Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kilts and Tartans

The Tartan Weaving Mill in Edinburgh, Scotland had a display of kilts through the centuries. The kilt hasn't changed much but the jackets and cuffs certainly reflect the fashions of the day.  The fabric worn over the shoulder is called a fly plaid and is always the same tartan as the kilt.  Before the tailor made kilts the fabric was laid on the ground and pleated, the wearer laid down on top of the pleats and wrapped the fabric around and fastened the kilt with a belt.  A large portion of fabric hung behind the kilt so that was wrapped around the shoulder.  Notice the 3 guys on the right below.
Americans refer to the woven fabric as a plaid but it is a tartan.  In Scottish or Irish terms plaid refers to a flat tartan fabric that is used as a blanket or as they call it a rug.  The kilt was worn as a garment by day and used as a blanket by night.
Spools of thread for warping the loom to weave a tartan
 All those warp threads are wound in pattern onto a large spool which is then wound onto the loom.

Look at how fast that shuttle goes back and forth.
 All those beautiful tartans

And the price.....add 60% for American dollars. I didn't buy any.  It takes almost 8 yards to make a kilt and they are completely hand sewn.  Military kilts are pleated so it looks like all horizontal stripes on the back.  Kilts for everyone else are pleated in pattern so the tartan is the same in the pleated area as the flat fabric. All the pleats are hand measured, basted, pressed and sewn and pressed some more.  The Highland House of Fraser had wonderful exhibit of kilts and a workshop where kilts were being sewn but no flash photography so no pics.  There was a kilt on the display table that was pleated so the vertical pleats were dominate on the back very sharp looking.  Pleated in pattern below

The 12th of July Parade at Kesh Northern Ireland.  The pouch worn in front is called a sporran, these are made of horse hair for festival dress.  They are also made out of leather or fur with shiny hardware.

Don't they look grand!  Still wondering what is worn underneath--Ann--

1 comment:

Terri said...

I'm reading the Outlander series now...almost done with Dragonfly in Amber. Thanks for the look at the kilts and tartans. I'm enjoying your pictures of Edinburough, too.