Categories
Highlandwear Kilt Scotland tartan

The Scottish Kilt

Who, what, when, where  and why?


When:

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.

Highland chieftain Lord Mungo Murray wearing belted plaid, around 1680.

Nearly 40 years later, through the efforts of the Highland society of London, the “diskilting” act was revoked.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.

David Wilkie‘s 1829 portrait of the kilted King George IV

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. 

What:

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

How:

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.

Who:

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.

Where:

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.

Why:

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 shop@kiltmakers.com.

Categories
Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Made In Scotland Paisley Scotland tartan

About Ken MacDonald – Owner of Houston Kiltmakers

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 and his son Ewan, the 3rd and 4th generation to run Houston Kiltmakers

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!

Houston Kiltmakers through the ages

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.

Categories
Highlandwear Made In Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan Campbell

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.

Clan history

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.

The Argyll region of Scotland and the Campbell Clan Crest

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.

Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll (L) and the Scottish Elephant Polo team in 2005, with Campbell in the centre (R)
Clan tartans

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.

A variety of Campbell tartans

There are variations of the tartan based on different locations around Scotland where certain Campbell’s hailed from. These tartans include: Campbell of Argyll, Campbell of Breadalbane, Campbell of Cawdor, Campbell of Lochawe and Campbell of Loudoun. Each design uses the base colours from the Campbell tartan, but add a thin, coloured line through the design.

Clan crest and motto

The Clan Campbell crest is of a Boar’s head and they have the motto ‘Ne Obliviscaris’, which is Latin for ‘Forget Not‘). Houston’s stock many varieties of Campbell Clan Crested accessories here.

Other Useful links

The Clan Campbell Society of North America (CCSNA) is a great resource to learn more about the Campbell Clan’s history.

Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell.View all the Campbell Tartans stocked by Houston Kiltmakers

Categories
Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan Gordon

This article examines the Gordon Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

Clan History

The name Gordon believed to be of Anglo Norman descent. The first known of the name are said to have saved the King from the attack of a wild boar. This is why many believe a boar’s head features on the family coat of arms.

The earliest record of the name confirms the Gordons settled in the Borders of Scotland during the reigns of William the Lion and Malcolm IV.

Sir Adam de Gordon was one of the commissioners who negotiated with Edward I in order to settle the competition over the crown of Scotland. Sir Adam was a faithful follower of Robert the Bruce and was sent to Rome to ask the Pope to reverse the excommunication, placed upon Bruce after he killed John Comyn.

Coat of Arms and Tartans for Clan Gordon
The Gordon Coat of Arms. Gordon Tartan variations including Red Gordon, Weathered and Dress.

British Army Links

The Gordon Highlanders was a infantry regiment of the British Army that existed for 113 years, from 1881 until 1994 when it was amalgamated with the Queen’s Own Highlanders to form the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons), which was later merged with the Royal Scots Borderers, the Royal Highland Fusiliers , the Black Watch and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Ancient, Modern and Dress Gordon Tartans and Clan Crest
Ancient, Modern and Dress Gordon Tartan Variations. The Gordon Clan Crest with the motto, 'Bydand'.

Clan Crest and Motto

The clan crest for the Gordon Clan is of a stag’s head atop of a crown. This is surrounded with the clan motto, ‘Bydand’, which translates from Gaelic to traditional Scots as ‘Bide and Fecht’, meaning ‘Stay and Fight’. The Gordon Coat of Arms features the head of a boar, thought to be reference to the boar killed by an early Gordon in protection of the King.

Clan Tartans

There are several Gordon tartans, with perhaps the best recognized being the ‘Dress Gordon’ variation. It has transcended the world of highland wear and became a popular tartan in other fashion items.

Useful Links

House of Gordon USA, whose mission is to preserve  and promote our unique heritage and Celtic culture.

You can learn more of the heritage and history of the Clan Gordon at House Of Gordon.com

You can see our full range of Gordon Tartans here!

Categories
Highlandwear How Its Made Kilt Kilts Made In Scotland tartan

Traditonal African Cloth, Made into a Traditional Scottish Kilt!

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?

Categories
Highlandwear Kilt Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan Anderson

This article examines the Anderson Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

Clan History

The Anderson Clan has links stretching back to St. Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland. Anderson literally means ‘Son of Andrew’. The name Anderson was recorded as early as the 13th century. As the name Anderson is so wide spread in Scotland, it is hard to narrow down to a specific area where the Anderson’s originally hailed from. It is generally agreed that the region they most likely call ‘home’ is the traditional district of Badenoch.

Clan Anderson came from Badenoch
Clan Crest for the Anderson Clan and Map of their Origins

Clan Crest and Motto

The Clan Crest of the Anderson Clan is of an Oak Tree and their motto is ‘Stand Sure’. The motto reflects both the Oak Tree and the lasting of the Anderson name – the Oak Tree grows strong and lives for a long time, similar to the Anderson Clan.

Clan Tartan

The Anderson Tartan is a particularly popular design. An elaborate tartan, it incorporates several colours and many thin stripes. Mainly a blue design, it also features green, red, yellow, white and black.

Anderson Clan Tartan
Ancient, Modern and Muted Versions of the Anderson Tartan, the Thread Count and a Digital Image of the Tartan

Other Useful Links

The Anderson Clan Society is a useful place to start if you are looking for more details about the clan.

 You can see the full range of Anderson Tartans that we stock here!

Categories
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!

 

Categories
Highlandwear Kilts Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan MacDonald

This article examines the MacDonald Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

MacDonald Clan Tartan and Map
Clan MacDonald Hail from the Isles. They have many associated Tartans, here we see the Ancient Clan MacDonald Tartan.

Clan History

Clan MacDonald is historically the largest of the Scottish Clans. Their roots can be traced back to the 12th century, with Domhnall mac Raghnaill (Donald, Son of Ranald) often being cited as the first in the clan’s line. They hailed originally froom the Inner Hebrides and Ross.

There are several branches of Clan MacDonald, many with their own Tartans. These branches are established from regions where members of the Clan MacDonald moved to around Scotland. The most noted of these are MacDonald of Sleat, MacDonald of Clanranald, MacDonell of Glengarry and MacDonald of Keppoch – the Tartans of all these branches can be seen on Kiltmakers.com, along with other historical variations.

The Clan MacDonald (Sometimes referred to simply as Clan Donald) are historical known to hail from the Islands around the west coast of Scotland, leading to the Clan Chief being bestowed with the title, Lord of The Isles. (This has since been passed on to the hair apparent of Scotland, meaning currently HRH Prince Charles holds the title.)

Clan Crest and Motto

The Clan Crest of Clan MacDonald is of a hand in an gauntlet holding a cross over a crown. The motto of Clan MacDonald is ‘Per Mare Per Terras’, which translates to ‘By Sea and Land’. Several of the branches of the Clan MacDonald have their own Clan Crest, such as MacDonald of Clanranald. The MacDonald of Clanranald crest shows an arm holding a sword above a castle, with the motto, ‘My Hope is Constant in Thee’.

Clan Crests for the MacDonald Clan
Clan Crest for the Clan MacDonald (L) and Clan MacDonald of Clanranald (R)

We offer a wide range of Highland Wear products, customized with your own Clan Crest. From Sporrans and Kilt Pins to Hip Flasks and Sgian Dubhs, we can customize most items with a Clan Crest.

Rival Clans

The most famous rival Clan to the MacDonalds is the Campbells. This clash can be traced back to the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, where members of Clan Campbell murdered members of the MacDonalds of Glencoe on a cold winters night. 38 MacDonalds were killed by their guests, to whom they were providing traditional warm hospitality. Another 40 members of the clan lost their lives to exposure as they attempted to flee across the snow covered glen.

Massacre of Glencoe

Other Useful Links

MacDonald remains the most common ‘Mac’ name is Scotland, with Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald being part of the Clan.

The Clan Donald Centre on the Isle of Skye is an estate around Armadale Castle where you can learn more of the history of Clan Donald.

Clan Donald USA has several regional divisions across the States where you can meet and associate with others carrying the MacDonald name.

You can learn more about Clan Donald and its heritage on a dedicated site here: Clandonald-Heritage.com.

Categories
Highlandwear Jackets Kilt Kilts Kilts for Sale Made In Scotland Paisley Scotland Shoulder Plaid tartan traditions Wedding Kilts

Shipping Kilts Worldwide! From the USA to Australia – and Everywhere in Between!

Houston’s Kiltmakers prides itself on providing the finest quality Kilt Outfits, crafted with woollen cloth made by the Scottish Mills. This certainly doesn’t mean that our products are exclusively for clients in Scotland – quite the opposite! We ship our products across the world through our international carrier DHL and Interlink Express. Customers living outside the EU can also take advantage of Tax-Free prices!

Houston Traditional Kiltmkaers

Don’t worry if you are Overseas – you can still experience the same high class service we offer all our customers who visit the store. Communication is key when creating your bespoke Kilt outfit, and we take the time to converse with each customer to make sure that the finished Highland Outfit they receive is exactly how they imagined it. You can get in touch by Email, Phone, Skype – or a combination of all three!

If you can’t make it into the store you can still send us the required sizes we need to craft your Kilt Outfit. A local tailor/seamstress can take the sizes we need, or you can use our Self-Measurement Guides and helpful measuring videos to take your own sizes to send to us. Don’t worry, we have many years’ experience working on Highland Wear outfits, so will double check all sizes and let you know if we think any measurement you have sent us seems a little bit off!

Tartan Kilts

Whether your outfit is for a special occasion such as your Wedding day or a Graduation, or perhaps for more casual day-wear at a Celtic Gathering or Highland Games, we’ll give you expert advice at each step of your outfit – making sure you look a million dollars, no matter the event!

Living abroad doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the full Houston’s experience – take a look around the shop with a 3D virtual tour from Google. (Maybe you’ll get the chance to visit and meet the team!)

Scottish Kilts and Sporrans

You can also take a behind the scenes look at our In-Store workshop, where our wonderful seamstress Beth crafts Tartan extras for you Highland Outfit and makes alterations to Kilts. Check out our sneak peek at how Tartan Flashes  and Tartan Shoulder Plaids are made!

——————————

If you’re from Scotland or somewhere else in the world, let Houston Kiltmakers be your No.1 Kilt, Tartan, and Highlandwear specialists!

Categories
Bute Fabrics Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Made In Scotland Scotland Scottish History tartan Weaving

Bute Fabrics Mill Visit – How Tartan is Woven, from Yarn to Cloth!

Recently we took a visit across to the Isle of Bute, the location of the Bute Fabrics Mill. Bute Mill have been supplying Houston’s with Tartan Cloth for Kilts and other Highland Dress Outfits for many years. Bute Fabrics weave all of Houston’s Exclusive Bute Heather Range.  The Isle of Bute is also where Ken MacDonald created the Bute Heather Tartan designs, drawing inspiration from the scenic locations around the island.  This article will give you sneak peek behind the scenes of Bute Fabrics Mill and a look at Tartan being woven!

NOTE: Please click on any photo to enlarge it for easier viewing!

On the Boat to the Isle of Bute and the Bute Mill
(L) The View of Rothesay on the Ferry to the Isle of Bute. (R) The Exterior of Bute Fabrics Mill.

The Isle of Bute

The Isle of Bute is located around 30 miles west of Glasgow, at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde. To visit the island you can take advantage of the regular ferry service from Wemyess Bay to Rothesay, the islands largest settlement. Bute Mills are located on the outskirts of Rothesay.

Rothesay on the Map
The Isle of Bute and the Surrounding Area (Map Via Google Maps) - Click to Enlarge

Bute Fabrics have been weaving on the island since they were established in 1947 by the 5th Marquess of Bute. Aside from weaving Tartan cloth, Bute Fabrics are one of the UK’s most respected and highly acclaimed upholstery fabric manufacturers. In 2014 they received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

The Isle of Bute is also home to popular tourist attractions such as Mount Stuart House – the ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute – and Rothesay Castle, a 13th century castle ruin in the heart of Rothesay.

Rothesay Tourist Attractions, Mount Stuart and Rothesay Castle
Mount Stuart House and Rothesay Castle are just a few of the Attractions on the Isle of Bute

The Weaving Process

Bute Fabrics weave a variety of upholstery fabrics, as well as Tartan Cloth. We followed the process of Tartan cloth being woven – from the initial Yarns all the way to the finished material!

The start of the weaving process begins with collecting the correct shades of yarns that will be used in your Tartan design. Samples are taken from each roll of yarn and are compared to check the consistency of colour, making sure that the required shades for the design match perfectly. (See Image) To the untrained eye these all look the same shade of orange, but an expert eye can identify slight discrepancies with some of the threads!

Yarn Tests and Warping
Yarn Samples Checking Quality of the Colours. The Yarns are then Places on this Rack and Setup for Warping.

The yarn bob’s are then loaded onto a rack which feeds into the warping drum. Warping is the process of creating tension in the yarns lengthwise, before they are fed into the loom. All the colours that will be used in the Tartan design are racked up, ready for warping.

The warping drum spins round, pulling the yarns that will be used in the Tartan. From here they are then passed through the loom to complete the Tartan.

The different yarn colours are carefully placed in order so that the Tartan design will be produced by the loom. The warped yarns are passed through the loom lengthways, while a shuttle moves across the width of the loom, taking yarn and weaving it through the design. (The yarns moving across the width are called the Weft, while the yarns moving length ways are called the Warp).

Weaving of Tartan Yarns
The Yarns are pulled through the Loom, and the Shuttle Weaves Yarns across the design, producing the completed Tartan

 

Below you can see the Loom in action, with the Warp being pulled through on the left video, and combining with the Weft on the right video. The shuttle is is moving across the yarns at such a speed it is hard to make out! (You can see the St. Mirren Tartan being woven here!)

 

 

From here the Tartan cloth is taken from the loom to an area where it is meticulously checked for any imperfections such as broken threads. All the cloth is checked by hand and eye for any irregularities, making sure that you receive the highest quality Tartan cloth!

Checking Cloth and Tartan
Checking for any imperfections in the cloth and the final Tartan Cloth!

The cloth then goes for finishing and any extra coatings are applied. All our Bute Heather Tartans receive a Telfon coating, making our Kilts stain-proof (and beer-proof!), so water just runs off the material.

—————————————–

 We had a great day out on the Isle of Bute and thank Bute Fabrics for our warm welcome! Now you have seen where some of our cloth comes from, why not consider having a Kilt made in the material! Visit us at Kiltmakers.com for more information about Kilt, Highland Dress and Tartan!