Fabric Suggestions for 152 Scottish Kilts

The romance of the Scottish Highlands is alive and well in this authentic kilt, kilt skirt, and Prince Charlie jacket and vest. To complete the ensemble, knit the lacy vest for women and the argyle socks for men. Our pattern includes complete instructions for measuring, pleating, and constructing the Kilt and Kilt Skirt; pattern pieces for cutting out and instructions for sewing the Jacket and Vest; knitting instructions for the vest and socks; and historic and cultural information about the kilt.

Suggested fabrics: For the Kilt, choose medium-weight worsted twill tartan wool. For the Jacket and Vest, choose suit-quality medium-weight wool or blend. Jacket lapels should be heavyweight silk (peau de soie or similar quality).

PLEASE NOTE: These suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.

Tartans

Much research goes into finding the correct clan or distinct tartan.  Some of the large clan tartans like Stewart have well over a dozen variations, and many tartans have "hunting" and "dress" versions.  Some tartans are described as ancient.  This refers to the shades of the colors, not to the sett or design itself.

Traditionally, one may wear a clan tartan if one has the family or clan name to which it belongs.  Those who have the name of a sept, or branch, associated with a particular clan may also wear that clan's tartan.  There are cases in which a sept name is associated with more than one clan, so that an examination of family history is necessary to determine which tartan is to be worn.

The original concept of the distinct tartan, which may be worn by anyone with the appropriate residential or birth qualification, is older than the clan tartan. 

It can be difficult to find authentic tartan fabric in the US, but several shops can source good tartan fabrics in 100% wool, or polyester, or a blend.  A full kilt takes 8 yards or single width tartan (30"-32" wide), or 4 yards of double width (54"-60" wide).  All of the shops below can source tartan fabric for your kilt.

USA Kilts offers a variety of tartans in various weights. Here is a variation of MacFarlane red modern.  There are many variations within each Clan's tartans and coloring.  

The Kilt Shop has a great selection of accessories,clan badges, and custom made kilts. This is a multi generational kilt making family.  Much of the research that Folkwear includes in the Scottish Kilt Pattern was contributed by world renown kilt maker Ann Stewart, mother of the current owner and kilt maker Hazel Stewart.  She also collaborated on the pattern.  The Kilt Shop can help you source great tartan fabric, too.

 

The Scottish Weaver has a large selection of tartan fabrics by the yard.  Pictured below is the ancient Hamilton tartan.

 

In addition to the traditional kilt, there is a trend that has been growing for sometime for the utility kilt. Utility kilts are a modern adaptation which are controversial among traditionalist and embraced by others.  This article from BBC Scotland gives some insight into the trend.  We personally know a farmer who lives near us who swears by his kilt for daily use!  These are often made with canvas, but can be made in various other fabrics as well such as corduroy or denim. Our pattern would have to be adapted a bit to create this look, but it could be an interesting starting point with the traditional design as a foundation.  Any thoughts on this?

 

Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics carries a variety of colors of Big Sur Canvas.  This is a classic tightly woven duck canvas cotton and is a practical color.

Often, the Prince Charlie jacket is traditionally a neutral dark color such as dark blue, green, black or grey.  We found this wool/rayon suiting at Vogue Fabrics and think it would be a nice solid to pair with various tartans.