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  1. #1
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    How to Take Measurements From an Existing Kilt

    I assumed kiltmakers would be the most knowledgeable on this topic. The wife of a cousin wants to surprise her hubby with his first "real" kilt. He has a Sport Kilt (velcro, no straps), and I believe an inexpensive synthetic with straps, both of which fit fine. I suggested she might be able to have the new kilt made by taking measurements from these kilts, i.e. length and waist. But, how should these measurements be taken precisely- from where to where on the velcro/strap kilts' waist, and how to measure the length? I realize that the answer might be an anguished, "Don't do it!", but I think it's the only way to surprise him. Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I think the waist and length could be taken off the ones he has hanging in the closet. Close the kilt and measure the inner side of the kilt around the waist. The tricky part would be the hip measurement. Too big and it'll look like a shower curtain around his bum, too small and the pleats will pucker out like an accordion. May I suggest a gift card from the kilt maker? My wife went that route and it made me just as happy as getting a kilt
    Last edited by Manu; 10th July 18 at 01:12 PM.

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  4. #3
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    There are a couple of different ways to measure a kilt depending on how it is made.

    An Iconic Style kilt is measured differently than most others.

    The length of an Iconic Style kilt has two parts - The Drop and the Rise. When you add these together they are the total length of the kilt.

    The reason for this is that an iconic style kilt is flared out, above the top straps, to go up, over the bottom of the ribs.



    The smallest part of the kilt is at the level of the top straps.

    So the length part called The Drop, is measured from the bottom selvedge edge, up to the center of the top strap. The part above the top strap is The Rise.



    Again, depending on the style of kilt, the Rise may be 1" - 2" - 3" and in some very old military kilts 4-5 inches.

    Here are three kilts. Each has the same Drop, and fit the same person, but kilt on the left has 1" Rise. The middle kilt has a 2" Rise and the RRS kilt on the right has a 3" Rise.




    On many kilts made today there is no flare above the top strap. The smallest part of the kilt is above the top strap at the waistbanding.
    This style of kilt will usually have the length listed, not as Drop + Rise, but as a single total length from the bottom of the selvedge to the top of the waistbanding.






    You need to know this to accurately measure the waist circumference of the kilt.

    At the smallest part of the kilt, stretch a tape measure from the right edge of the outer apron - across the apron and continue until you reach the right edge of the under apron.

    (Do not include the width of the under apron.)




    There is one other caution -
    On kilts made In Accordance With (IAW)- "The Art of Kiltmaking" - There will be one inch more on the fringed edge of the outer apron than on the other edge. This is to allow the fringe to overlap the Reverse pleat a little.



    If you have a kilt like this subtract 1" from the total waist above.

    To measure the hip circumference you stretch a tape measure similarly to how you did the waist circumference but now down at the level of the bottom of the Fell Area.
    You can find the bottom of the Fell Area by reaching into the pleats and find where the Fell Stitching ends. This should be the Hip line of the kilt.



    Most kilts out there are measured using only three measurements -

    1) The Waist circumference
    2) The Hip circumference
    3) The Length or (Drop + Rise)

    There are other ways to measure for kilts such as those that belong to the Contemporary style but as you are asking about an existing kilt I doubt you will need -

    4) The Fell Length
    5) The Front Slope
    6) The Rear Slope.

    So I won't cover the additional measurement in this post.
    Last edited by The Wizard of BC; 10th July 18 at 01:38 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manu View Post
    I think the waist and length could be taken off the ones he has hanging in the closet. Close the kilt and measure the inner side of the kilt around the waist. The tricky part would be the hip measurement. Too big and it'll look like a shower curtain around his bum, too small and the pleats will pucker out like an accordion. May I suggest a gift card from the kilt maker? My wife went that route and it made me just as happy as getting a kilt
    Good thinking. I'll suggest that.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    There are a couple of different ways to measure a kilt depending on how it is made.

    An Iconic Style kilt is measured differently than most others.

    The length of an Iconic Style kilt has two parts - The Drop and the Rise. When you add these together they are the total length of the kilt.

    The reason for this is that an iconic style kilt is flared out, above the top straps, to go up, over the bottom of the ribs.
    Thanks! Your entire post is very clear, and informative.

  9. #6
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    Steve's post is great. And, if you do all the measurements he suggests and include a sketch with all the locations of the measurements, it's definitely possible to get a kilt that fits.

    But realize that different kiltmakers take and use measurements differently, and, unless you are working directly with a kiltmaker (e.g., directly with Steve or directly with me), you can't be sure what will happen with the measurements that you send. If you are ordering from a place that jobs out kilts, there's a middle step of the sales person who takes the order interpreting the measurements and sending them to the kiltmaker. That's an iffy part of the process that can go inches wrong.

    When people ask me about surprising someone with a custom-made kilt, I explain all this and suggest that a swell gift certificate is an alternative that would let the kiltmaker get the absolutely right measurements that he/she needs for a kilt that fits perfectly.
    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://www.celticdragonpress.com

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