the legs than elsewhere. So, a ginormous hem really isn't necessary for most kids.

    I typically look at the tartan and pick a dark stripe somewhere between 2 and 4" from the selvedge (depending on how tall the child currently is) and fold the hem there. If you can avoid it, don't fold in the white - if the bottom of the kilt gets even a little bit grimy, you'll have an obvious line when you let down the kilt. You'll likely have to use a white area in the future when you let down the kilt, but at least you won't start out there.

    Also, remember that the fell is stitched in proportion to the overall length of the kilt. So, if you let a kilt down a huge amount, the fell will be proportionately much too short. The kilt will be "flippy" rather than swingy, because the fell isn't long enough to control the pleat swing.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  9. #9
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    Many thanks for everyone's input. All very good to know.

  10. #10
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    Just one more thought. There's one other significant issue to consider when thinking about how long you can make a kilt last for a child by moving buckles and letting down the hem. If you've made a kilt for a girl in late grade school or early middle school, you need to be prepared for the fact that her shape will change significantly. Change in the waist/hip proportion will mean that the kilt will no longer fit in the hips, even if it fits in the length and waist.

    The advice that I give most people is to sell a kilt that no longer fits well, rather than to take it apart for alteration. A well-taken-care-of kilt that has never been altered other than to raise or lower the hem will have a higher resale value than one that has been altered to fit a changed shape.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

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