A full 7 or 8 yard kilt (‘length’ alone is not an indicator of the quality of a kilt) is a surprisingly sophisticated example of the tailor’s skill. It will take an astonishing amount of heavy wear and can be altered to fit as the owner’s figure changes over time.
As an ‘Army’ kiltmaker, I create kilts of robust construction that will stand up to the rigors of daily wear. Each kilt is entirely hand-sewn to the customers’ measurements and requirements and takes approximately 20 hours labour.
I buy my kilt cloth from one source: DC Dalgliesh Ltd, Dunsdale Mill, Selkirk, Scotland. I have found their kilt-cloth to be the best cloth available – absolutely superior to any other source.
How good is it? If you come to my shop I will show you a kilt I made for myself in 1995 that has never been ironed since I made it. I have run a marathon and gone hill-running in that kilt (I may be as slow as Internet Explorer on a 90’s dialup, but I DO run), slept rough in it (which is to say, I fell asleep in a farmer’s field after piping at a particularly joyous wedding!), worn that kilt when it was so wet I might have been sitting in a bathtub, sat on the balled-up pleats in the back of an Army truck and then worn it the rest of the day with no attention paid to it at all. Through all of this the pleats have kept their edge yet there is no sign of any wrinkle, and the brambles have yet to snag on it.
In over 30 years I have been able to supply every request for little-known or rare tartan. If the sett exists (and is not copyright) then I can obtain it. If it doesn’t exist then I can design it.
I sew box-pleat Military Kilts to your regiment’s pattern. For centuries, Army kilts were made from heavy (22oz) cloth because coarse woolen cloth was cheaper then fine cloth. Now the reverse is true – heavy coarse wool cloth is more expensive than lightweight stuff and the quality of the available 22oz. cloth has fallen to a level that I won’t waste my (your) money on it. I now use the superior 16oz cloth from the Dalgliesh Mill.
I cut the kilt to have a much lower rise than the old military kilts, which used to be worn very high on the body – frequently reaching as far up as the xyphoid process or even the ‘nipple-line’. The ‘rise’ on my kilts is typically no more than 2″ above the navel.
Freakishly-long military kilts were originally a cost-saving measure, as by using the full width (27″) of the cloth it could be reversed for a second period of wear. It was also believed that this high waist protected the kidneys from catching a chill.