An Endangered Craft

Why a hand stitched kilt is better than machine sewn

A few years ago at ScotClans we were approached by a Scottish company that makes machine sewn kilts. This company make kilts for many of the large highlandwear retailers and internet companies. They claimed to be able to produce a machine sewn kilt that was better quality than any hand stitched kilt. As a test we gave them the sizes of my daughter and asked them to make a kilt for her. When the kilt arrived not only did it not fit my daughter, it actually fitted my son who was three years younger but it only lasted a couple of years. What was also irritating was that these kilts were being sold as ‘hand finished’. When challenged about this they responded that the buckles and straps were sewn on by hand – this was as close to handmade that these kilts get…. and it shows.

To explain the difference. Only with a hand stitched kilt can you achieve proper shaping – the common feedback we get is how surprised people are about how well their kilt fits.

You can see the shaping in this kilt
You can see the shaping in this kilt

For a machine sewn kilt this wouldn’t have the dip it would be straight.

A kilt should be made from 100% Wool Mill.

Invisible Stitching

A hand sewn kilt has invisible stitching on the pleats. With a machine sewn kilt you can see the lines on stitching. Hand sewn kilts use special strengthened thread. Each time a pleat is started the kilt maker knots the thread to make sure nothing comes unstitched a few years down the line.

The pleats are steeked, this means that extra stitching is put in place to stop the pleats falling. With some kilts you can see pleats drooping at the back.

The internal construction of our kilts uses canvas that makes the kilt mould to your shape, this also echoes the shaping of the kilt. Rather than with machine sewn where they just re-use templates for set sizes – a hand stitched kilt is made to your exact measurements. On top of the canvas we add cotton lining.

Adding the lining
Adding the lining

Different Pleats

Pleating to stripe or to sett

Pleating to Sett
This Kilt is Pleated to Sett