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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Just to be clear, I did suggest that traditionally we in Scotland choose one tartan, which is true we do. Most probably, a lot of us could choose one of many tartans---father's Clan is the usual choice, but one only needs to go back three or four generations and the choice of family tartans multiplies hugely and when district tartans etc. are added then we are spoiled for choice----- so those of you outwith Scotland are not the only one's with this problem! We have over the years worked out that it is better to dress in one specific tartan with nice accessories that really suit an occasion rather than cutting corners, that sadly, many on this website tend to do.

    Now, I said we generally go with one tartan, but that does not necessarily mean one kilt! If we take me as an example and myClan and use Loch Carron cloth to name but one maker. I have three colour hues, modern, ancient and weathered as an immediate choice. Other cloth mills are another option with their particular colouring shades, then there is often the choice of "dress" tartans and so on and of course you can have a bespoke choice of colours(within certain parameters) and sett size which still adhere to the basic tartan. So one could have many kilts of the same Clan. Most of us don't of course for obvious financial reasons, but the opportunity to ring the changes and still stay loyal to our Clan,--------- there are also social conventions at work in Scotland too, where it is not regarded as a "proper" thing to wear tartans of other Clans----- is open to us and on the whole we use the same accessories which helps financially, no end.
    The inter-clan options go up even more if you belong to one like Macdonald that has numerous tartan options (macD of the isles, lord of the isles, glengarry, glencoe, ranald, etc).

    I’ve always thought Jock here would look quite dashing in loud Macleod! ;)
    Though it might be a wee bit disadvantageous on the hill.
    Last edited by FossilHunter; 4th January 19 at 07:47 AM.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  2. #12
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    When I read the OP in the middle of the night I needed sleep more than more time on the forum, so to bed.
    With hopes that someone else would suggest Paisley district before I got back. They did. Yay! Folk here are
    helpful that way. As you may have noted, they are also of varied mind and opinion. Again, yay! I will inject
    into the variety the edict from Parliament (1597?) that the "clannis" of the borders should calm down and
    cease their raiding. Apparently no one had bothered to inform them that clans only existed in the Highlands,
    and they made the shocking assumption they knew what they were talking about. I tend to agree with them;
    their opinion was the position of the time, and therefore the traditional view. So, if a border clan tartan is your
    preference, have at it. If the tartan police pull you over, tell them I'll pay your fine for my part in this. There
    will continue to be variance in opinion, YMMV.
    Last edited by tripleblessed; 4th January 19 at 08:01 AM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FossilHunter View Post
    The inter-clan options go up even more if you belong to one like Macdonald that has numerous tartan options (macD of the isles, lord of the isles, glengarry, glencoe, ranald, etc).

    I’ve always thought Jock here would look quite dashing in loud Macleod! ;)
    Actually it is Clan MacLeod of Harris's dress(formal) tartan and in the distant past there was a time when I thought that I cut quite a dash in a MacLeod of Lewis tartan kilt at formal events, sadly it belonged to a deceased uncle who was far slimmer than I was and unfortunately I grew out of it pretty quickly and I passed it on to a cousin.

    These days-------the last 25/30 years---- no one(few?) seems to bother about having a dress tartan any more and just make do the Macleod of Harris tartan, or whatever, for all occasions. Before I go on, one needs to remember not all Clans have a Dress tartan. Anyway, it certainly made life less complicated with attire choices and well, its one less kilt in the wardrobe and one less kilt to have to renew!
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 4th January 19 at 08:43 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  4. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to Jock Scot For This Useful Post:


  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Actually it is Clan MacLeod of Harris's dress(formal) tartan and in the distant past there was a time when I thought that I cut quite a dash in a MacLeod of Lewis tartan kilt at formal events, sadly it belonged to a deceased uncle who was far slimmer than I was and unfortunately I grew out of it pretty quickly and I passed it on to a cousin.

    These days-------the last 25/30 years---- no one(few?) seems to bother about having a dress tartan any more and just make do the Macleod of Harris tartan, or whatever, for all occasions. Before I go on, one needs to remember not all Clans have a Dress tartan. Anyway, it certainly made life less complicated with attire choices and well, its one less kilt in the wardrobe and one less kilt to have to renew!
    A little off topic but I’ve seen some early 20th century reference to “dress kilts” made of finer tartan fabric but I’ve never actually seen an example. Was your uncle’s kilt like that?

    I do agree that loud Macleod looks great with formal wear. Something about the contrast with a black jacket I think. The President’s son pulls it off quite well.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  6. #15
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    Red face

    Thank you all for the varied suggestions. I do feel like I am going to go back and do a tad more research and then decide. Thankfully, the next Highland Games in my area (Phoenix, AZ) is only two months away, so I'm planning on meeting up with them and seeing how that goes as well. I really appreciate the warm welcome!

  7. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to Katertot79 For This Useful Post:


  8. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FossilHunter View Post
    A little off topic but I’ve seen some early 20th century reference to “dress kilts” made of finer tartan fabric but I’ve never actually seen an example. Was your uncle’s kilt like that?

    I do agree that loud Macleod looks great with formal wear. Something about the contrast with a black jacket I think. The President’s son pulls it off quite well.
    Good question! My reply comes with a "health" warning though. My answers are made with a hazy and imperfect memory and no reliable technical details. Whilst I grew up in a family of kilt wearers who knew how to wear the kilt to best effect, there was absolutely no interest in the technical detail of how a kilt was made or weights of cloth or colour hues. Those details were left entirely to the kilt maker and if Grandfathers kilt was going strong fifty years after it was built then that was where we as a family went to get our own kilts. So it was a "you build it and I will fly it" situation and I think many kilt wearers outwith this website still think that way. I certainly do.

    So to answer the question with the "health "warning of that hazy and imperfect memory fully in place. Plus, you have to remember two things, many of the kilts that I wore in my youth were hand-me-downs and were probably at least fifty, perhaps more, years old in those days and I was born in 1940! So from memory, the " normal" tartan cloth appeared heavier, rougher and harder than todays tartan cloths. At a guess the old tartan weight was as least 20 oz and probably 22/24 oz in weight. So dress tartans were lighter and at a guess were more like a 13/15/16 oz weight and a feel of todays cloth. Some very smart dress tartans were reputed to have silk threads woven into the cloth, maybe some were completely made of silk, but I have no idea if the dress kilt that I wore for a while had any silk content.

    If I could go back in time just for a wee while I would love to have a real heavyweight, with the old tartan cloth characteristics kilt made again. Whilst a modern tartan heavyweight(16/18 oz) cloth is nice, I still miss that almost indestructible feeling that old fashioned 20+oz kilts used to give.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 5th January 19 at 07:25 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  9. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    If I could go back in time just for a wee while I would love to have a real heavyweight, with the old tartan cloth characteristics kilt made again. Whilst a modern tartan heavyweight(16/18 oz) cloth is nice, I still miss that almost indestructible feeling that old fashioned 20+oz kilts used to give.
    I am in pursuit of that very same thing at the moment. It is surprising that almost nobody makes tartan cloth heavier than 16oz. One or two weavers claim to have 18oz, but there is some debate on whether there's really any difference. A 22oz coarse tartan these days would be a specialty item requiring custom weight yarn and/or a nontypical loom setup, if you could even find someone willing to take it on. And it would still be with modern softer wool, not the coarse wool that is apparently extinct. If I do manage to find someone to try a real heavyweight weave, it will cost a fortune.

  10. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I am in pursuit of that very same thing at the moment. It is surprising that almost nobody makes tartan cloth heavier than 16oz. One or two weavers claim to have 18oz, but there is some debate on whether there's really any difference. A 22oz coarse tartan these days would be a specialty item requiring custom weight yarn and/or a nontypical loom setup, if you could even find someone willing to take it on. And it would still be with modern softer wool, not the coarse wool that is apparently extinct. If I do manage to find someone to try a real heavyweight weave, it will cost a fortune.
    You could try weaving it yourself. Peter MacDonald has done some hand-woven reconstructions. Though I couldn't tell you the weight.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  11. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FossilHunter View Post
    You could try weaving it yourself. Peter MacDonald has done some hand-woven reconstructions. Though I couldn't tell you the weight.
    Oh, I've considered it! The cost of a suitable loom, and having to clear the space to use it, pretty much nixes that idea unless I wanted to do a whole lot of tartan weaving beyond what I need. And from past threads here on the forum from people who have done their own weaving, it takes a lot of time and expense. It's just not practical, unless one were doing it for the sheer joy of weaving.

    And then there are the technical obstacles. The yarn weight required for heavier tartan is not easily found. There is the option of using a lighter yarn, double-sleyed, but that would take a lot of experimentation. Trial and error. Throwing away a lot of money and effort. Still, I suppose it is an option, albeit one that would be a last resort out of sheer desperation.

    I found a local craft weaving shop and had high hopes that they could help me, but they don't deal in yarns or fabrics this light. They mostly do rugs and such, using big fat yarns. They don't even carry the 16/2 yarns needed for 16oz tartan and aren't interested in any of what I wanted to talk about.

    Currently, I have some feelers out to some industrial mills in the hopes that they can at least weave something in the range of 18oz. And there's the option for fulling the cloth (washing in hot water and agitating) to shrink it a little, thus increasing the nominal weight and fluffing it somewhat. Without saying too much at this point, there are experiments underway that are yielding some promising results on small samples. No telling how it would work on an 8-yard length of tartan. But even this option doesn't yield anything resembling the old "hard tartans" that are coarse and stiff. If anything, fulling the cloth softens it. There's still much to discern from the testing.

    The most likely way would be to find a small operation that raises sheep with suitable coarse wool and commission some spun yarn in the size needed, then have it custom-dyed. This would be very expensive. Then have a proper weaver use that yarn to make the tartan, with minimal finishing, so that it's still "in the grease". I do happen to think that there's a small niche market for tartan that's made with more of a traditional feel and heft, but the commercial tartan industry wants nothing to do with it. They're fat and happy selling 16oz finished (soft) tartan.

  12. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katertot79 View Post
    Thank you all for the varied suggestions. I do feel like I am going to go back and do a tad more research and then decide. Thankfully, the next Highland Games in my area (Phoenix, AZ) is only two months away, so I'm planning on meeting up with them and seeing how that goes as well. I really appreciate the warm welcome!
    This may be the best option. Finding a more specific area or clan relationship may give you more satisfying choices (if that connection to the tartan is what you wanted).
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

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