As September draws to a close we are sharing some of our Highlights from the busy summer we have had as well as a message from our very busy Social Media Manager.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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 means you don’t have to worry about spills!
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.
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.
Upgrade to a full Kilt Packs, starting from £620 or £517 tax free. On all kilt packs over £600 you get a FREE shirt and tie value £60
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!
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)
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!
Houstons offer the largest and best range of kilt outfits for hire in the Scotland, with over 110 tartans, 20 styles of super lightweight jackets, three different button options and over 100 ruched tie colours
Hires start from £75 and range to £145 depending on the rarity of the tartan selected, your jacket style and the finish of your accessories.
Best to download our comprehensive 84 page Hire Brochure to view our exclusive range.
You can see our new range of tartans and price ranges in our latest Hire Leaflet.
Our Hire site can be found at KiltsForHire.com where you can see all Hire tartans, information and videos.
Book 5 Hires and the 6th for groom goes FREE on 20 of our top tartans, 20 Styles of Jackets, 140 colours of Ruche Cravats and our Exceptional high quality service! Learn more HERE!
To make your wedding day extra special we take care of every little detail. We offer tartan ring cushions, hand ties, ladies garters, ribbon, ties, trim for dresses, handbags and button holes designed to match with your kilt design. Find our range of extras HERE, these can be made in ANY tartan on request.
We work closely with Joyce Young Collections who co-ordinate brides, mothers, bridesmaids’ and guest’s dresses with our tartans. She also has a factory outlet store open Saturdays in Glasgow, with up to 75% off.
Hire & Buy Offer
If you would like to buy a kilt in ANY TARTAN (over 14,000!) you can 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.
Best to pop in to our store if you can to get measured. Your whole party does not need to get measured at the same time, they can come when available, they just need to mention the party name or groom’s name. If you can’t make it into the shop then you can use our easy to use Self-Measurement guide for HIRING a Kilt Outfit.
We ship in the UK using Interlink Express and Worldwide using DHL.
An interview with Mr Robert Keys
Mr Robert Keys, born in Uddingston, is a volunteer guide for Glasgow Cathedral which he does through The Society of Friends of Glasgow Cathedral. He heard of this unique volunteering opportunity by chance through an article in a paper.
Robert began this volunteer work in his retirement, before this he was in food and wine & spirit sales, and also briefly selling men’s clothes. His formative experience of kilts and highland wear was as a young teen in a pipe band. As he entered the working world he would attend licenced functions with his co-workers and dawned a kilt for these occasions.
Since his piping days, Robert has grown fond of highland dress and now owns 6 kilts! And he even has customisations for his outfits, such as a kilt made with only one buckle on either side for when he wears his Prince Charles jacket.
Mr Keys views kilts as an investment and spoke proudly of how his wife chose the tartan for the kilt he came in to our store wearing, the Isle of Skye tartan. His favourite tartan is the Davidson Tartan, which is the catchment tartan for his surname.
Robert presents himself well wherever he may be going, and thus generally prefers to wear highland dress formally. His exception is adding a Jacobite shirt to make things a bit more casual.
Robert has also played a small part at tartan design, being involved in the process with Uddingston rugby club when they commissioned a cloth for their centenary dinner.
Throughout his life, Mr Keys has taken his kilts with him on his travels. He brings his kilts to rugby games or pipe band gigs, as well as corporate events. His kilts have seen places such as Canada, Italy, Greece and France.
Robert is not always all kilts and tartan. He enjoys Scottish music artists such as Barbara Dixon, Field Marshall Montgomery, Annie Lennox and Annie Ross. His favourite piping band are the Inveraray & District Pipe Band, who he has followed since their days as a juvenile band.
Roberts choice of 3 Scottish dinner guests, past or present, would be Robert Burns, Ricky Fulton and William Barkley. Some dinner party!
The world has changed significantly in a short space of time. Our technological advancement’s within the past decade or so have led to the internet becoming a world-wide platform. This not only affected things like fashions that the kids were following, but also evoked a lot of social and political revolution.
Tartan, in one way or another, has always been associated with revolution. In the 18th century, the Jacobite’s wore it as a sign of allegiance to the Stuarts; in the 1970’s, punks “ripped up tartan shirts and adapted kilts as an anti-establishment message”. Japanese school girls have also adapted a style known as Kogal, in which they wear loose socks, microskirts (often featuring tartan), as well as having dyed hair. In modern times, the tartan rebellion is associated more often with ideas of gender non-conformity, individuality and freedom of expression.
In the world of fashion, those who are well established and respected are the ones who push the boundaries of what is acceptable, and if we the public take to it, it becomes a trend. Glasgow born Charles Jeffrey, who has been worn by artists such as Harry Styles and Tilda Swinton, is said to have taken influence from the punk subculture with regards to his designs, and is regarded on a similar level to Alexander McQueen. Designers Chopova Lowena are known for tearing up traditional textiles only to re-stich them in a new and unique way. They have dual British-Bulgarian heritage and their aim is to “Usher in a system of ethical consumption with a focus on appreciating skill, craft, time and consideration for impact on the environment”.
So, subcultures such as the punks have created an alternate association for the kilt and tartan; leading to clothes that were once heavily gendered becoming available for anyone wishing to express themselves, whether that’s stylistically or personally. The kilt has been significant in modern fashion expression due in part to its gender-fluidity. Times have changed and at Houston’s we will dress you to look your best, no matter what you’ll be wearing.
A Kilt made by Houston’s, if cared for correctly, can last a lifetime. As your body changes over time there can be a need for alterations to be made to your Kilt to keep it fitting you perfectly. Houston’s owner Ken has had one of his Kilts for 30 years, having had 4 alterations to it over the years to keep it looking its best.
We offer a wide variety of alteration and repair services for your Kilt to make sure that through its life it still fits you perfectly.
Our in-house seamstress has over 30 years experience and with her skilled eye can identify solutions that can be made to keep you in your Kilt! Best to bring your Kilt into the shop where we can take a look at what alterations can be made.
Kilt Alteration Services:
- Kilt Waist Alterations – Often Kilts made have some extra material left that can be let out if your waist size increases. Alternatively Kilt can be taken in if you lose weight and your Kilt struggles to stay up. When buying a Kilt from us, we ask if you wish the Kilt to be cut for growth – this means we will leave some extra cloth hidden in the seam, leaving you with more options to let the Kilt out at a later date.
- Moving Kilt Adjustment Buckles – The buckles attached to your Kilt can be moved either out or in, giving more of less room. This can give your Kilt a better fit if your weight changes. Our seamstress takes great care in making sure that the tartan cloth attached to the buckle blends in as best as possible to where the buckle is moved too.
- Worn Kilt Strap Replacement – Over time, your leather waist straps can experience general wear and tear after years of tightening and loosening and may need replacing. Replacing tired looking straps means that ever detail of your Kilt is looking great.
- Adding Kilt Extension Straps – Extra long straps can replace standard Kilt waist straps, allowing for a larger fit if needed. This involves
- Kilt Lining Replacement – Worn waist kilt linings can be removed and replaced with new material. The lining of a Kilt is there to protect the Kilt from general wear and tear, so may need replacing over time.
- Kilt Shortening – A Hem can be added to your Kilt if it is too long. This can be let down at a later date if required.
- Complete Kilt Remake – We can take apart your Kilt and reassemble it from scratch. This is quite an extreme solution and we recommend it as a last resort.
- Jacket Alterations – Many fine tuning alterations can be completed on a Jacket, from sleeve & shoulder adjustments to, Back & Side Seam alterations. More about Jacket Alterations can be read here
These alterations are available on a kilt by kilt basis – best to bring in your Kilt so we can take a look and see what solutions are available to us. Pricing is subject to the work done and quote available on request.
Get in touch with us with your query and we will be able to best advise what we can do to get you looking your best in your Highland Outfit!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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!