What it feels like to ... MAKE A KILT


IF ANY­ONE comes in to Kinloch An­der­son and would like a kilt made, they can choose from more than 2,000 tar­tans – if it’s com­mer­cially woven, we have it. There are dif­fer­ent weights and qual­i­ties, and dif­fer­ent colour­ways in each tar­tan, in­clud­ing mod­ern and an­cient.

Some peo­ple come in with their fam­ily tar­tan; some do not have a tar­tan. If they don’t want to wear a clan tar­tan, there are lots of other op­tions.

There are some tar­tans that ev­ery­one can wear but, when it comes to a kilt, men more of­ten than not want to wear the tar­tan with which they have an as­so­ci­a­tion. There’s noth­ing to stop you wear­ing a tar­tan you’re not as­so­ci­ated with, and most peo­ple wouldn’t mind, although one or two might. Some­times when some­one gets mar­ried they want to cre­ate a tar­tan.

A kilt is made from one sin­gle length of ma­te­rial and doesn’t have a hem be­cause imag­ine eight yards of bulk – it would be too heavy and it would look hor­ri­ble. The pat­tern is matched so, when it is pleated, it fits the body but the pat­tern is still per­fect. That is the great skill in mak­ing a kilt: chalk­ing the ma­te­rial so you know ex­actly where to put the pleats. A skilled per­son would take at least eight hours to make a kilt but it could be more.

A kilt can ac­com­mo­date a change in size but you can’t lengthen or shorten a kilt be­cause it has a spe­cial woven edge,

so that’s why most peo­ple wait un­til their 21st birth­day or a lit­tle bit later be­fore they buy a kilt.

Once you have all the pleats, the ma­te­rial at the top has to be cut be­cause it would be too bulky. We then put a bit of can­vas around the top to strengthen the kilt. It is all hand-stitched and it is marked with the name of the cus­tomer and the date it was made. There are also two loops that men would tra­di­tion­ally use to hang the kilt.

I mar­ried into the fam­ily so I au­to­mat­i­cally took an in­ter­est in tar­tan and am in­volved with all as­pects of the com­pany. This year is our 150th an­niver­sary and we com­mem­o­rated it by cre­at­ing a tar­tan. Tar­tan means a huge amount to me.

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