A few words of advice for Kiltmaking, if you’ve not made a kilt before
If you decide to make your own, just take your time, read the instructions carefully, then follow them to the “T”. Once you’ve made a kilt, it only takes about ten hours to complete one. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and happy sewing!
- Use the best quality tartan you can afford
- Use a 13 oz wool tartan for the quality of the pleats, durability, and how the kilt drapes on the body.
- Pay for the swatch first to make sure you’re getting what you expect in the colors and quality.
- Buy a kiltmaking book and read it thoroughly.
- If you’ve never examined a kilt in detail, find one to use as a model for yours.
- Take your measurements very, very carefully.
- Invest in a good steam iron and pressing cloth.
- The American Utility Kilt is much less complicated and easier to sew, using less yardage than the traditional modern kilt.
Traditionally, Scottish brides often sewed the groom’s wedding shirt as a fairing, or love token. Of course, just a plain shirt wouldn’t do, so they were often embellished with embroidery.
If your groom is going to wear the more casual Jacobite shirt, without a formal jacket, you might want to carry on this tradition.
Some of the pattern companies listed below also carry Jacobite shirt patterns. So do the major pattern companies like Simplicity. The sewing part is easy. You’ll have to decide if you want him to wear an open collar or one that’s laced closed.
The embroidery can be done by hand or machine. You can add a Scottish motif ~ Celtic knot or thistle ~ on the left breast. The collar edge, shoulder seam, sleeve seam, cuffs, and hem also cry out for embellishment.
Here’s some examples of an elaborately embroidered shirt. The motifs aren’t Scottish, but the overall effect is the same. They were done on a sewing machine that has a wide variety of stitches. Embroidery machines offer an even wider selection.
©Scottish Wedding Dreams
©Scottish Wedding Dreams
American Utility Kilt Instructions
Pittsburgh Kilts instructions
has directions for sewing an American utility kilt.
To open a link either hold down the Ctrl key when you
or add the URL address as an “allowed site”
Traditional Kilt Patterns Sources
offers patterns for re-enactors, including patterns for kilts, Prince Charlie Jackets, and other accessories. Through their website you can order their pattern catalog.
If you call 800-798-7979, you can order the patterns without ordering the catalog first. Do buy the catalog though, to look at all the ladies and girls dresses and accessories available.
Highland Xpress Patterns
offers both men and boys sizes.
The Kilt & Thistle Shoppe
offers patterns for kilts and Jacobite shirts from McGrew, Smoke and Fire, and Folkwear pattern companies.
has patterns for shirts, doublets, capes, kilts, tams, Renaissance flat caps, Glengarry bonnets, ghillie brogues, front-lacing mocs.
offers free basic information for building your own targe, or shield.
carries the Folkwear kilt pattern.
offers a Jacobite shirt, and a Doublet/Jerkin. Great Kilt directions are free with a Doublet or Shirt Pattern purchase.
They also have a
Boys Outfit Pattern
which includes a kilt, an attachable shirt, and a tartan tie.
Smoke and Fire
carries the Folkware kilt pattern under Stock # FW-101.
They also carry
- men’s bonnets #SF-204
- kilts #SF-301
- ghillie brogues #SF-302
Kiltmaking Books & ArticlesThree good references are
- Kiltmaking: The Making of a Scottish Kilt
by Janet Ferguson Cannonito
Using this book as her tutor, my daughter-in-law, an accomplished re-enactor seamstress has sewn several kilts for men and boys.
- The Art Of Kiltmaking
By Barbara Tewksbury and Elsie Stuehmeyer
ISBN # 097 0375107
Elsie is an accomplished kiltmaker with 30 years experience. This book is rapidly becoming a ”must have”for kilt makers.
- Threads Magazine, “Making a kilt: Sew a man’s traditional kilt or a woman’s kilt skirt”
by Ann Stewart
Threads Magazine, volume 33, pages 55-60
Back issues, when available can be ordered from Threads, P.O. Box 5506, Newtown CT 06470-5506.
Ann Stewart is considered the number one kiltmaker in the U.S. today.
Sources for these books are