At Houston’s, we can take care of every little tartan detail at your wedding. We can provide bespoke, handmade tartan extras for your wedding. Attention to detail is key on your special day, so let Houston’s take care of bringing tartan to your wedding!
Tartan Ring Cushions
These handmade ring cushions add a touch of tartan to your ceremony. They can be made to match the tartan of the groom’s kilt, keeping with the colour scheme of the wedding. Ring Cushions come with either 1 or 2 ribbon ties, with the choice of tartan or silk ribbon.
Ring Cushions can be made in any Tartan!
On request, your Ring Cushion can be embroidered with the Bride and Groom’s initials, love hearts or a range of other messages in a variety of available font styles.
Tartan Ladies Garters
Custom made ladies garters are also available from Houston’s. They can be made in any tartan, matching the tartan of the groom’s kilt, or in the family name of the bride. Ladies garters are a beautiful keep sake for a bride to be on the best day of her life. This can be her something new! All garters come with a white bow with pearl detail and are made to order, ensuring the perfect fit.
Tartan Shoulder Plaid
The perfect accessory to make the groom stand out against the rest of the wedding party – a shoulder plaid, matching the tartan of the groom’s kilt, can add prestige to his highland outfit. More about the shoulder plaid’s origins from the Great Kilt can be read about in our Previous Blog post.
The Plaid can serve many functions after wearing. The groom can wear the plaid for the ceremony and for the photographs after the ceremony. In the evening he can remove the plaid, using it as a table cover under the wedding cake, or on the top table as a table runner. The perfect way to add to the tartan theme of your wedding!
Other Tartan Accessories (Available on Request)
We can create order Tartan extras to order, from Ties, Bow-Ties and Hand Ties to Table Cover, Tablet Computer Cover and more!
Commissioned by Stephen Chalk and his family for his 50th birthday, we designed and weaved this unique custom tartan for a memorable birthday.
Commissioned by Stephen Chalk and his family for his 50th birthday, we designed and weaved this unique custom tartan for a memorable birthday.
This design was one of the most technical tartans Houstons have ever designed, with fire orange and Lurex woven through the weft to match his motorbike! A truly personalised experience.
This tartan, being completely custom, was over a year in the design phase. The tailored experience doesn’t end there, however, as when deciding to make kilts out of this tartan there is an array of options with regards to weights, jacket options and even bespoke tweed jackets! This truly is a stunning tartan and the kilts will turn out great.
If you’re wanting each part of your kilt outfit to be special and unique to you, we offer bespoke jackets from Houston Kiltmakers, established 1909. Ewan and his team are making some of the best kilt outfits in the world.
Totally bespoke we prefer to take six months to a year to make.
We can have an initial design meet and get cloths, linings and embroidery aside and measure you closer to your wedding date.
We will help you every step of the way create a unique wedding outfit
With customized features
So you look your best on your wedding day
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for bespoke one of a kind outfits.
Tell us your preferences in regards to colours, fabrics and patterns in order to find the best tweed to bring all elements of your outfit together. We have standard linings of which the price is included with your the rest of your outfit purchase.
For our £50 linings there are lots of colours to choose from and some really nice tones such as sailor blue; which ties in very nicely with muted tartans woven in the UK. Our £90 luxury linings – some two tones, excellent quality with unique depth. Woven by Dugdale bros Huddersfield. We also have our £160 stunning paisley pattern lining. Featuring some beautiful paisley and two tone paisley that will set your jacket apart from the rest.
Note; you can have your jacket and waistcoat with different linings. Personal touches such as tartan trim , initials, wedding date or address embroidered onto a piece of your tartan inside the jacket are all ways to make it extra special. We will always help you to pick a lining that sets off your outfit thanks to our expert knowledge.
Also known as tartan socks or plaid socks, these hose are all made to order and take 6-10 weeks to make. Traditionally worn to black tie events and evening events with black brogues, or the traditionalist would wear buckle shoes. Made from pure new wool, and always hand made in Scotland.
Some wear Argyll hose with day jackets but best to only wear to formal events, with a black jacket such as Prince Charlie, Montrose, Kenmore or Sheriffmuir.
Castellated tops have turrets on top and date back to the 1600s. They stay up naturally or come with a cord to tie them up with, should you wish to use it. Diced, Argyll and castellated socks are expensive but look and feel a million dollars. They are the best socks you can wear with your kilt and if you match the colors right it will give your outfit a whole new dimension and depth.
When correctly fitted, hose feel fantastic. They require a few different sizes but are pretty easy to measure (see measuring details below).
Remember Hand knitted socks need to be hand-washed only – we have seen a few sets that have gone through a hot wash cycle and there is not much use for them after that…
Argyll socks hose will last a lifetime if you look after them and are hand wash only.
How to measure:
We need your:
Shoe size ( US or UK)
Length of foot
The width all the way around widest point
Round the ankles
Round the calf
Length of leg (Note we will add extra on for the return)
Established in the 17th Century, Kilts (originally called “little wrap” in Gaelic) were the first steps in a separation of the Celts, as prior to this Irish and Scottish Gaels wore similar fashions. During the Jacobite uprising of 1745 there was a “diskilting” act enacted as they were seen as a symbol of rebellion and primitive savagery, the only exception being for those serving in the military. This is perhaps the lifeline of the modern kilt seen today, as historians have argued that Highland costume would not have survived had there not been Highland regiments raised on and dressed in parts of their traditional dress.
Nearly 40 years later, through the efforts of the Highland society of London, the “diskilting” act was revoked. The image of the highlander at this point in time was changing from being seen as other, to an extotic romanticised image which still has an impact in today’s society. This image was also in part response to the industrial revolution; a rejection of the urban and industrial and an embracing of the wild, unpredictable wilderness.
Kilt wearing became national dress after King George IV’s visit to Edinburgh where he walked out on his guests dressed in a kilt, establishing it as national dress for Scotland. This example of a kilt far differs from the traditional Highland wear seen in the previous century.
The tail end of the 20th century is when kilt wearing became more what we are used to seeing today. The connotations the kilt has with masculinity has led to modern designers incorporating elements of the kilt into fashion to suit the young, fashionable male. The punk subculture as well as LGBT+ culture have adapted the kilt due to its associations with traditional masculinity, with more modern takes also allowing for the piece to make more of a statement, whether that be of individuality or questioning the lines between masculinity and femininity.
The Scottish Kilt is traditionally 8 yards ( 7.4 metres ) of pure new wool, and always made in Scotland. There is almost an inconceivable amount of tartans to choose from. Tartans are usually associated with a clan, but can be custom made. Kilts also come in a variety of weights to suit one’s needs or weather conditions: – 16/17oz cloth ( Heavy weight ) is the best weight of authentic Scottish Kilt cloth as it sits and hangs and gives the best swing to the pleats. Contrary to what you may think, it is not any warmer than a 13oz kilt. – For broader gentlemen heavy weight is by far the best cloth to use as it hangs much better over the belly and holds its shape and looks a million dollars! – 13oz Medium weight is adequate if you are under a 44/46″ waist – 19oz to 21oz is regimental weight cloth – only 6 tartans are woven in this weight now – 110z Lightweight
Traditionally the Scottish kilt is fully handmade.The kiltmaker will take half a day to check the cloth, check sizes and prepare the tartan.The kiltmaker will then take around two days to make each kilt, there are around 6000 to 7500 stitches!
22 to 28 deep knife pleats ( Note kilts can be box pleated if you wish ).
And reinforced double stitches surrounding the key areas where typically you face the most wear and tear. Kilts can also be partially machine stitched which are also of high quality.
Houston Kiltmakers provides kilts with 3 buckles and straps so the customer has 1.5″ of adjustment for their optimal comfort. All kilts are cut for growth so that they can be adjusted a few inches in years to come.
Kilts can be made to a normal sett where the pleats at the back are folded to repeat the tartan exactly ( so the front and back of the kilt looks exactly the same) or they can be regimental sett. This is also called sett to the line where the kilt maker will take one of the symmetrical predominant pivot lines and sett each pleat to that line so you just see lines down the back of the kilt and the front and back of the kilt look remarkably different. A normal sett kilt is by far the most popular of the two options.
Kilts usually take 6 to 8 weeks to make provided the cloth is in stock. Kilts can be express made quickly in a few weeks or a few days if required at a premium.
If commissioning a special weave and cloth has to be woven, then kilts can take up to five or 6 months to make. For this reason we always recommend booking at least six months before your function date if you can.
Houston Kiltmakers is a 4th generation family business based in Paisley established in 1909 by William.M Houston. Mr Houston’s Great grandson Ewan William MacDonald is now running the business and is passionate about everything tartan. At Houstons we have kiltmakers with decades of experience.
Houston kiltmakers are one of the few kiltmakers in Scotland who offer bespoke options. Our history spanning over 100 years and being established in the threading town of Paisley means we are particularly skilled and provide a niche in this market. If you are interested in getting a bespoke, authentic Scottish kilt you can come into the shop, contact us by telephone on 0141 889 4879 or email email@example.com.
There is no way of knowing specifically the first tartan ever created, given how long they have existed. However, with certain magical online tools, we are able to at least see more modern renditions, who designed it and when.
A Tartan is a design by which 2 or more colours are set to a pattern and weaved to create an accumulation of lines and boxes. Certain mills may have different coloured threads, meaning it is important that you are aware of the specific colours of yarn.
In the past, tartans were worn mainly by highlanders. During the 18th century when Tartan was associated with government rebellion, it was adopted by lowlanders as a means of making a statement. It began to grow within Scottish culture, with more and more tartans being designed and registered. According to the Scottish Tartan Society (STS), Scottish Tartan Authority (STA) and the Scottish Tartan World Register (STWR) there are 8165 tartans on the register, made up of legacy tartans formerly recorded by such authorities. On top of this, there are over 2400 tartans registered on the Scottish Register of Tartans since its implementation on February 5th, 2009.
Any new tartans created are registered with the Scottish Register of Tartan, where a huge catalogue of tartans can be found and the rights to be woven can be acquired from specific tartan Designers. This is useful if one day you wish for your own special weave or custom tartan to be made.
Ken MacDonald is the 3rd generation to run Houston Kiltmakers and is regarded as a world leading designer Tartans. Among his designs include the ‘American National Tartan’, which was presented to US President George W. Bush in 2004 to commemorate Tartan Day and also the ‘Glasgow Mile’s Better’ Tartan used at the Glasgow Garden Festival, which he personally presented to the British Royal Family.
Ken is passionate about Highlandwear & Tartan, and this has led him to roles as Vice Chairman of The Scottish Tartans Authority and Deacon of the Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow. We discussed with him how he got started in the Highland wear industry and his passion for Tartan.
Tell us about yourself and your journey – how did the shop start, and what has been your role in the industry?
The shop was founded in 1909 by my grandfather William Houston as a gentlemen’s outfitters. Over time it developed to supplying Highlandwear and now that’s what we focus on. Houston Kiltmakers is now a 4th Generation family run business as my son, Ewan, has recently joined us in the shop. Using only the best materials sourced in Scotland where possible, our garments are tailored specifically for the customer by craftsmen & women with many years’ experience. This ensures the finest quality products that will last a lifetime. As we have grown over the years we have expanded and now ship Kilts all over the world!
The store is located in Paisley, Scotland (A town right next to Glasgow), where I was born. From a very young age I received my first Kilt and also wore a Kilt to school. I have always had a passion for Highlandwear and I’ve been lucky enough to have an opportunity to work in this industry. I have been involved in Kilt making and Tartan Design for almost 40 years now.
What does your role with the STA and Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow entail?
Tartan and Kilts are synonymous with Scotland and these traditions must be safeguarded. As a Governor and Vice Chairman of the Scottish Tartan Authority we have been working hard to try to protect and preserve these key pieces of Scottish heritage for future generations. I was honored to take the role of Deacon of the Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow during their 500th anniversary year. This ancient craft has been functioning in Scotland since 1514 and they are continuing their historic work into the 21st century. They still provide assistance to local charities and educational establishments, while maintaining connections throughout the UK weaving industry.
Have you ever designed or provided Tartans for the British Royal Family?
Back in 1988 I was asked to design a tartan for use for the staff uniforms at the Glasgow Garden Festival. The ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan I designed was used for these uniforms, and when HRH Prince Charles came to visit the festival he was presented with two Kilts in the tartan for his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. It was a great privilege to be able to present the Kilts to HRH Prince Charles in person.
Tartan has strong links to the royal family, with King George VI leading the revival of Kilt wearing in Scotland in the 19th century and Queen Victoria had a love for tartan too, her husband Prince Albert designed the Balmoral tartan exclusively for Royal use. It was great to see that the royal interest in tartan is still strong.
Where do you get your inspiration for new design ideas?
I get ideas for new Tartan designs from many places, but I would have to say that a strong inspiration for me is the Isle of Bute. I spend quite a bit of my free time on this small island off the west coast of Scotland at my holiday home there. It is good to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city sometimes to help yourself get creative. I designed our exclusive Bute Heather range of tartans on the island and they really are a strong influence on my work. The scenery on the Island is beautiful and it’s hard to believe that somewhere so peaceful is only a little over an hour away from Glasgow.
This blog post examines the Campbell Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!
The Campbell Clan is one of the largest Scottish Clans and historically one of the most powerful. According to the 2001 census, ‘Campbell’ was the 4th most common surname in Scotland.
It is thought that the Campbell’s originally hailed from the Strathclyde area on the west coast of Scotland, with strong connections to the Argyll region. The clan chief of Clan Campbell has been the Earl of Argyll since 1445, then Duke of Argyll from 1701.
In the 14th Centuary the Campbell’s were strong supporters of Scottish Independence, and fought along side Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314
The Campbell’s are perhaps best known for their part in the infamous Massacre at Glencoe, where troops (including several Campbell’s) lead by Robert Campbell of Glenlyon murdered members of the MacDonald Clan in Glencoe on 13th February 1692.
During the two Jacobite uprisings in the 18th centuary, the Campbell’s sided with the British government and fought against the Jacobite armies. The Campbell’s had four divisions of men at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last battle of the uprising which crushed the rebellion.
Today, the Clan Chief of the Clan Campbell is Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, who captained Scotland’s Elephant Polo team to victory in the 2004 and 2005 World Elephant Polo Association World Championships. Inveraray Castle has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 17th century.
The Campbell Tartan is predominantly green and blue, intersected with a black check. The tartan may look quite familiar to many, as it also goes under the name ‘Black Watch‘ – the tartan used extensively in the UK military.
The roots of Highland Wear comes from the Scottish clan system – clan tartans are a great example of showing the contrasting styles of the clans. Each clan, along with their own specific tartans, also have their own clan crest and coat of arms. At Houston’s we can provide the option to customise many items with your own clan crest to make each item special to you and link to the connection with a family name. Great as personalised touches to your kilt outfit
With origins in the clan system of Scotland, a Scottish crest badge is a heraldic badge worn to show allegiance to an individual or membership in a specific Scottish clan.
Clan Crest accessories can be customized with 120+ different family crests – the perfect personalized gift for a loved one, a friend or wear them yourself! From clan Anderson to Wallace, any many names in-between, choose your family’s clan crest for your accessories!
Wall plaques, Cufflinks and tankards are also available with a family crest, which make great gifts!
All our clan crested accessories are made in Scotland by our trusted supplier. As there is a wide range of crests available in some rare occasions it could take up to 6 weeks for your accessory to be delivered as they will have to be made if they are out of stock at the time of order.
Houston’s crested product range includes Sporrans, Kilt Pin’s, Belt Buckles, Sgian Dubh’s and much more. You can see our full range here!