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  1. #1
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    U.S.-based Makers of Heirloom Quality Highland Dress and Accessories

    Hello. This is my first post. Iím hoping some of you can recommend makers of heirloom quality highland dress and accessories based in the United States.

    While living in Scotland I sought out makers of unique, high quality items for my highland dress collection. I purchased most of my current collection at the following shops in Edinburgh: Kinloch Anderson (kilts and jackets), Gordon Nicolson (sporrans and leather goods), and Hamilton & Inches (sterling silver accessories). I had many positive experiences with these makers, and the items should last at least a few lifetimes.

    Iím now based in Washington, DC, and would like to find U.S.-based makers that offer items of similar (or superior) quality. Iím comfortable shopping at brick-and-mortar stores within driving distance and via the web. Where should I start my search?

  2. #2
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    Kilts

    If you want another kilt, I donít think that you could do better than talking to Barb Tewksbury, a kilt maker member of this forum, and one of the authors of ďThe Art of KiltmakingĒ. She lives, and teaches at a college in upstate New York.
    Here is her contact information:
    https://www.theartofkiltmaking.com/
    waulk softly and carry a big schtick

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  4. #3
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    I second Barbera Tewksbury. You might try USA Kilts based near Philadelphia. I know some of their products are made by the same people who make things for Kinloch Anderson and others.
    ďNever wear anything that panics the cat.Ē- P.J. OíRourke
    ďA man should look as if he has bought his clothes (kilt) with intelligence, put them (it) on with care, and then forgotten all about them (it).Ē Paraphrased from Hardy Amies
    Proud member of the Clan Urquhart.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by StAndrewsAlum View Post

    While living in Scotland I sought out makers of unique, high quality items...Kinloch Anderson...Gordon Nicolson...Hamilton & Inches...

    ...U.S.-based makers that offer items of similar (or superior) quality.
    Wow that is a very difficult question.

    It's clear you're looking for makers which eliminates most US firms.

    The thing we do have is a number of excellent kilt makers.

    About jackets, I don't know of any US Highland jacket makers who maintain the elegant traditional cut of the best UK-made jackets. (I'm not impressed by most of the recent UK-made jackets I've seen either, though I understand that there are some fine Scottish tailors still around.)

    About sporrans, if you look through some of the DIY posts here you'll see that we do have some people in the US who make, or used to make, wonderful traditional sporrans. (I think it's safe to say that most US sporran makers don't follow traditional patterns or aesthetics, and many of their things resemble reproduction Renaissance or Mediaeval belt-bags or Mountain Man pouches more than they do sporrans. There are several US leatherworkers who do saddles, belts, pouches, holsters, etc who make a few sporrans on the side.) http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...gallery-86626/

    I have seen some US jewellers making things resembling traditional Scottish things.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 9th September 22 at 05:35 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by StAndrewsAlum View Post
    Hello. This is my first post. Iím hoping some of you can recommend makers of heirloom quality highland dress and accessories based in the United States.

    While living in Scotland I sought out makers of unique, high quality items for my highland dress collection. I purchased most of my current collection at the following shops in Edinburgh: Kinloch Anderson (kilts and jackets), Gordon Nicolson (sporrans and leather goods), and Hamilton & Inches (sterling silver accessories). I had many positive experiences with these makers, and the items should last at least a few lifetimes.

    Iím now based in Washington, DC, and would like to find U.S.-based makers that offer items of similar (or superior) quality. Iím comfortable shopping at brick-and-mortar stores within driving distance and via the web. Where should I start my search?

    Welcome aboard!

    If you're ever in Kansas City, J. Higgins will take your measurements to make a jacket and vest for you from a wide selection of tweeds. I'm competing at Winter Storm there in January and will stop by the shop to get a jacket and vest project underway.

  7. #6
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    Thank you for your very helpful replies.

    How does one go about commissioning kilts from Barbera Tewksbury? A Google search finds many links to her book, but not much in the way of information on ordering her kilts.

    On sporrans and accessories, is it safe to say that most of the highly-regarded U.S.-based retailers contract the manufacture of these items? I'm interested in items produced by third parties so long as they're high quality and unique.

    I understand what you mean about some U.S. sporran makers not following traditional patterns or aesthetics. I recently attended the Maryland Renaissance Festival with my family, and all the items marketed as sporrans were either nontraditional or very rudimentary. I also noticed that many attendees wearing kilts chose to incorporate a lot of nontraditional items into their outfits.

    Thanks for the J. Higgins recommendation. I'll take a look.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by StAndrewsAlum View Post

    How does one go about commissioning kilts from Barbera Tewksbury? A Google search finds many links to her book, but not much in the way of information on ordering her kilts.
    Barbara is an advertiser here on XMTS. You can see her ad on the right edge of the page. Or you can click the link here: https://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu...nal/kiltmaking

    Cheers,

    SM
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

  9. #8
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    I know that you said "U.S." in your post, but one of the most capable makers of traditional sporrans in North America is L & M Highland https://www.landmhighland.com in Nova Scotia. They do not do custom designed sporrans, but their quality is highly sought after and if you speak with them by telephone, they are usually willing to make minor modifications (snaps, gussets, etc.) to their plan since sporrans are made at the time of order. I had one with them which I did not think closed well, and when I spoke with them, they asked me to send it back right away, and at no charge made an elegant modification which looked like it had always been there and completely fixed the problem.

    If you want an individually planned and executed sporran, consider our advertiser Don Smith at Highland Leather Works https://highlandleatherworks.com/ who is indeed state-side. He does some quirky things, but also some beautiful traditional items as well. I have two of his which I prize highly. His 'head-on' sporrans are a special treat since he was a taxidermist before he was a sporran maker and his beasts are incredibly life-like. I corresponded with Don on each of my sporrans and he adjusted his plans to be precisely in my preferred style at very competitive price.

    The Arctic Fox here is from Don Smith at Highland Leather.
    Last edited by Father Bill; 9th September 22 at 08:37 AM.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by StAndrewsAlum View Post
    I recently attended the Maryland Renaissance Festival with my family, and all the items marketed as sporrans were either nontraditional or very rudimentary. I also noticed that many attendees wearing kilts chose to incorporate a lot of nontraditional items into their outfits.
    The Renaissance Festival is probably the worst place you could look for examples of traditional kilt outfits (and I say this as a Maryland local and someone who absolutely adores the Renaissance Festival). Potomac Leather (and their sister company, Wolfstone Kilts) will be the most authentic example at MDRF.

    Around here, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, which takes place in July, will be your best bet for semi-local examples of Traditional Civilian Highland Dress. As mentioned upthread, USA Kilts physical shop is also within day-trip range if you don't mind driving up to PA. They make kilts on premises, and also sell jackets, sporrans, sgianan-dubha, and other Highland accessories though I don't know if they manufacture those in-house.
    Sapienter ē Si ē Sincere

  12. #10
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    sporranmaker

    I always advise a perusal of sporrans from Ferguson Britt. This forum includes owners, and photos of Lamar's work appear in threads over the years. I think most
    will agree that his work and his sporrans can stand comfortably next to anything you are likely to find. He has several styles he works with as a matter of course,
    but is always up for building to your choice.
    Last edited by tripleblessed; 12th September 22 at 07:23 PM.

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