The Art of Kiltmaking



Elsie started her kiltmaking in Glasgow in 1949 with Thomas Gordon’s and that lifetime of experience and skill has been distilled in this ‘kilt bible’ with her talented collaborator Barb Tewskbury, who’s also a piper AND a Professor of Geology! Profusley illustrated by Barb who has translated into simple drawings the kiltmaking wisdeom that she and Elsie have honed over the decades. A must for any aspiring newcomer to the craft!

The Art of Kiltmaking is designed to teach you how to make a properly made traditional kilt. With these well-illustrated, step-by-step instructions, anyone can be confident of making a kilt that will look beautiful, fit perfectly, and last a lifetime – all at a fraction of the cost of a custom-made kilt. All you need is tartan, the book, and some patience and attention to detail.

“Of all the books that I have read, The Art of Kiltmaking is one of the best. You have filled it with incredible detail, easy-to-follow instructions, and enough wit to keep people reading. As a University professor who has read many a book, I give yours an A+.”

-Tuck M., International Management Institute, Brussels, Belgium


Barb Tewksbury wrote and illustrated The Art of Kiltmaking after learning traditional kiltmaking from her co-author, Elsie Stuehmeyer.

Over the past 20 years, Barb has made hundreds of custom-made kilts, squeezing time for kiltmaking into the spaces of her career as a full-time Professor of Geology at Hamilton College. As a geologist, she travels to lots of interesting places, but she rarely goes without a kilt or two to work on and has stitched kilts in places as far-flung as Iceland, Egypt, and South Africa.

If you are interested in inquiring about having her make a custom-made kilt for you, please contact her via our contact page.

Barb and Matt Newsome (formerly curator of the Scottish Tartans Museum) collaborated on a supplement to The Art of Kiltmaking that provides additional instructions for making a traditional box pleated kilt. You can download a free pdf of the supplement here.


The Art of Kiltmaking is now in its third printing. This printing differs from previous ones in having a standard paperback binding and in having the eight original color plates printed in black and white. You can download a free pdf of the original color plates. The third printing also includes a 2019 update on sources of tartan and supplies for kiltmaking, but, in all other respects, the book is the same as the second printing.

The following fine vendors carry The Art of Kiltmaking
In the US:The Celtic CroftorScottish Tartans Museum
In Canada:Tartantown
In the UK:Scottish Tartans Authority
In Europe: Kilts ‘n More Europe
Amazon:The Art of Kiltmaking

*Please Note: The third printing is the one that is clearly labelled Paperback on Amazon and sells for $19.95. Several third party vendors are selling copies of the first and second printings (labelled Spiral bound on Amazon) at much higher prices.

Ordering Directly from Me
I can ship a book directly to you with payment via a PayPal invoice. Just send me a message using my Contact page.

Making a Traditional Box Pleated Kilt
You can find instructions for making a box pleated kilt in a free pdf supplement that Barb co-authored with Matthew Newsome, former curator of the Scottish Tartans Museum.

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