Putting it on
Wearing it
Folding & storing
big pictures
Love and Care of the
Or any of the other names
you may have heard

The great kilt is made of three to six yards of full width fabric (54 to 60 inches wide.) This was the garment worn by the shepherds, the poor -- the highlanders who had very little. It was their blanket at night and their clothing by day.

At the time when the great kilt was worn (1500 to 1740's when tartans and kilts were banned) tartans as we know them did not exist. Patterns were made up of natural colors from white and black sheep with some dies made from local ingredients. The fabric was woven on a 30 inch loom and shrunk by walking the cloth to a width of 26 or 27 inches. Two widths of this were sewn together to make a kilt width.

In these far off and undocumented times the great kilt was 'put on' in some way about which we can only guess. Each man would have his own wearing technique and no uniformity could exist. I am sure that many kilted highlanders would not be accepted by todays standards of decency.

Uniformity and some documentation of the kilt came about when the great kilt was adopted by the british army as the dress for regements recruited in scotland. During the years 1747 to 1782 tartan could be worn only by officers and men of his majesties armed forces. With this uniformity was achieved as only the british army can do. Tartans as we know them -- the government tartan (now the black watch) and others such as, the Gordon,the MacKenzie, the Cameron, the Campbell which are basically the black watch with modifications, were created and defined.

The british soldier lived in, slept in, and fought in his kilt. This became a sweaty, dirty, greasy, stained garment which hung on the body to protect him from inclement weather but interfered to some extent with his movement and mobility. He was no doubt happy to have it replaced with the shorter kilt, the FHEILE BEAG towards the end of the 18th century.

The british soldier was issued 6 yards of single width fabric This was cut in half and sewn to make 3 yards of kilt width. Four 5 or 6 yards make a comfortable kilt. More than 6 yards gives too much plaid to conveniently handle without appearing bulky and pulling on the rest of the clothing.


1 Put the belt on.

2 Lay down on the bed with the knees at the edge of bed. Leave the belt.

3 Lay out the kilt fabric with hem edge along the edge of the bed.

4 Pleat the fabric so there are three sections, 1/2 hip of pleats, with 1/2 hip of apron on each side.

5 Lay down on pleated part with knees at edge of bed.

6 Spread the under apron (right side) and smooth over body.

7 Spread the over apron (left side) and smooth over body. Keep the hem straight and level.

8 Fasten the belt at the waist.

9 Stand up.

10, The kilt will disappar under the plaid which hangs over the kilt to about the middle of the shins.

11 As seen from the back.


12 At a mirror observe the form of the kilt with its plaid.

A first method of adjusting kilt
12-A-1 Take the two ends of the apron plaid in the right hand and the center of the plaid in the right,

12-A-2 bring these together over the left shoulder.

12-A-3 and pin together with a plaid brooch.

note This (12) is probably the most comfortable way to wear the great kilt. It does hide the sporran but does not pull on the clothing.

13 Take the plaid end of the underapron which is on top and tuck it under the belt as far around the left side as it will reach.

14 Take the plaid end of the over apron,

15 tuck it under the belt.

16 The kilt is now visible from the front, but not the back.

A second methods of adjusting kilt
16-A Bring the center of the plaid over the head. This is good for inclement weather.

A third methods of adjusting kilt
16-B Drop the head loop from 16-A around neck and fasten with a brooch.

A fourth methods of adjusting kilt
16-C-1 Pick up the plaid with both hands at arms length on each side.

16-C-2 Bring the two together over the left shoulder and,

16-C-3 pin with a brooch at shoulder.

16-C-4 This method is comfortable and shows the kilt well.

A fifth methods of adjusting kilt
16-D Tuck the entire plaid under the belt at the back. This is bulky but is the coolest way to wear the kilt.

A sixth methods of adjusting kilt
16-E-1 Take one or several pleats from the middle of the plaid,

16-E-2 bring to the left shoulder and pin in place.

16-E-3 This was the way the kilt was worn by scittish reements in the 17 & 18 th centuries. It works well for 3, 4, or r yards of fabric. For longer fabrics ther may be a low place in the back of the plaid.

Folding and storing the kilt top

17 Lay out the canvas protective cover on the bed.

18 Flip the plaid over the head and lie down on the canvas cover.

19 Pleat the kilt as if to put it on. Carefully position the pleats where you want them when you next wear the kilt.

20 Take the upper apron and fold it over the pleated part.

21 Take the under apron and fold it over the pleated part.

22 Smooth out carefully to remove all rinkles and folds.

23 Take the plaid end of this assembly plaid end of this assembly

24 and fold it to the hem edge of kilt.

25 Fold the protective cover over the kilt and fasten ties.

26 Roll the kilt as tightly as you can from the fold to the hem edge.

27 Tie the kilt closed. Knife edge pleats will press into the fabric for the next time you wear this fine garment.

Historic Clothing and Garb Sites
Click to E-Mail  © Ragnar Torfason
2005 January 28
Web Page designed by The Renaissance Man Web Page designed by
The Renaissance Man
Go to My Sewing & Garb Accessories Site