My Methods and Workmanship

Rob MacDonald in the shop

Photo: Glenn Baglio / Vancouver Sun

It’s easy to be nasty about the competition (and tailors as a species tend to be really bitchy about each other) but many kilts that I’ve seen over the years – and every mail-order kilt that I’ve ever seen – are too flimsy to be worn more than a few times a year.

I learn something every time I ‘open up’ a kilt that has been brought in for repair – sometimes I discover a clever technique but all too often I am disappointed by what I call ‘Cargo-cult Kilt-making’ by which I mean that whomever made the kilt did so without fully understanding what the underlying principles of what they were doing.

I recently found a pin that had been left in the kilt-apron by the maker!

kilt with pin

This immediately reminded me of my first Master, who told me that if a customer EVER found a pin that I have left in a garment he would stand and watch me eat it!

You may believe that I count my pins in-and-out the way a surgeon counts his clamps….

As an ‘Army’ kiltmaker, I make a very robust garment that’s designed and sewn to withstand daily wear.

I use only the best quality materials and nothing leaves my shop until both the customer and I are completely satisfied.

I sew every stich by hand.  I don’t use a sewing machine because it can’t sew a better seam than sewing by hand; it just sews it more quickly – but not MUCH more quickly, and when doing alterations or repairs I’ve found that a machine-sewn seam is the very devil to unpick without harming the cloth.

I also fully guarantee my workmanship for the life of the garment. In all my years in the Trade I have had only one kilt brought back to me – I had experimented with a new knot that proved false.