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Kilt Buying Guide – 3 Simple Steps to Buying a Kilt

Buying a Kilt can seem like a complicated process, but it is really quite straight forward. This guide will take you through the process step-by-step.

About our Kilts

All our Kilts are Made in Scotland. Our Kilts can be cut for growth so through time if you lose or gain weight your Kilt can be altered accordingly, ensuring your Kilt lasts a lifetime.

All our Houston’s Own 16oz Heavyweight ranges K23b & K24 are Teflon Coated to Stain-Proof your Kilt from spillages, even Beer!

Time Scale and Price

Generally it takes 4 to 8 weeks to make kilt if the cloth is in stock, however we do offer an express service for delivery in 2 weeks at an additional cost of £50.

We recommend you start the process as soon as possible – if the cloth is out of stock at the mill it can take up to 4 to 6 months before it is rewoven.

The cost of a Kilt depends on your chosen Tartan, its rarity and your Kilt finish. Buying a full outfit as a Kilt Pack gives you an overall discount of 10%. Kilts start from £288 (£240 Tax-Free), and Kilt Packs from £620 (£517 Tax-Free).

Current Offers

Step 1 – Choosing Your Tartan

On our website, Kiltmakers.com you can browse through EVERY TARTAN, clan histories and clan crests using our Tartan Finder. Search through Sept names and Tartans anyone can wear!

The most common method of choosing a tartan is to pick one with links to your family name. For instance, if your surname is ‘MacDonald’, you could start by searching for all the ‘MacDonald’ tartans, and picking the design you like the most.

While you are searching you may notice that you find several variation of a tartan, such as Ancient, Modern, Hunting, Dress or Weathered. These colour variations are explained here. The

In cases where a name does not have a direct match for a clan tartan, they might have a Sept match. Septs are surnames that, while not having their own clan, are associated with a clan. For example, instances of the name Reid can be associated with clan Robertson. Members of the Reid family should therefore wear Robertson tartan. Our Tartan Finder will bring up Sept matches to names, making it easy to find the tartan for you.

Along with clan tartans, there is a wide range of regional and district tartans. Example include tartans for each Irish County, American National Tartan, German Heritage, Irish National, Cornish National and so on. Even if your name doesn’t link with a tartan, a regional tartan could be a fine choice.

There is a wide range of ‘Fashion’ tartans, which can be worn by anyone. These are usually modern designs, though there are some blends of more traditional colour palettes. Houston’s exclusive Bute Heather range is an example of these tartans.

If you can’t find the perfect tartan from the selection available, why not have your own custom tartan specially woven? Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald is a renowned tartan designer and we can take you right though the process from designing the tartan to having it registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans and woven for you.

Step 2 – Choosing your Cloth Weight and Mille

Now that you have selected your tartan design, Kilts come as standard in 8 yards (7.4m). Tartan fabric tends to come in 3 weights: Light (11oz), Medium (13oz) and Heavy (16/17oz). For a Kilt we recommend a 16 oz Heavyweight cloth as the pleats sit and swings better, making you look a million dollars.

A Heavyweight cloth is NOT any warmer than a medium or light weight kilt – it is the weight of the jacket which builds up the heat.

You will notice the ‘Stain-Proofed’ tag on many of our tartans – these tartans have a special Teflon Coating which

We are the only kilt shop to stock a 100% Fine Wool Super Lightweight. The custom cut of the jacket has been perfected over 20 years to give the best fit and each jacket has a stain proof coating.

Step 3 – Selecting your Kilt Finish

Kilt Finishes Explained - Explained

At Houston’s we offer a selection of different Kilt finish across a range of prices. Our range of Kilt finishes are explained in more detail here: Kilt Finishes Explained

We recommend Kilt Finish No. 6 – Super Machine Understitched Kilt. It is made to the  same quality that we make Kilts for the MOD (Ministry of Defense) and all army kilts we make.

Additional Information

Upgrade to a full Kilt Packs, starting from £620 or £517 tax free:  Kilt Packs Guide. On all kilt packs over £600 you get a FREE shirt and tie value £60

Can’t make it to the shop? Our Self-Measurement guides and Videos on taking measurements will help you to get the perfect sizes.

We ship in the UK using Interlink Express and Worldwide using DHL. All orders are fully insured and tracked. Orders out with the EU receive TAX-FREE prices!


Hire & Buy Option

Why not take advantage of our Hire & Buy scheme, where you can buy a Kilt in ANY TARTAN and receive a loan of all the accessories for one week absolutely free!

Ideal if you have an upcoming event and would like to build up your Kilt outfit through time! (UK Only) More details on Hire & Buy HERE.

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We can post out FREE Tartan Swatches/Samples in the UK. Samples overseas require £5 p/p charge, which is refundable upon completing your order.

If you need any help with selecting your tartan, wish to make an order or anything other queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Made In Scotland Special Weave Tartans tartan Wedding Kilts

Teflon Coated Kilts – Stainproof and Beerproof!

Houston Kiltmakers were the first to Teflon Coat/Stain-proof all of our own range Tartans. Since then many of the Tartan mills have followed suit and offer a Stain-proof coating on their Kilts. We provide this Teflon Coating on all our Own Range Tartans and on a range of Tartans from Selected Mills at no extra cost.

A Teflon Coating, applied to the cloth in the finishing process when the tartan is woven, creates a protective layer around your finished Kilt. This allows for rain and stains (even beer!) to simply run off or be easily wiped off your Kilt.

Over the life of your Kilt, we calculate that this simply protection will save you approximately £180 to £260 on dry cleaning as the garment will need cleaned less often. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleanings.

Look out for the ‘Stain Proofed Coating’ banner on the Tartans in our Tartan Finder to see which of our cloths come with a Teflon Coating – Free of Charge!

Stain-Proofed Tartan
Look out for the Stain Proofed Coating Labels in our Tartan Finder!

Teflon Coating is available on a wide range of stock Tartans, and also on Special Weave Tartans. If you are unsure if the Tartan your looking for has a Teflon Coating – just get in touch and we will let you know!

 

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Made in Scotland – Tartan Kilts and Highland Wear by Houston Traditional Kiltmakers

At Houston’s we take great pride in our Kilts and Highland Wear, endeavoring to provide our clients with the highest quality produce. We strongly support the Scottish Manufacturing of Traditional Highlandwear and look to source products locally where possible – Made in Scotland!

Our Kilts

All our Kilts are Made to Measure, Made in Scotland and Made to Last! We use several local Kiltmakers, all with many years’ experience in crafting Handmade Kilts. Most of our Kiltmakers are based around the Paisley area (on the Central Belt of Scotland) and work from home. Kilt Making was traditionally a cottage industry, and that is still the case today!

Scottish Traditional Kilt

Locally Sourced Tartan Cloth

We source the cloth for our Kilts, Tartan Trews, Waistcoats, Tartan Suits and any other Tartan Accessories from Scottish Mills.* We work with all the remaining Tartan Mills in Scotland to provide any Tartan design our client requests and also have the ability to Specially Weave custom Tartan Designs. We feel that it is important to support this Traditional Scottish industry which has been well-established for many generations. As Vice-Chairman of the Scottish Tartans Authority (STA), Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald continues to work towards protecting Scottish Tartans and the production of this fabric in Scotland for future generations.

Isle of Bute Tartan Mill
Scottish Mills provide Houston's with Tartan Cloth. Photos show Bute Fabrics on the Isle of Bute.

Scottish Highland Outfit Accessories

For our Highland Wear Accessories – Sporrans, Silverware, Kilt Pins, Sgian Dubhs and and other items that complete a Highland Outfit – we look to local suppliers. Bespoke, Clan Crested items are made to order and add a special touch to any outfit!

Houston’s also has an in-store workshop where our Seamstress, Beth, works to craft custom Tartan Accessories for clients – ranging from Shoulder Plaids, Ring Cushions and Ties to Ladies Garters, Tartan Flashes and anything else you can think of!

Sporran and Tartan Flashes Made in Scotland

Houston’s Traditional Scottish Outfits are the Real McCoy – Made in Scotland! We are a 4th Generation family run business, working out of the same store on Paisley’s High Street since 1909 and more than happy to help deliver your perfect Highland Outfit!

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If you have an enquiries, please contact the shop, click here for all the details and online contact form!

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*A small, select range of Tartans are woven in England. Welsh Tartans are woven in Wales. We don’t use any Tartan Fabric from outwith the UK.

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History Special Weave Tartans tartan traditions Weddings

How to Choose a Tartan

When picking the Tartan for your Scottish Highland Kilt Outfit it can be quite a daunting task as there are over 14,000 Tartans to choose from. In this guide we make it easy for you to find the perfect Tartan for your Kilt – don’t worry if your family name doesn’t have a linking pattern, there is a Tartan for Everyone!

Tartans for Scottish Kilts

Where to start!

Choosing a Scottish Tartan For Your Kilt
How to Choose a Tartan for your Kilt - There is a Tartan for Everyone!

1. The first place to start when looking for a Tartan is with your family name. Simply type your name into our Tartan Finder and see all your matching tartans! Often you will find that your own name is not part of a clan which has a Tartan, if this is the case don’t worry! There are still many routes to go down to find your perfect Tartan!

2. You can search for Tartans relating to other family names (Mothers Maiden name, Grand Parents names, Uncles and Aunties names etc.) to give you a choice of tartans. Just type the name into our Tartan Finder!

3. Sometimes it is the case that you will find that your surname will not have a Clan Tartan of its own, but will be linked to a ‘Sept’. Sept’s are surnames that, while not having their own clan, are associated with another clan. For example, instances of the name Reid can be associated with clan Robertson. Members of the Reid family should therefore wear Robertson tartan. When you use our tartan finder it will bring up any relevant Sept matches and link to the tartans.

4. If you tartan search has no clan tartan or Sept matches, don’t worry! There are many regional, national and County tartans that you could find a link with! For Irish names there are tartans for each Irish County, as well as an Irish National Tartan that can be worn by anyone with a link to Ireland. Tartans such as the American National Tartan and German National Tartan are other examples of national tartans with connections to those countries. There is a range of ‘Tartans for Everyone‘, generic designs in a variety of colours that are free to wear. You can also design your own tartan, or have it designed by Houston’s Owner, Ken MacDonald!

Popular Trends and Styles

As with any item of clothing, fashions change over time and different style come into vogue. In recent times there has been a surge in the demand for Grey and Purple Tartans. (You can see a range of Purple Tartans here, and Grey Tartans here) Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald has designed a range of tartans incorporating a colour palette that matches today’s trends. The Bute Heather Tartan range offers a wide variety of grey and purple tartans, each with a flash of colour running through the design.

Autumn Bute, Ancient Bute and Grey Bute Kilts
Grey Bute, Ancient Bute and Autumn Bute Heater Kilts, Tartan Designed by Ken MacDonald

Grey tartans are known for their ability to match with any style or colour of jacket, making them ideal for both formal and casual wear. With a subtle flash of colour through a grey tartan it can create a sophisticated look to your Highland Outfit.

Royal Links

Royal Balmoral Tartan
Royal Balmoral Tartan, Designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria

Grey Tartans have Royal links going back to the reign of Queen Victoria, when her husband Prince Albert turned his hand to Tartan Design. Queen Victoria loved Scotland, regularly visiting her stately home at Balmoral.

The Royal Balmoral Tartan was designed by Prince Albert in 1853, to be worn by the Queen and members of the Royal Family, with permission from the Queen. This Royal Tartans only other approved wearer was the Queen’s personal Piper.

Grey Tartans have often been linked with Royalty for this reason.

We hope this guide helps you to find a Tartan that you love. Remember, there are no Tartan Police, and anyone has the right to wear any Tartan!

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Céilidh Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History Special Weave Tartans tartan traditions Wedding Kilts Weddings

Special Weave Tartans – Custom Tartans for Kilts

At Houstons Kiltmakers we provide the service of Custom, Specially Woven Tartans for clients. These can be tartans that are not stocked by any Mills or tartans that are not readily available from other sources. Houston’s take you through the whole process from Designing and Registering your Tartan to having it Woven and made into a Bespoke Kilt.

Why a Special Weave Tartan?

There are several reasons why you might choose to have a Tartan specially woven:

Perhaps your family name doesn’t have a link to any Clan Tartan and you want to design a Tartan for your family name, or a Private/Corporate tartan.

Ken MacDonald's Tartan Design
A Collection of a few of the Custom Tartans Houston's has Designed for Previous Clients

You might want to recreate a Historical Tartan with custom thread colours or a unique sett.

Custom Weave Stevenson Grey and Original

Or maybe you just want to have your own Tartan designs woven to be made into a special item.

A popular choice is to combine your own family tartan with your Bride’s family tartan, creating a brand new tartan design to commemorate your special day!

For any need, Houstons are more than happy to accommodate any requests for your new tartan.

Tartan Design Options

There are several options to choose from when considering designing your own Tartan.

Our Owner, Ken MacDonald, is an experienced Tartan designer, having created prestigious Tartans ‘American National Tartan’ which was presented to George W. Bush in 2004 and the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan which was made into a pair of Kilts and presented to Prince Charles for Prince William and Prince Harry.

Other designs include the exclusive Bute Heather Range, 10 tartans inspired by Ken’s time visiting the Isle of Bute.

Ken is more than happy to take the ideas you have for a tartan (colour schemes, Setts etc.) and create a personalised tartan with an extra ‘wow’ factor. Ken will tweak his designs until you are completely satisfied with the tartan before it goes for weaving. Often Ken will create a handful of designs from your recommendations, providing CAD images of the Tartans, allowing you to choose your favored design.

You can also try your hand at designing a Tartan – helpful tools such as the STA’s Croft Weaver online application or Houstons MyTartan Apple iPhone/iPad App are good places to start with the creation of your Tartan.

Ken's Bute Heather Tartan Range
Some of the Bute Heather Tartans, Designed by Ken MacDonald

We can take you through the full process, from designing your Tartan, to registering it with the Scottish Register of Tartan, who record new Tartan designs in line with the Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008.

Tartan Finish Options

Tartan can be woven in a range of weights and materials – we weave in 11oz, 13oz and 16oz (16oz recommended for Kilts). You can also choose your fabric from All Wool, a Wool Mix or Poly-Viscose. We recommend All Wool for a Kilt.

 

Stain-Proofing a Kilt with Teflon Coating Protects Against Spills

Houston’s offer the exclusive service of Teflon coating tartans/kilts to make them stain resistant. This service can only be done at the time of ordering the Kilt. The Teflon coating ensures your kilt it rain, stain and even beers proof! We calculate that over the lifespan of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260 on not having to have your kilt dry cleaned as often.

Time Scale for Custom Tartans

The time it takes for the whole process of designing your tartan to having it made into a bespoke kilt can vary from around 3 to 6 months, so it is best to plan ahead and start the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Express services are available, at additional cost, which can reduce the time of delivery of your Kilt.

Costs of a Special Weave Kilt

The cost of a special weave kilt depends on the tartan design and the kilt finish chosen. Prices start from £790, (£660 Tax-Free) (From $1,220 ($1,020 Tax-Free)), customers out with the EU can take advantage of our Tax-Free prices!

The minimum length of tartan to be woven is one bolt length (around 11m Single Width), which means after a Kilt has been made from the cloth there is often off-cuts which can be made into other accessories (tartan flashes, tartan ties etc.). At Single Width (approx. 27 inches wide) it is around £80 per metre (11m provides enough material for a 8 yard Kilt and extra material for accessories such as tartan ties, flashes, ring cushions etc.) and Double Width cloth (approx. 54 inches wide) is around £90 per metre (11m provides enough material for approx. three 8 yard Kilts and material left over for accessories.)

Special Weave Drummond Grey Tartan and the Drummond of Perth Tartan

Further Information

For a quote, please contact Houston Kiltmakers direct via email at shop@kiltmakers.com or call us on +44 141 889 4879, outing the specifics of the bespoke kilt you wish to have made. You can also learn more about Tartan Design here.