A History Of Scottish Kilt How to Make Scottish Kilts



Scottish kilts are known as “The National Dress of Scotland”. And are a highly recognised form of dress throughout the world. The History of Scottish Kilts have deep cultural and historical roots in the country of Scotland. And are a sacred symbol of patriotism and honour for a true Scotsman. The word “kilt” is a derivation of the ancient Norse word, kilt, which means pleated. It refers to clothing that is tucked up and around the body.


The History of Scottish kilts originate back to the 16th century. When they were traditionally worn as full length garments by Gaelic-speaking male Highlanders of northern Scotland. They were referred to as a léine, Gaelic for “shirt” and typically. The garments were draped over the shoulder or pulled over the head as cloaks. The wearing of Scottish kilt was common during the 1720s, when the British military used them as their formal uniforms. The knee-length kilt, similar to the modern kilt of today. Did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century.

How To Make Scottish Kilts

The phillabeg was prevalent during the first half of the 17th century throughout central Scotland and the Highlands. However, in an effort to repress Highland culture. King George II imposed the Dress Act of 1746. Which made it illegal for the Highland regiments. To wear garments resembling any form of Highland dress, as well as the tartan kilt. King George II’s opponents were threatening to replace him using Jacobite armies. In a panic he intended to use the act’s provisions. to ban the kilt from Highland armies. So that he could easily determine those who were supporting the Jacobite position and eliminate them.

However, the phillabeg kilt continued to be worn as a fashionable garment. By the Scottish romantics and became a form of protest against the oppression from the English government. The ban was lifted in 1782. At which time the kilts became an enduring symbol of Scottish identity. Throughout Scotland and the traditional kilt gave way to the creation of kilt garments using tartan patterns. Which represented particular clans, families, regions or countries. Generally, when a buyer ordered a kilt, they requested a specific tartan, of which today, there are more than 3,500. When making a kilt, the tartan’s pattern must remain unbroken throughout the garment. Therefore, it takes approximately 20 to 25 hours since nearly all the work is still done by hand.

Scottish Kilts in the 17th Century

Beginning in the 1790s, the phillabeg style of kilt was replaced by the tailored kilt, becoming the modern Scottish kilts for men of today. The difference between the phillabeg and the tailored kilt is that the pleats of the kilt are sewn down, as opposed to being gathered, folded and belted. Initially the tailored kilt was worn by the military during the 1790s when they were box-pleated, but there was no tapering. Civilian tailored kilts were made sometime after, although they weren’t pleated until approximately 1820, when they were pleated to the bottom hem line. The Gordon Highlanders became the first military regiment to begin using the knife pleat (1853), and by the 1900s, it was accepted in civilian kilt designs.

Modern Kilts

During the 19th century, The History of Scottish kilts were a form of ceremonial dress and worn only for special occasions and primarily to formal events, such as weddings, sporting events, Highland games and holiday celebrations. However, through a global cultural process of recognising Scottish identity in America, reinventing traditions and building the Scottish-American Heritage, the Scottish kilt is increasingly being recognised as an acceptable form of dress at informal parties, as casual wear or everyday attire and returning to its cultural roots. The Scottish kilt has become a required uniform for Scotland’s Tartan Army soccer team and encouraged for the team’s fans. Source

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