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  1. #1
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    Rugged tartan kilts

    I'm looking for a rugged kilt made from tartan to wear around the house while doing projects and such and maybe wear to work. I work in a warehouse so it needs to be tough. I have a utilikilt, but want something traditionally colored. Preferably my colors.
    What man is a man that does not make the world better?

  2. #2
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    The problem is that Tartan is usually woven in fabrics that I would not describe as rugged or tough. Most are from wool which is a dimensionally weak fabric and requires some sort of reinforcement.

    The best fabric I can suggest is a synthetic blend of polyester and rayon. This called P/V. The "P" stands for Polyester and the "V" stands for Viscose which is the British term for Rayon.

    The only weaving company that does kilt quality P/V is Marton Mills in the UK. Forum advertiser USA Kilts and myself are perhaps the largest users of true P/V on X Marks.
    Marton Mills Poly/Rayon blend is totally machine washable and dryable. The pleats when pressed are almost permanent and the fabric is treated with teflon and is almost totally wrinkle free.

    An alternative to P/V is Acrylic. This is the fabric that most of the kilts made in Pakistan are made from. Acrylic fabrics are much lighter than wool and P/V. They are also quite inexpensive.
    An Acrylic Kilt will not last as long or look as good as one made from other fabrics but are pretty good for their designed uses.
    Take a look at our forum advertiser Stillwater Kilts for Acrylic kilts.

    And additional problem with any synthetic fabric will be limited Tartans. Marton Mills weave about 150 Tartans in their stock range. Acrylic will usually be limited to a dozen or so.
    Last edited by The Wizard of BC; 11th January 17 at 12:35 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  3. #3
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    I have no experience of the durability of modern style tartan cloths Steve, but kilts made of wool over the last three or four centuries have done the Scottish Regiments pretty well in some pretty testing conditions, far more testing than most of us have in mind, I suggest .

    I quite accept that the wool used for military kilts was thicker in days past than most of us are used to, which helped no end I am sure, but even the modern lighter in weight wool civilian kilt is amazingly hard wearing if put to the test. Provided of course one does not have to consider the cost of replacement that is and a spare is conveniently hanging in the wardrobe for the smart events!
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 11th January 17 at 10:51 PM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  5. #4
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    I'm sorry Jock there is a point that you are missing. Those old military kilt could not have stood up even a week without the internal construction elements built in to them to withstand the stresses.

    This is one of those things that an awful lot of people do not understand about traditional and contemporary kilts. They are made totally differently from casual and pub kilts.

    As an example. If you have any kilt. Take a hold of the apron fabric. Somewhere around the middle with one hand and at the hem with the other. Now pull gently. As you pull watch the Tartan pattern in the fabric. Can you see it stretch and deform? That is proof that wool fabrics are dimensionally weak. They need the internal construction elements, the stabilizer and interfacings to hold together.

    Remember this photo?



    And this one?




    One is a full military kilt made by Gordon & son's. The other made by Geoffrey (Tailor). What happened with both is the internal construction elements failed and the fabric itself could not stand up on it own. It failed.

    The main problem with casual kilts and the acrylic imports is that they have none of the internal construction elements. They rely solely on the strength of the outer fabric and the stitching for their strength. They are made like what we in the kilt world call "Jeans made". And even blue jean denim (one of the most durable fabrics) will fail under stress. Have you ever noticed that is almost always the fabric which gives way first on your jeans?
    Last edited by The Wizard of BC; 11th January 17 at 11:10 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  6. #5
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    I have never owned a pair of jeans, but I understand what you are getting at. The OP's question was "rugged tartan kilts", so the all important construction aspect is very much involved here.

    So my point that a properly constructed wool kilt, as military kilts were/are, can be a pretty rugged piece of kit is pertinent. I used the military wool kilt as an example of that rugged ability and by the sounds of it, in kilt terms, it cannot be bettered. Obviously even properly constructed wool kilts wear out over time as your picture demonstrates well and even the military wool kilt was unable to deal with shot and shell well either. Nevertheless if you want a rugged kilt, then a properly constructed wool kilt probably is the OP's best choice.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 11th January 17 at 11:31 PM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  8. #6
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    The other option if one wanted wool would be to go back the the original 4 yard box pleast kilt made from a heavy and unfinished cloth (if one can obtain it). This unfinished cloth is very close to the early 19th century coarse cloth and harder wearing. The benefit of the earlier style of kilt is that it does not have the weight and so does not require any lining or stabilising.

    I'm not a kltmaker but have several examples that I have worn for years albeit not for heavy manual labour.
    Last edited by figheadair; 12th January 17 at 12:26 AM.

  9. #7
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    You raise a couple of interesting points there Peter. I know that we these days talk about 13oz and 16oz cloths to give us all an idea what we are talking about, but what sort of weight cloth were the old military kilts made of? Was there a difference in weight and quality of cloth generally used for military kilts ( I know Officers often had finer cloth) between say 1715 and say 1815 and then again, say 1914?
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 12th January 17 at 12:55 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    (if one can obtain it).

    Well, there's the rub as they say Peter. I don't know of any current weaving mill doing that old style of fabric. Do you?
    Are we really giving good advice if what we offer is not available or would be so costly as to be out of the realm of reasonable for the OP's stated purpose of "to wear around the house while doing projects and such and maybe wear to work."
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 12th January 17 at 01:04 AM.
    Steve Ashton
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  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    Well, there's the rub as they say Peter. I don't know of any current weaving mill doing that old style of fabric. Do you?
    Are we really giving good advice if what we offer is not available or would be so costly as to be out of the realm of reasonable for the OP's stated purpose of "to wear around the house while doing projects and such and maybe wear to work."
    I think so Steve. Whilst you are absolutely right is saying that the old heavyweight cloths are not available to us so to all intents and purposes they are out of the equation. Nevertheless, a properly constructed wool kilt is still a valid consideration and I believe that 18oz tartan is still available for band use? All that I am saying that wool tartan is still a perfectly reasonable option for the OP to consider, particularly as tartan is his requirement.

    Yes it is the expensive option at first sight, particularly if he catches the kilt on a nail first time out, but there are wool kilts worn in Scotland today that are worn about the house, garden, town, rugby matches, pub, or out on the hill, that are more than 50 years old, is that not good value?
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 12th January 17 at 01:28 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  13. #10
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    I think wool kilts with proper internal construction are indeed tough garments, hell they're called a tank for a reason. However, am I gonna spend $500 or more on a kilt to wear around the house and a warehouse? No. I won't even wear my 5 yarder to a dropkick Murphy's show next month because I don't wanna risk ruining it. I think for the intent and purpose of the OP, a PV kilt is the way to go for all the stated benefits.

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