23rd January 06, 10:45 AM
Traditional kilts vs. modern and casual kilts
As a resident of New England where winters are fierce I'm running into a bit of a problem with both casual and even 'proper' modern kilts in that it seems to me that none are as capable as they could be as a cold-weather garment. In fact many casual kilts are wholly unsuitable, being made of cotton or nylon, but even the highest-priced woollen kilts have serious flaws.
As an engineer I'm finding the modern kilt manufacturing techniques may be flawed and far less effective than the traditional kilt-making methods for protecting the wearer against cold. Both casual and 'proper' modern kilts are unsuitable for New England (or indeed Scottish) winters due to the method of their manufacture. I've been doing a bit of research on the kilt with regards to its use as cold-weather clothing. I found some interesting things:
According to what I've read so far, originally the highland kilt was made of thick wool (not the thin wool of the modern kilt) and box-pleated. Box pleats create a very effective double-envelope to hold in an outer and an inner insulating layer of air. Knife pleats (which are the style on many modern kilts) are not as effective at keeping the air warm because they tend not to hold a layer of air in an envelope - in fact the air is forced out as in a concertina effect. If a wind hits the kilt against the pleating the pleat will tend to fall open and only layers of cloth come between the cold blast of air and the wearer's skin - there's no insulation beyond what the cloth itself contains. With a box pleat on the other hand, however the wind hits the kilt EVEN IF THE PLEAT BLOWS OUT, the outside air will tend to hit the kilt on an insulated layer and not directly over the wearer's skin. This affords the wearer a whole lot more protection from cold than does the knife-pleated kilt.
Also, the fact that the pleats on a box-pleated kilt run vertically means that the heat is held in at the top, where you really need it. The box pleat encourages air movement WITHIN the pleat itself and the wearer's movement tends to keep the pleat filled with air. This effectively adds another layer of insulation and keeps warm air at the top of the kilt where it's most needed. A knife pleat cannot do this, as all the air in the pleat is constantly being pushed in and out of the pleat with movement. Instead of keeping warm air at the top of the kilt, this will tend to force any insulating air into the main body of the kilt or out into the air outside, and with a single breeze under the kilt the entire warmth of the garment can be lost. This can't happen with a box-pleated kilt as some air is always kept in the pleats.
It seems to me that the box pleat (which was the traditional manner of pleating the kilt) will keep the wearer warmer. In my opinion, this is why modern kilts will tend to be colder than the traditional kilts. It's also why many kilt-wearers admit that the modern kilt is cold in the harshest conditions. It seems to me that modern kilt-wearers simply haven't experienced the true warmth of a traditional kilt because kilt-making has become a slave to fashion rather than serving the practical purpose that the kilt originally served.
I think that the knife pleat and the reduction in wool weight probably came into fashion when kilts stopped being a practical article of clothing and became a fashion statement. When machine stitching became the way to make clothes, again the box pleat was that much more difficult to make. Then we have the increased length from the traditional 4 or 5 yards to the modern 8 yards - which may be an effort to bring more comfort to the kilt for cold weather - comfort that would be better served with a thicker but lighter box-pleated kilt. The longer kilt adds layers, but not insulation. It also unbalances the kilt, making the rear of the kilt very much heavier.
Just my opinion, but it makes sense to me. If my musings make sense to anyone else, let me know.
Anyway, with the above arguments in mind, can anyone direct me to a few kilt manufacturers who make heavier wool box-pleated kilts. I've found one - Albanach.org, but I'd like to find others for comparison, as I'd like to get myself a good winter kilt so that I can be as comfortable as possible in all weathers.
23rd January 06, 10:52 AM
Albanoch.org kilts are made by our own Matt Newsome and he makes a good product. The kilt I got from him is made from mediumweight wool and actually seems a little light, so it you're going for winter wear, I would definitely suggest a heavyweight wool.
Originally Posted by Beery
We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. - Japanese Proverb
23rd January 06, 11:03 AM
If heavyweight is what your looking for, ckeck out What Price Glory. They have reproductions in 22oz. wool. http://www.whatpriceglory.com/ There is also several threads on them here at X-Marks.
Keep an eye on E-Bay, they have the occasional heavyweight militery kilt. I've picked up several there.
Armageddon was yesterday. Today we have real problem.
23rd January 06, 02:46 PM
In the non-traditional category, you can look into http://www.pittsburghkilts.com/ with flannel linings. That feature is sold as a way to add warmth to a kilt. I don't own one (but want to), so I am not sure how they perform.
J. Ian Wilson of clan Gunn <><
-If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.-
23rd January 06, 03:23 PM
As the pround new owner of a lined PK (see my post here), I can say that it is a great kilt and the lining definitely adds warmth. The material itself (a brushed granite twill), is also not light. And the underapron pocket is great. For that alone I want to wear it everyday. The only drawback is that this material (regardless of lining or not), seems to wrinkle a little more easily than some others. Not a big deal, as it is styled more casually than a trad.
Originally Posted by furrycelt
The kilt concealed a blaster strapped to his thigh. Lazarus Long
23rd January 06, 05:57 PM
I find the kilt a warmer garment than trousers in the winter. I live in the great white North and wear a kilt year round. I wear my cotton or hemp kilts year round and find they keep me rather warm no matter what the weather. I also have a wardrobe of leather kilts and they are nice and warm in the winter and surprisingly cool in the summer.
In your argument above what is the actual feelable degree temerature wise. I would think for the average joe it would be hard to tell the .5 degree difference. between the pleating arrangements. Also it may depend on how many yards one is confining to the backside. An 8 yd 11oz may be warmer than a 4yd 16oz or 4yd 22oz. With all due respect methinks you are thinking too much.... I think you will be rather comfortable in a 10oz cotton kilt as a 16 oz wool kilt if it contains the same amount of fabric.
24th January 06, 05:50 AM
Just to follow up on what Dave said -- his kilt was made from 13 oz cloth. Most of the box pleated kilts I make are from 16 oz cloth, which is what I prefer to work with and works out really great for an all-weather year-round kilt.
Some tartans are available in a regimental weight (18 oz) cloth -- those are:
Black Watch, Cameron of Erracht, Forbes, Gordon, Mackenzie, Stewart Hunting, and Royal Stewart.
Also, you may want to consider a heavy weight Harris Tweed cloth for a kilt. As I state on my web site, I don't have a wholesale supplier for Harris Tweed yet, but I do link to several places where you can purchase the cloth yourself on line, and then you can send it to me and I'll be happy to make the kilt from it.
24th January 06, 07:29 AM
DC winters aren't that bad, and this winter has been incredibly mild, but I find that I'm plenty warm in a knife-pleated kilt, especially in a tank.
I have rather poor circulation in my extremities, so I'm more worried about my lower legs, but a good pair of wool kilt hose takes care of that problem.
[B][COLOR="Green"]Clan MacKay & Proud Of It![/COLOR] [/B]
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24th January 06, 02:02 PM
You are over analyzing the situation. All you need is a nice sweater and pair of nice wool hose, you will be warm. Then again, kilts made with Poly/Viscoe, Wool or acrlyic are warmer than the cotton Utilikilts.
and here is what Andrew Breecher, another guy from Boston, has to say about the issues: http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/s...1&page=2&pp=10
Chinese Blood, Kilted Heart, One United.
24th January 06, 04:26 PM
You'd for sure wanna talk with Kathy Lare of Kathy's Kilts in Albuquerque, N.M.
She's trained in Scotland and specifically trained to sew up kilts in the old traditional box pleat style. Her website explains it. www.kathyskilts.com
Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
Lifetime Member Scottish Tartans Authority, Owner Freelanders #4 & 5
"I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."