A well-fitting custom kilt is certainly the dream of almost any bulkhead dancer, and unfortunately, it requires a well-stocked wallet and (ideally) a visit to Scotland to make that dream come true. Good kilts are custom-made and contain over seven feet of high-quality wool fabric, and unfortunately that costs – at 400 euros or so it starts slowly.
As a consolation: “Man” receives a hard-wearing, durable and extremely elegant piece of clothing for his money, with which he can go as much as a hike in the Highlands as he does to an opera ball. And from which leg dress could one say otherwise?
In Germany 511 kilts are making is a rather rare art; Scotland shops sometimes offer the service to send an order to Scotland, and in the orbit of the Middle Ages outfitters one or two kilt cutters are said to have been seen.
During Pilawas trip around the world in the ARD in July 2009 was pointed to Carlo Jösch, Couturier in Cologne, who also dedicated himself to kilt-tailoring with a certificate of the Kiltmaker Association.
Meanwhile, Scottish kilt-makers are also making their services available over the Internet (such as the Celtic Craft Center in Edinburgh or Geoffrey (Tailor) Highland Crafts, one of the giants of the business) but it is best to go personally into the hands of professionals who make no mistakes when measuring.
And the hours of digging in various cloth pattern books is of course also one of the highlights of a Scotland vacation. (If you prefer to go to Badeshi instead of Scotland, you can also visit Kilts & More, our favourite shop in Scotland, where the owner will gladly measure a kilt – and the pattern books are just like in the “Promised Land” …
Whereby we would be on the topic »fabric patterns«. According to popular opinion, every Scottish clan has its own check pattern (called “tartan”), which only members of the respective extended family are allowed to wear.
As non-Scots, we are therefore stupid because plain kilts do not make as much as checkered and are not really real. Luckily, the idea of the “clan tartans” is historical nonsense, and especially as a foreigner you can choose exactly the substance that you like (and can finance).
Clan and tartan stress has, according to experience, at the most made some Americans of Scottish descent who must have everything at least one hundred and twenty per cent correct (in their opinion).
The Scots are usually happy only about the beautiful pattern. – However, as a dancer one should perhaps distance oneself from overly conspicuous candy-coloured copies until one’s own step technique etc. are so advanced that one likes to attract a lot of attention on the dance floor.
(The author of these lines still shudders at the thought that he does not hesitate to produce himself as a near-beginner on some courses and balls in a borrowed bright red “Royal Stewart” kilt … brr.)
In Scotland you can also find super-cheap kilts for the use of tourists and stadium-goers, often in idiosyncratic decors à la “olive with Fleck tarnung” or “blue with St. Andrew’s Cross”.
Of course, such kilts can be worn for fun, but they are not really representative, and the difference is obvious even to the less experienced eye.
In the shop you can recognize the inferior quality at the hem at the bottom edge; good kilts are not lined, but the selvedge of the fabric forms the lower edge.
(With ahem, it’s virtually impossible to get the wrinkles right, and without anything, the fabric rubs up.)
If it does not necessarily have to be the expensive new wool, maybe it will do a mixed or artificial fabric. Members of our group have had very good experiences with the low-cost kilts of Heritage of Scotland ; There are complete outfits with kilt made of viscose or polyester including Sporran and accessories from £ 125 – of course you have to make some sacrifices in terms of quality, but Sporran, belts, stockings, etc. can be worn later with a better kilt.
By the way, another Scottish kilt distributor is another source of sensible kilts for those on a tight budget. Kilts are being singled out there that are no longer 100% perfect (but generally good for their own use) and sold at relatively low prices. And otherwise, there is also eBay…
In general, it can be said that at Kilts you get what you pay for. Good material and solid craftsmanship have their price, and while the one is satisfied with the “VW Golf” among the kilts, which is already to have for 100 euros, it must perhaps be a “Mercedes” for the other. Fortunately, the offer is wide enough that everyone will find something.