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  1. #1
    Join Date
    21st October 08
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    Why are 8 yd kilts most desired?

    I've seen plenty of posts perusing this site and kilt makers sites that seem to hold an 8 yd kilt as the best with 5 yd kilts being somehow less. Currently I own 4 kilts, one is an 8yd poly kilt from the local Celtic shop in Rochester. It's ok but the amount of material makes it less then comfortable to wear and while I realize that the pleats haven't been trimmed down any underneath the material which might make it less bulky the fabric also seems to be a little lighter then a 16oz fabric so it seems like it would balance things out weight wise. My favorite does lean towards a 16oz 5 yd, the pleats move nicely, the kilt is pleated so that the stripes repeat every third pleat which gives a nice look despite not being pleated strictly to the sett or stripe. At 14oz it just has a nice weight and feel, my 4yd box comes in a close second, but again it just doesn't feel so heavy and bulky especially when sitting.
    I understand that dancers and marchers want the extra fabric for the way the kilt can flow while they move but it seems like excess for regular use, but what caused the move to an 8yd kilt when from what I've read the earliest tailored kilts were 4-5 yd and the 8yd a later innovation.
    I'm pondering this as I try to decide if my next kilt should be a 5yd, 4yd box or a true 8yd, right now I just don't know where to go with it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    27th October 09
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    The reason 8yd kilts are generally desired is all about the swish. Of course, not everyone necessarily values the swish over other factors. So it isn't going to be a universal thing. Go with whatever you like best. I will say, though, that the quality of construction is going to be far more important than the yardage used. Having the material properly thinned above the fell line, and having proper construction (stabilizers, interfacings, etc.), as well as having it properly fitted to your body, will make any kilt a joy to wear regardless of the amount of material.

    I own modern utility-style kilts, low-yardage casual kilts, box-pleated kilts, full 16 oz 8yd "tank" kilts, and even a military kilt. Personally, I have found that after wearing the full-yardage kilts that are quality-made, it's just not that enjoyable to wear the lower yardage kilts. Weight of the extra yardage isn't really an issue as long as the fit is good. In fact, it feels better to have the full weight of a "tank" than the lightweight low-yardage pleats. But that's just me.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    3rd November 08
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    Co Antrim
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    8 yard kilts have the deep pleats and swish as mentioned. For a really hot climate I can imagine the heavier garment could be less desirable. 5 yard kilts tend not to be made to the same high standard (stabilizers, pleats properly cut out etc) and usually address the budget conscious or casual end of the market, which is not to say they are not very nice, but there is that extra quality and solidity of a traditional 8 yard kilt.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Carrick View Post
    5 yard kilts tend not to be made to the same high standard (stabilizers, pleats properly cut out etc) and usually address the budget conscious or casual end of the market, which is not to say they are not very nice, but there is that extra quality and solidity of a traditional 8 yard kilt.
    Which tradition is that? I have never seen an 8 yd kilt that pre-dates c1900 but I have seen many exquisitely made earlier kilts made with 4-6 yards of material. Less is not necessarily inferior in the same way that more is necessarily better. Many of us have seen some real horror kilts that were the traditional 8 yards.

    My favourite kilt of all time is a 5 yard one with no lining, no cutting, just superbly made by undoubtedly the best kilt maker of his day, Bob Martin.

    As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. and in some cases, you're robbed.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    27th April 13
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    An 8 yard kilt is not necessarily "the best", and one with lower yardage and/or lighter weight fabric is not necessarily less-than. My personal preference is for lighter fabric and less of it, so for me a 16oz tank would be pretty much the worst thing ever. One of the nicest wearing kilts I've ever strapped on was made from not-particularly-heavy wool suiting. It was incredibly comfortable in the heat and the pleats had a really lovely, fluid swish. A well made kilt that fits you correctly will be fabulous, whether it's 5 yards or 8.
    Cheers!
    Bob

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    3rd January 17
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    Scarborough, UK
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    When I had my last kilt made I had a choice of 5yd or 8, and 13oz or 16oz fabric, the 8yd 16oz seemed to hang and swish better than the others so that's what I went with.

  11. #7
    Join Date
    1st July 16
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    I have several 8 yd kilts, both in heavy and mid-weight wool, but the kilt I have been wearing most consistently this past winter has been a 6 yd 13 oz wool kilt. I get just as many compliments when I wear it as I do when wearing an 8 yd kilt. I would second that getting a quality, well made kilt is more important than the yardage.

    Steven

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  13. #8
    Join Date
    4th December 11
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    I'm not that big; 5'7" and 150 pounds. For me, it's a matter of comfort. I've worn both 5 yard and 8 yard kilts, and the 5 yard kilt is more comfortable and fits my frame better.
    "Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time."
    RIP Terry Pratchett

  14. #9
    Join Date
    24th November 12
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    I really like my 5 yard kilts too. I own 15 wool kilts. Two are 8 yard military weight (18-20 oz) and 7 are 8 yard 16 oz.
    The balance are 13 oz. 5 yard, and one is five yard 16 oz.

    My favorite to wear for long term (all day) comfort is the five yard 16 oz kilt. Why? It's lighter and just about no one would know what the yardage is. It's also 2 pounds lighter.

    Because most "less then 8 yard kilts" (except Scotweb's 7 yard kilt which are BEAUTIES, and I highly recomend) are constructed with out the hair canvas liner in them, which I like having. SO.... up on receiving my 5 yard 16 oz kilt I took the time to de-construct it, and "cut the pleats", as well as instill a hair canvas in it's construction.

    I like that combination so much I've considered commissioning a few 5 yard, kilts to be made with "conventional (tank) construction. For me this is the best of both worlds.

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  16. #10
    Join Date
    17th June 15
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    I wonder how much the preference for yardage depends on waist size. I know that most kilt makers seem to charge for more yardage once you get over a 32" waist, so perhaps that has something to do with it?

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