Recently a customer came into our shop with material he had collected from his recent trip around Africa. He asked if we could make the traditional cotton African cloth into a traditional Scottish Kilt, and we accepted the task!
(Click on the Images to Enlarge!)
There were a few challenges to overcome to make this African Kilt a reality – the material provided wasn’t in the usual dimensions we use to make a Kilt, so the Kiltmaker had to carefully work out the best way to cut and restitch the cloth back together in an easier to work with shape.
The material was different to what we usually work with. Instead of a heavyweight wool this cloth was a lighter-weight cotton.
The unusual design on the cloth meant that working with it was quite different from Scottish Tartan, but there were still similarities. As you can see from the reverse of the Kilt, the Kiltmakers has still managed to incorporate the pattern of the cloth into the pleats on the rear.
We think that turned out great, a very unique look! What do you think of this different take on the Scottish Kilt?
We spent some time in our In-Store workshop, watching many items being created by our wonderful seamstress Beth. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at a few of the Tartan accessories she has been crafting! This week we take a closer look at the Ruche Tie.
What is a Ruche Tie?
A Ruche Tie is alternative neckwear to the standard tie and bow tie. In terms of looks it is halfway between a standard tie and a cravat. Ruche Ties are wider than a standard necktie with an extravagant knot. They make for the perfect neckwear for your Highland Outfit, providing extra prestige to your formal attire.
Ruche Ties come in both plain colour, or in a tartan to match your Kilt. If you are having a Kilt made, please enquire about having matching neckwear crafted to match. Tartan Ruche Ties are a popular option with Kilt Hires and are available in boys sizes too!
How a Ruche Tie is Made
Our seamstress has been making Ruche Ties for many years, and has perfected her own take on this neckwear.
(Click Photos to Enlarge!)
To start, the material needed is cut from templates. Cloth for the two tie sleeves, neck knot and neck loop are carefully cut out. If tartan is being used, extra care is taken to keep the design symmetrical and to incorporate as much of the tartan pattern into the tie.
From here the cloth templates are stitched to create the shape of the knot, the two tie sleeves (one larger than the other) and the neck loop (like a tube of cloth now).
The edges are then pressed to give them their final shape. The pressing ensures that they keep their shape and there aren’t any unwanted bulges.
The next step is to hand stitch the knot on to the top of the two tie pieces – this holds the whole tie together. The Ruche Tie is starting to take shape! Finally, metal hook are attached to the neck loop, and this in turn is attached to the knot. The tie is complete!
Our Ruche Ties come in both Men’s and Boy’s sizes and can be made in over 130 colours to match your outfit, or in the Tartan of your choice! To find out more please contact us at Houston Kiltmakers!
A Shoulder Plaid can be worn at formal occasions when you are looking to stand out from the crowd. Often the Groom will add one to his Highland Outfit to make himself known on his special day! Plaids are also worn by Piper’s and members of Pipe bands.
What is a Tartan Shoulder Plaid?
A Shoulder Plaid is a piece of cloth draped over the wearers shoulder which can add a flash of grandeur to your Highland Outfit.
The Shoulder Plaid is a modern ‘tip of the hat’ back to the traditional ‘Great Kilt’ and the ‘Féileadh Mòr’. Historically the Great Kilt was a large piece of cloth that wrapped around the whole body and draped over the shoulder of the wearer.
As the modern Kilt was developed, the cloth over the shoulder was lost. A Fly Plaid brings back this traditional look, while providing a more comfortable experience for the wearer.
Tartan Shoulder Plaids are usually made in the matching tartan to the wearers Kilt and most popular with Groom’s to make themselves stand out on their special day!
How a Shoulder Plaid is made
To start the Shoulder Plaid a piece of cloth is cut in a square or rectangle. The size and shape depends on the type of Plaid and how it will be worn.
A Large Rectangle of Cloth Cut for a Tartan Shoulder Plaid to be Made
In this instance the edges of the Shoulder Plaid are fringed. By carefully pulling at the threads with a sharp object the threads are easily pulled around the edges creating a frayed effect. This is done for all four sides in this case.
The cloth is then marked out at one corner that will be stitched to create the part of the Plaid that will sit through the Epaulette when worn. This stitching is added to hold the shape of the Plaid when it is worn.
The finished Shoulder Plaid is given a final press and is ready to be worn!
How a Shoulder Plaid should be Worn
The Shoulder Plaid is easy to wear. The stitched edge should pass through the left shoulder epaulette of the wearers jacket. This end can be fastened to the front of the jacket with a Plaid Brooch or a Simple Pin – making sure that the Brooch only goes through the Jacket, and not the underlying waistcoat or shirt.
Extra Tip: A hidden safety pin can also be used to give the Plaid a better shape by pinning some of the cloth to the back of the jacket, just below the top of the shoulder.
Plaid Brooches come in a variety of styles and designs, much like Kilt Pins. Different finishes are available to match up with the rest of the silverware of your outfit.
The Plaid can serve other functions after wearing. Once photos have been taken wearing the Plaid it can be taken off and used as a table runner, table cover etc. to add a tartan touch to your surroundings.
Houston’s offer a range of Shoulder Plaids to match with Hire outfits and also provide Made to Measure Shoulder Plaids. These can be made in any tartan of your choosing. View our Shoulder Plaids here!
We also stock a wide range of Plaid Brooches, from Clan Crested Brooches to Solid Silver Plaid Brooches.
We spent some time in our In-Store workshop watching many items being created by our wonderful seamstress Beth. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at a few of the Tartan accessories she has been crafting!
What are Tartan Flashes?
Historically, Tartan Flashes (also know as Garter Flashes) were simple ties worn around the upper calf and they served two purposes. Firstly they helped to hold up your Kilt Hose. It has also been said in folklore that they were used to make people aware of your marital status – if your Flashes were showing then you were single and available, while hidden Flashes meant that you were a taken man!
Modern Tartan Flashes add a little flair to your Kilt Socks, as well at securing your Kilt Socks in place, ensuring they don’t slide down your leg.
Flashes are usually either a Solid Colour or a Tartan Matching your Kilt’s design – though can also be made in contrasting tartans, or a tartan of the same family (e.g. Hunting Robertson Flashes with a Red Robertson Kilt.)
Flashes normally consist of two coloured pieces of cloth attached to an elasticated fabric strap, which can be tightened and loosened as needed. Their ends are usually fringed to add a flash of style to your socks but can also be made with V-cut edges!
How it’s Made – Tartan Flashes
To begin creating the Tartan Flashes lengths of Tartan cloth are measured and cut to leave you with 2 strips. Our seamstress Beth always endeavors to capture as many colours from the Tartan as possible in the material that is cut. Trying to incorporate the Tartan pattern in a small, thin strip is challenging, but Beth’s experience means that the results are always great to look at!
These will create the section of the Flashes that are visible while wearing. These strips are then folded in half and stitched closed, creating two tubes. These are then turned inside out to conceal the stitch work, leaving a clean, tidy seam.
From here the tubes are pressed to create the flat recognizable rectangular shapes of the Flashes. To create the fringing the threads are carefully hand pulled out of the open end of the tube. This creates the frayed effect, adding to the overall look of the Flashes.
The last stage is to attach the two tartan cloth strips to the elasticated strap. This will make sure the flashes stay secured to your leg and also they will provide support for your Kilt Hose. These parts are machine stitched together to create a strong bond between the Flashes and Strap, ensuring that they last you for years to come!