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  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
    3 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)

    Too many styles of Kilts to choose from. Pt.1

    I was asked to write this for a magazine article. It's rather long so will need to be in a few parts.

    Too many styles of Kilts to choose from.

    By Steve Ashton
    Owner and Kiltmaker
    Freedom Kilts

    Kilts for Pipe Bands, kilts for carpenters, kilts in Tartans, kilts in solid colors and even Camouflage kilts. Kilts that cost thousands of dollars, and kilts sold for the cost of a pair of jeans. Why are there so many styles of Kilts and which one is right for me?
    Well first, let’s look at the kilt that everyone is familiar with and use that as a starting point. Then we’ll look at some of the other styles of kilt.

    Traditional Style Kilts

    If you’ve ever been to a Scottish Highland Games and seen a Pipe Band, or if you have been to a wedding where the men were in kilts you have seen what is called the Traditional Style Kilt.
    Made famous by the British Regiments of the Great Wars the Traditional Kilt has a long and illustrious history. As the national garment of Scotland it is worn today by anyone wishing to pay homage to their ancestry, anyone with a desire for a level of comfort not available with trousers, and by anyone who knows the secret that every woman thinks every man looks good in a kilt.
    Traditional Kilts are worn much higher than most men today are used to. It will be more strapped on, than worn, with two or three hefty straps and buckles. The top straps will be at your natural waist and the top of the waistband will cover the bottom of your ribs. The front will have two overlapping aprons and there will be dozens of wonderful, swishing pleats in the back.
    Made from approximately 8 yards of Worsted Wool that weighs 13, 16, or even 22 oz. per linear yard, a Traditional Kilt is an imposing garment. And a bit intimidating the first time you put one on.
    Most people seeing a kilt for the first time however won’t notice the aprons or pleats. The first thing they notice is the Tartan fabric the kilt is made from.
    Tartan, the multi-colored plaid fabric is so tied to the kilt that for some purists they are almost the same thing.
    The Tartan may represent a Family or “Scottish Clan”. They may also represent a geographical district such as the Irish Counties, U.S. States, Canadian Provinces etc. There are also Tartans made for Companies, Sports Teams, and Pipe Bands. At the time of this writing there are approx. 4000 registered Tartans.
    The design, study of, and mythology surrounding Tartans is a far larger topic than I can cover here so let’s get back to what makes a Traditional Style Kilt so distinctive.
    A “proper’ Traditional Kilt is completely hand-sewn. (with a needle and thread). The people who make them are skilled artisans and their hand stitches will outlast those made by machine.
    There are reinforcements and liners built into the kilt which help it hold its shape and if properly cared for a traditional kilt can last for generations. This is why a full, hand-sewn Traditional Kilt is nicknamed a “Tank”.
    The pleats are pressed into the fabric. Not ironed, pressed, with high heat, steam, and pressure. If properly pressed the creases forming the pleats will withstand washing and retain their crisp edge for a very long time.
    In the back of the kilt there will be an area below the waistband that is stitched down and tapered. This area is called The Fell, and is approximately 1/3 of the total length of the kilt. The bottom of the Fell should be at the widest part of the hips and butt with the pleats falling vertically down to the hem.
    The hem of a Traditional kilt is the Selvedge, or raw, edge of the fabric although some dancers and children’s kilts will have a turned up hem to allow for growth.
    There are two aprons on the kilt. They are wide enough to make up ½ of the waist measurement. The aprons are fastened with the top apron overlapping the under apron and opening on the right side. The edges of the apron will be tapered so that the bottom is wider than the top. This is to allow the edges of the aprons to gently roll around the legs and not curl outward.
    When wearing a Traditional Kilt you will also have to wear a Sporran. That is the bag or pouch which you see hanging in the front. There are almost as many styles of Sporran as there are manufacturers. Some will be plain leather with no ornamentation and some will have tassels, fur, horsehair, or be made from full-face hides. The reason for the sporran is to have some place to put your wallet and car keys. Traditional Kilts will not have pockets. The sporran is fastened with a chain or strap around the waist and allowed to hang just under the belt buckle. There may be two loops sewn to the back of the kilt and many men believe these are belt loops. They aren’t, they are sporran loops and are needed by thin hipped men so that the sporran will not slip down over the hips.
    If you combine the skilled kiltmakers labour, and the cost of the imported Tartan fabric, many of which can cost $100.00 per yard, a full Traditional Kilt can be a very expensive piece of clothing.
    It is not uncommon for a Traditional Style Kilt to cost a thousand dollars and it is this cost that pushes the Traditional Style Kilt out of the wardrobe of the average man today.
    Now lets look at some of the other styles of kilt that are becoming popular today.
    Steve Ashton
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    1st December 06
    Conyers, Georgia
    17 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    What a very nice article on the tank. I knew most of it, but, as like has taught me, I always learn something when I pay attention and "listen." (Or read for understanding as the case may be.)

    I read 'em all, but, as a fan of the tank, I like this one best.

    Thanks a lot, Steve.
    Jim Killman
    Writer, Philosopher, Teacher of English and Math, Soldier of Fortune, Bon Vivant, Heart Transplant Recipient, Knight of St. Andrew (among other knighthoods)
    Freedom is not free, but the US Marine Corps will pay most of your share.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    3rd January 07
    Sydney, Australia
    0 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    There may be two loops sewn to the back of the kilt and many men believe these are belt loops. They aren’t, they are sporran loops and are needed by thin hipped men so that the sporran will not slip down over the hips.
    Even though it is a modern, casual kilt, my NeoKilt has these two 'loops'. Yesterday, when I wore it out for the first time, I had also found a small leather belt-pack to do the function of a sporran. It just seemed natural to thread it's strap through the 'loops' at the back. I never realized how much I was following tradition... :-)


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