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  • admin 3:51 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Heritage, information, , , Kiltmakers, , , , , , ,   

    The Scottish Kilt 

    Scottish  Kilt


    The Scottish Kilt is traditionally 8 yards ( 7.4 metres ) of pure new wool.

    Always made in Scotland.
    There are literally thousands of tartans to choose from. We will go into tartan in another post
    The weight of cloth is important to think about.
    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. It is not any warmer than a 13oz kilt.
    For Larger guys heavy weight is by far the best cloth to use as it hangs much better over the belly and holds shape and looks a million dollars!
    13oz Medium weight is acceptable if you are under a 44/46″ waist
    19oz to 21oz is regimental weight cloth – only 6 tartans are woven in this weight now
    Traditionally the Scottish kilt is 100% hand made.
    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 )
    All reinforced double stitched round the key areas where you get the most wear and tear.
    Houston’s make kilts with 3 buckles and straps so the customer has 1.5″ of adjustment either way
    All kilts are cut for growth so that they can be adjusted a few inches in years to come.
    Kilts can be made to normal sett where the pleats at the back are folded to repeat the tartan exactly ( so front and back of kilt looks exactly the same) or they can be regimental sett also called sett to the line where the kiltmaker 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 looks totally different.. Note 90% of customers go with a normal sett kilt.
    Kilts normally take 6 to 8 weeks to make as long as the cloth is in stock. Kilts can be expressed quickly in a few weeks or a few days if required at a little extra
    If cloth has to be woven then kilts can take up to five or 6 months to make. That is why 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 .   At Houstons we have kiltmakers with decades of experience.
    If you are interested in getting a bespoke Authentic Scottish kilt you can come into the shop any time we are open

    or email shop@kiltmakers.com or if you are wanting to talk to one of the best then email

     
  • admin 2:10 pm on October 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Day, , Horse Hair, , Kiltmakers, , , Semi Dress, , , Traditional   

    Sporrans – How to Wear Correctly and What are Sporrans for? 

    Traditional Leather Pouch Sporrans

    Leather Sporrans in Old Traditional Styles, Note the Pouch like Shapes

    Sporrans come in many different styles and designs, varied for every occasion. This weeks post will cover a history of the Sporran, why it is worn, the different types of Sporrans and look at the range that Houston Kiltmakers stock, from Plain Leather Day Sporrans to Clan Crested Specialist Dress Sporrans.

    History of the Sporran

    The word Sporran is the Scottish Gaelic word for purse. Most Kilts did not (and still don’t) have pockets cut into the material. This left the wearer with no place to store small items they were carrying – this could have been money, lead musket shot in times of war or perhaps even small quantities of food. The Sporran became a handy pouch that could be worn with a Kilt to give the wearer somewhere to store these items. In modern times these pouches store items such as mobile phones, wallets – even a small hip flask can be concealed inside!

    Types of Sporrans

    Traditional Sporrans were usually no more than a simple leather pouch. Modern Sporrans come in many different varieties. There are 3 main Sporran Types: Day, Dress and Semi-Dress.

    Day Sporrans most resemble traditional Sporrans and are used at less formal event (the name suggests it is for day to day wear). They are often made of all leather with no metal cantle.

    Clan Crest Engraved on Leather Day Sporran

    A Leather Day Sporran with a Clan Crest Engraved

    Dress Sporrans are the most formal style of Sporrans, worn at events such as Weddings and other events where you will be looking your best. Usually made in a wide range of Animal Furs, Dress Sporrans usually can be customized with different cantle style and a choice of a Shiny or Antique finish.

    Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle in Light Racoon Fur

    A Light Brown Racoon Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle

    Semi-Dress Sporrans combine elements from both the Dress and Day Sporrans, often animal fur for the body and leather for the Sporran flap. These are sporrans that can be worn for all occasions when you want to look that little bit sharp. Think of it as a smart but casual sporran!

    Black Rabbit Sporran, Semi Dress with Clan Crest

    A Clan Crested Black Rabbit Semi Dress Sporran

    In addition to these variations of Sporrans there are also Specialist Sporrans, which come in many styles and can often be customized with different cantles, clan crests etc. Horse Hair Sporrans are most commonly associated with Pipe Bands and have long strands of horse hair hanging down from the front.

    Pipers Horse Hair Sporran

    A Horse Hair Sporran, typically worn by a Piper

    How to wear your Sporran Correctly

    The Sporran, after the Kilt, is one of the most important pieces of your Highland Outfit, so making sure that it is worn correctly is vital. You should be able to draw a straight line down the front of your outfit and your waistcoat buttons, tie, sporran, buckle and Kilt centre line. (See Picture Below) The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner, the Sporran can be moved to the side in this case to prevent damaging the ladies dress.

    Sporran should be approx. 3 finger widths below Belt Buckle

    Your Kilt Outfit should all be Worn Inline, with the Sporran Hanging Approx. 3 Finger Widths Below

    The top of the sporran should hang down approximately 4 or 5 inches from the top of the Kilt – around 3 finger widths below the top of the Belt Buckle (See Above).

     

    Follow this link to see the full range of Houston’s Sporrans, many of which can be customized with different Cantles, Furs and some can be engraved with Clan Crests!

     

     

     
    • Iain McDade 1:47 pm on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is a really informative article. I didn’t even know you could get horse hair sporrans, very unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear one of these before.

    • Brian Neilson 8:51 pm on October 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Easily understood and to the point.
      Aye yours,
      Laird O’the Cowcaddens.

    • 5supplies Limited 11:06 am on July 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great blog!

  • admin 9:49 am on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , groomswear, , , , Kiltmakers, , scotiand, , , , , , , ,   

    Kilt Hire for Weddings Overseas 

    Houston Kiltmakers have the largest and best range for of Kilts for hire in the West of Scotland, with over 130 tartans, 20 styles of super lightweight jackets with three different button options and over 120 ruche tie colour. We also Hire Kilts overseas for special occasions.

    (Click on the Photos to Enlarge!)

    Many of our customers come to us with the problem,

    ”We are getting married in England/Europe/Overseas, but we still want to have the Wedding party kitted out in Kilts, can you help?’

    The answer is Yes!
    Houston Kiltmakers provide hires all over the world for Wedding parties and can ship full kilt hires ready for your big day abroad! Don’t worry if the full party can’t get into the shop to get measured, we have a handy Self-Measurement form that lets you know all the sizes we need and how to get the correct measurements. Once you have these sizes simply send them to us by phone or email and our experienced expert team will check and double check everything matches up!

    We have some flexibility on the Length of Hires and return dates if you are taking them abroad, so relax and enjoy your special day!

    Another question we are often asked is,

    ‘Our Wedding is going to be in a warm place with the sun shining, what weight of Kilt would you recommend as the coolest, and what about the jacket?’

    In a Kilt outfit the heat is generated by the Jacket, not the weight of a Kilt. We would always recommend 16oz Heavyweight Kilts. These are not any warmer than 11oz or 13oz Kilts and the weight helps them to sit and swing better, making you look your best for your big day!

    As it is the Jacket that generates the heat, all our Jackets are Super Lightweight and have been custom designed over many years to create the best fit. They are made from high quality lightweight Barathea wool, meaning they are the coolest jackets around! We are the only Hire company in Scotland that provides these Super Lightweight jackets and as you will be wearing the jacket for most of the day, you’ll want the Jacket that will keep you the coolest!

    Houston’s have spent 20 years getting the cut and block of our jackets just right so they sit perfectly on the wearer. Our jackets are also Stain-Proof (and Beer-Proof!), increasing the lifespan of them dramatically!

    And remember, we love to see photos from your Wedding with our Kilts on show, so if you want to email us or post on our Facebook page some snaps from your special day we’d love to have a look! You can check out pictures past customers have sent us here!

     
    • Deborah hill 4:16 pm on July 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi. Do you supply the kilts to the kilt shop that is in Cyprus?

      • admin 12:13 pm on August 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Deborah, I don’t believe we supply Kilts to the Kilt shop in Cyprus.

    • Matthew Anderson 8:14 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hi there, my name is Matt Anderson, Me and my parter are getting married in Spain next year. I was wondering if we would be able to to hire A Anderson suit for my father the weeding. We live in New Zealand. Would we be able to get them sent to and address in Spain and sent them back? would this be possible? please if you could let me know asap please.

      Thanks, Matt.

  • admin 7:14 pm on November 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Irish, Irish tartan, , Kiltmakers, , ,   

    Choosing an Authentic Scottish Tartan 

    The first step in choosing your Highland wear outfit is to choose your tartan. Here at Houston’s we can inform you of the correct tartan for your crest or family name. You can also find tartans, crest histories and video clips explaining everything you need to know as well as a 60 page buy brochure with kilt packs, accessories, order details & measurements, with questions and answers on-line at our Web Site: http://www.kiltmakers.com Scotland has many district, town and clan tartans as well as National tartans for example the Scottish National, Flower of Scotland, Braveheart, Spirit of Scotland, Scotland the Brave, Isle of Skye, Millennium tartan, Monarch of the Glen, Spirit of Bannockburn and our own designs, ‘St Mirren’ ‘Scottish Heather’ and ‘Bute Heather’ collection, Irish Districts, Irish National, Irish Blood, Welsh National, Cornish National, Canadian and some American, like New York and American National designed by Houstons. The beauty of these tartans is that anyone can wear them with pride. Most Scottish clans have their own tartan, if not you will find that they are affiliated to a clan which does.

     

    THE “RIGHT” TO WEAR A TARTAN

     

    “Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right , in any legal sense , exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste”

    Quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton

    So the answer to the question “what tartan am I entitled to wear? Is — “any tartan you fancy”

    To make life easy to pick a tartan at Houston’s we have over 100 tartan books , the only kilt shop in the world where you can see every commercial produced tartan, and have the facility to weave any tartan if a stitch count exists from our records… We have collated over 600 tartans any one can wear in 8 swatch books in colour bunch to make viewing tartans a lot easier for our customers. At Houston Traditional Kiltmakers we get customers visiting our shop from all parts of Scotland, the U.K., Europe and the rest of the world. Our professional staff will advise on tartans you can wear from a choice of around 14,000 different tartans.

    If its nae Scottish, its nae good!

    If you are considering buying a highland outfit, no matter what you choose the most important thing is to make sure you are buying authentic Scottish products! The highland wear industry has suffered with the increase of cheap imported goods from overseas. Highland wear is significant in Scotland and those who wear it often speak of how wearing a kilt evokes feelings of pride and Scottish Patriotism. Wearing a kilt makes you feel quintessentially Scottish and this is emphasised by the authenticity of having a kilt made in Scotland by a traditional kilt maker. Wearing a kilt makes you look and feel a million dollars. You can spend as much or as little as you wish on a bespoke kilt pack depending on your budget, but whatever amount you decide to spend, spend it on the real MacCoy! A kilt is a man’s old faithful friend; most men will own only one in their life. It will last you a lifetime, and can be passed down through the generations as an heir loom. A kilt is truly a garment that will last you a life time, but remember… if it’s nae Scottish, it’s NAE GOOD!

     

     
  • admin 2:37 pm on June 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: app, , , cloth, , kilt weights, Kiltmakers, loom, my tartan, , Scottish tartans authority, septs, special, , , , , , weave, Weavers,   

    Special Weave Tartans 

    Houstons can provide special weave tartans not readily available to the market. If you are having trouble finding your desired tartan we can assist and source it for you through the Scottish Tartans Authority. Further to this we can have a tartan designed specifically for you by owner of Houstons, Ken MacDonald to alternatively you can design a tartan yourself using our exclusive ‘My Tartan’ design app available to download for free from the Apple App store. They are woven in 16oz heavy weight, 13oz medium weight, 11oz light weight or even silk fabric. You will also be given the option have your tartan Teflon coated which makes it stain proof and even beer proof! If you wish to have a kilt made in one of these tartans you will need to contact us direct. Special Weave tartans will take considerably longer to make as firstly, the tartan must be sourced if it is a design that is not usually available. Alternatively, if you have chosen to design your own tartan to be made this will also be a lengthy experience as you will need to converse with the tartan design regarding your chosen design. Once you have finalised your unique tartan design there will be a number of stages to have the cloth woven, finished and made into your bespoke kilt!

    The time scale for creating a special weave tartan and having it made into a bespoke kilt can be anything from 3 to 6 months. Therefore, if you are looking to have your tartan woven for a specific date we advise you get in touch as far in advance as possible! An express service will be made available to you for an additional cost. With this service your kilt will be delivered in 2 to 3 months.

    The cost of a special weave tartan varies depending on the chosen design and the kilt finish. Prices range from £300 to £2000. For a quote please contact Houston Kiltmakers direct via email shop@kiltmakers.com or call us on +44 141 889 4879 outlining the specifics of the bespoke kilt you wish to have made

    You have countless options when creating your own tartan. You can have a clan tartan made with your own specific choice of colours to coordinate with a wedding colour scheme. Or you can combine your own family tartan with your bride’s family tartan and create a brand new design to commemorate your special day using our My Tartan app! If you wish to have a design created by Ken MacDonald we can create an ECAD image which is a digital image of what your chosen tartan will look like. Therefore if you are unhappy with the design we can make any necessary changes to achieve your desired design. To find out more about tartans and special weaves read on!

    THE “RIGHT” TO WEAR A TARTAN

     “Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right , in any legal sense , exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste”

    Quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton

    So the answer to the question “what tartan am I entitled to wear? Is: “any tartan you fancy”

    To make life easy to pick a tartan at Houston’s we have over 100 tartan books , the only kilt shop in the world where you can see every commercial produced tartan, and have the facility to weave any tartan if a stitch count exists from our records… We have collated over 600 tartans any one can wear in 8 swatch books in colour bunch to make viewing tartans a lot easier for our customers. At Houston Traditional Kiltmakers we get customers visiting our shop from all parts of Scotland, the U.K., Europe and the rest of the world. Our professional staff will advise on tartans you can wear from a choice of around 14,000 different tartans.

    Clans & Septs

    MacDonald ancient

     Clans

    Clan is the Gaelic word for family and originally clans only belonged to the Highlands.

    The clan system is closely bound up with Scottish heraldry. The best definition of a clan provided by a heraldic authority is contained in Nisbet’s “System of Heraldry”, published in 1722: ‘A social group consisting of an aggregate of distinct erected families actually descended, or accepting themselves as descendants of a common ancestor, and which has been received by the Sovereign through its Supreme Officer of Honour, the Lord Lyon, as an honourable community whereof all of the members on establishing right to, or receiving fresh grants of, personal hereditary nobility will be awarded arms as determinate or indeterminate cadets both as may be of the chief family of the clan.’

    A clan is therefore a community which is both distinguished by heraldry and recognised by the Sovereign. At the head of this honourable community is the chief. He is the only person entitled to display the undifferenced shield of Arms, i.e. without any marks of dependency upon any other noble house.

    Chiefship is a title of honour and dignity within the nobility of Scotland. Any claimant to such a title must establish, to the satisfaction of the Lord Lyon representing the Sovereign, that he or she is entitled to the undifferenced arms of the community over which they seek to preside. It is the determining of chiefship which is among the Lyon Court’s central work.

    Many of the cases which have come before the Lyon Court in the last 50 years have related to the chiefships of clans. There are now about 140 clans that have chiefs recognized by the Lord Lyon.

    A clan or family that has a recognized chief or head confers noble status on the clan or family which gives it a legally recognized status and a corporate identity. A family or name group which has no recognized chief has no official position under the law of Scotland. If you have a name of one of the 140 Clans you can wear any of the tartans under that clan’s name. MacDonald for example has 23 different tartans under the one name.

    Sept Tartans

    The surname Vance has no clan tartan but is a sept of the Galloway District. (Galloway District Modern Red pictured above)

    In Scotland, a sept is often a family that is absorbed into a larger Scottish clan for mutual benefit. For example, the Burns family sept was absorbed into the Clan Campbell. The Burns family being very small and of questionable heritage gained legitimacy and protection and the Campbell clan absorbed a potential rival for British affection in Scotland. Each Scottish clan typically has a number of septs, each with its own surname. Septs have rights to wear clan tartans although they often have tartans of their own. You can do a search on http://www.kiltmakers.com to find out if you family name is affiliated to any other clan.

    Irish Septs

    Irish National Tartan

    In Ireland, the word sept is used to refer to a group of people with both a common surname and common origin. In recent times, Irish septs are sometimes called clans, although Ireland does not have a clan system similar to that of Scotland. Related Irish septs belong to larger groups, sometimes called tribes, such as the Dál gCais, Uí Néill, Uí Fiachrach, and Uí Maine.

    Tartans Anyone Can Wear

    Houston’s Own Bute Heather Collection

    If you do not have a family or clan tartan to wear you can choose from a vast range of tartans that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartans such as Scottish National and American national. Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above is Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. As well as being in vogue, grey tartans are also very prestigious and have been worn by prominent figures in Scottish history. John Brown was the personal servant of Queen Victoria in Scotland during her reign. A very famous portrait painted of Brown was painted of him wearing a grey Balmoral kilt.  Further to this, the ‘Clan Originaux’ pattern book confirms the genealogy of a grey tartan known as Stewart Mourning. This particular tartan was created after the death of King Albert and worn by Queen Victoria. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

    Tartan

    What tartan can I wear?

    Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion.

    Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners.

    Weaving Looms

    A special weave tartan is very rare and at Houstons we make sure that we use only the finest craftsmen and equipment to create your one of a kind piece. We have a friend who has a single and double width loom reserved solely for the use of Houston Kiltmakers. It takes one full day to weave a special weave tartan. Using a traditional loom to produce Scottish tartans only adds to the authenticity of your bespoke piece. Choosing to have your kilt stain proofed will also help to preserve your kilt for many years so it may be passed on through the generations in your family as an heir loom is you so wish.

    Preparing the Wool

    When preparing the wool for your kilt we begin with your chosen colours. All wool used for making kilts comes from sheep in New Zealand and Australia. Once the sheep are sheered the wool clipped is washed clean and sent to the yarn dyers to be spun and dyed.

     

    Warping, Weaving and Finishing

    Once the yarn is dyed it is sent onto the weaver. The weaver then adds all colour wools to the drum for warping. Yarns are wound on by colour. The yarn is then fed through a weaving machine to be woven.

     

    Once the tartan is woven it is cut off and sent to the finishers to be washed, checked and if requested Teflon coated, to be fully finished.

    Houston’s own Straad Bute Tartan

     The tartan is then sent back to the mill for a final inspection and then sent on to one of our kilt makers.

    Types of Tartan

     Modern

    Modern tartans are woven in rich, dark colours. The colours are always stronger and can be worn with navy blue or black jackets.

      Ancient

    Ancient tartans are woven in soft, lighter colours. Ancient tartans can be worn with black or a range of tweed jackets.

     Weathered or Muted

    Weathered or muted tartans are woven in faded and muted colours. This gives the tartan an older appearance. In olden days, these tartans were coloured by natural pigment dyes.

     Hunting

    Hunting tartan tends to be woven in darker colours, more commonly in green for a camouflage effect.

     Dress Tartan

    Dress tartans are basically any of the above tartans woven with lots of white through the design. Dress tartans are generally worn by women.

     Kilt Weights

    Kilts come in several weights of cloth. The 11oz cloth is very light weight and more suitable for ladies skirts, gents trousers, waistcoats, children’s kilts and some professional dancing kilts. For gent’s kilts, we recommend anything from 13oz medium weight to 16oz heavy weight cloth this being the real “Rolls Royce” of kilts. All of our kilts are 8 yards, traditionally handmade in pure wool. The heavy weight 16oz kilt cloth sits, swings and looks a million dollars, compared to a 13oz medium weight kilt, and it is NOT any warmer. It is the weight of the jacket which makes the heat difference. All of our Houston’s jackets are super light weight and stain-proofed.

    19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

    16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

    13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans

    11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

    8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

    Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

    Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

    Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts. It is also used for school uniforms and corporate wear.

    Poly Viscose is a washable and stained proof fabric generally used for school uniforms, children’s highland wear and corporate wear.

    Teflon Coating

    Houston’s also have an exclusive service of Teflon coating tartans/kilts to make them stain resistant, this service can only be done at time of ordering the kilt on all our own Cloths. All kilts are individually hand tailored to your own specification in a range of 6 different available kilt finishes from handmade kilts through to machine-finished kilts.

    Teflon coating ensures your kilt is rain, stain and even beer proof! The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches.

    We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

    FURTHER HELP AND INFO

    Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage.

    For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at http://www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

     
  • admin 2:40 pm on May 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: customer, , , , , Kiltmakers, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed! 

    Nowadays the internet allows us to buy almost anything from anywhere in the world. With that much choice it’s hard to know where to go or even, where to start! Many people now look to customer reviews to highlight which companies are the most reliable and sell the best quality products.

    As a retailer customer satisfaction is paramount, nothing means more to us than seeing a happy customer! Sometimes words on a screen just aren’t enough to convince you of a company’s quality. At Houston’s we can assure you our products are authentic and made in Scotland. We use only the best quality and have the greatest wealth of knowledge to help guide you. We have helpful and friendly staff working in our family run business which has been flourishing now for over 100 years… but like I said, sometimes words on a screen aren’t enough. That is why we are including photos!

    Our customers often send photos of themselves in their highland wear from Houston’s so we thought we would share these with you. If your considering buying or hiring highland wear from Houston’s we are certain you will have a positive experience with us! See the smile’s on our customers faces if you don’t believe us!

    Houston's Modern Bute Heather Tartan

     

    Above is Antonio Vezza in a Houston’s Own Modern Bute Heather Tartan. Antonio took part in the 2013 Hampden Kilt Walk! Hundreds of participants took part in the 26 mile trek from Hampden to Loch Lomond to raise money for a range of Scottish Children’s Charities! Antonio remembered only at the very last minute he had forgotten to hire a kilt for the event! Not to worry Houston’s were on hand to help with a last minute hire!

     

    Isn’t this a great photo of our customer Steve Baird and his wife? They donned their highland wear for a cultural diversity day at the school they work at in Houston, Texas!

     

    Our customer Albert Davy from Austria purchased kilt packs for himself and his sons from Houston’s and sent on photos taken on 25th December at a photographic studio in his village and on 31st December at the New Year’s Eve Ball in The Vienna Imperial Castle. Some guests there believed Albert to be the Scottish Ambassador as his outfit was worn to perfection! Albert said “We had so much fun an received a lot of honours when I said “I’m a semi-Scotsman” telling the story of my ancients in Dumbarton”.

    So don’t take our word for it, take our customers, word for it! After ‘the customer is always right’, right?

     
  • admin 1:29 pm on April 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , kilt walk, kilt walk 2013, Kiltmakers,   

    Houston’s to the rescue! 

    Houston's Own Modern Bute Heather Tartan

     

    The Kilt Walk is a wonderful Scottish Charity which supports various Scottish children’s charities including Yorkhill Children’s Hospital and CLIC Sargent. The Kilt Walk charity is rapidly progressing with sponsored walks taking place all over Scotland. All funds raised are divided between 6 core partner charities. Donations are made to other children’s charities when a group nominate which organisation they wish their sponsorship monies to be granted too.

    The walks take place in three length options in 26 miles, 13 miles and a 10K to suit all participants. Hundreds of people took part in the most recent Hampden kilt walk on 21st April 2013 and naturally in our line of business we though it was a delight to see such a large crowd in their kilts and the prospect of them all gathering in order to raise money for sick and disadvantaged kids was just the icing on the cake!

    Now, as you can imagine one of the most prominent features in the kilt walk is of course, the kilt! So when one of the participants Antonio Vezza FORGOT to hire a kilt the initial reaction was SHOCK! HORROR! …Enter Houston Kiltmaker’s! Not only had Antonio forgot to hire but he was out the country for the week before the event. However; help was at hand! Thanks to Tony’s trusty work colleagues and a helping hand from Houston’s (and the wonders of modern technology) we were able to collect all his measurements while he was in Spain and arranged to have his kilt collected for him ready to wear for the kilt walk!

     

    Houston's Own Modern Bute Heather Tartan

     

    Tony was delighted with his kilt and could not get over the perfect fit considering we didn’t fit him personally in store… what can we say? we’re good! Tony sent on his personal thanks to Houston’s and was good enough to send on picture of him in his kilt. His colleagues all commented on the beautiful tartan and excellent quality, it seems Tony turned a few heads in his Houston’s Own Modern Bute Heather Tartan!

    We were happy to help. Houston’s have an extensive hire stock which is available to hire as late as the day of your event; although we always advise you book as far in advance as possible to get exactly what you are looking for.

    Houston’s would like to wish a hardy well done to all who participated in the kilt walk!

    For any kilt hire or buy inquiries please call +441418894879 or email us on shop@kiltmakers.com

     

     
  • admin 12:59 pm on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ettiquette, , , , , , , , , , Kiltmakers, kiltpins, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Houston Kiltmakers Official Kilt Ettiquette Guide 2013 © 

    KILT ETIQUETTE GUIDE

    Midnight Bute Tartan

    Kilts can be a tricky business, especially if you have never worn Highland wear before! There are various styles of Highland wear which can be worn for dress, day or casual wear. To make sure you get everything just right read our kilt ettiquette guide for information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it.

    Who is entitled to wear a kilt?

    Ancient Bute Heather Tartan

     

    One question we constantly get asked is: who is entitled to wear a kilt? Is it only for Scots or people with Scottish ancestors?

    Answer: Anybody can wear a kilt!

    Almost every country in the world has got some sort of tartan link. In England you have Cornish, Northumberland and Manx (Isle of Man) tartans. The Irish tartans consist of county tartans such as Ulster, Co. Mayo, Galway and Kildare and the Irish national tartan. We also have lots of Welsh tartans.

    Over the past 400 years Scots have travelled the world reaching every corner of the globe. They have fulfilled a rich diversity of trades and professions including traders, missionaries, engineers, doctors, teachers, naturalists and inventors to name only a few. Within Europe many French, Spanish, Italian and German families have Celtic roots and are often of Scottish decent; whilst further afield there is a strong Scottish connection within America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. We export to every country in the world from the United States to the Falkland Isles.

     

    Tartan

    What Tartan can I wear?

    Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion. Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners. Nowadays people tend to choose tartan for its aesthetic value, a family or clan connection; or to coordinate with wedding colours.

     

    Modern Bute HeatherMidnight Bute Tartan

     

    If you do not have family or clan tartan to choose from you can choose a tartan that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartan such as Scottish National or American National. Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right, in any legal sense, exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste (quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton). Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above are examples of Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

     

    Weight of Tartans

    19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

    16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

    13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans.

    11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

    8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

    Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

    Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

    Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts.

     

    Teflon Coating

    Stain Proof

     

    At Houston’s we were the first to Teflon coat/stain proof all our tartans, which makes our kilts and jackets fully protected from rain and stains. The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches. We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

     

    Samples and Swatches

    If you would like a sample or swatch of tartan we offer these free of charge to customers. If you live locally there will be no charge for postage. If you live overseas there will be a charge of £5.00 GBP for postage as we ship thousands overseas. If you proceed to order from Houston’s this amount will be deducted from your final cost. We would also suggest that if a colour has already been chosen for the theme of a wedding e.g. if the colour pink has been chosen for the bridesmaids dresses it is helpful to bring a sample of the fabric into the store when inquiring about hiring or buying for the event. This allows Houston’s to show you the best coordinating tartans and furthermore, give you the option to have ties made to coordinate with your chosen colours.

     

    The Reputable Mills

    At Houston’s we tailor our kilts from pure wool tartans woven by Scotland’s top quality, reputable mills. We have all mass produced tartans by Lochcarron, House of Edgar, Strathmore, Bute Mill, Martin Mills, Batley & Dalgleish in 250 swatch book forms available to view in store.

     

    Kilt Yardage

    The traditional 8 yard kilt is the standard measure of gents’ kilts. The kilt sits high on the waist, a couple of inches above the hip bone. This would be worn for formal occasions, and it is recommended that the 8 yard kilt be woven in a 17oz heavy weight fabric as this sits and swings better when worn. Some men’s kilts are still woven in 6 yards of cloth however 8 yards is the standard measurement for gents. 6 yard kilts are now more commonly made for women’s kilts.

    Jackets

    Prince Charlie Jacket

     

    Prince Charlie jackets are worn to dress occasion such as black tie dinners, balls, graduations and weddings. It is traditionally worn with a 3 button waistcoat with a black bow tie and a white standard or wing collar pleat front shirt. Alternatively it can be worn with a plain black or white front shirt, with double cuff and cufflinks.

    The Prince Charlie jacket traditionally comes with shiny buttons and the silver wear to match however; antique buttons and silver wear have of late become more popular.

    The jacket is more popularly worn with a spread bat wing shirt or a standard collar, plain front shirt in white or black with a plain or tartan ruche cravat. It can be worn with either a 3 or a 5 button waistcoat however; we recommend a 3 button waistcoat with tartan ruches. Prince Charlie jackets must be worn with dress sporrans and black or off white kilt hose or tartan hose. We strongly recommend you wear a belt and buckle as if you take your waist coast and jacket off for dancing you will not be properly dressed without a belt and buckle. Therefore we offer this as an option. A ruche tie should NOT be worn with a small wing collar shirt as the wings are too small. Please Note: We do have some dark navy jackets with shiny buttons that look best with modern, dark, navy tartans to be worn with navy or off white kilt hose.

    ARGYLL OR BRAEMARS

    Braemar Jacket

     

    The Argyll or Braemar are general jackets for any occasion, with shiny, antique or black button options. They are suitable for weddings, dinners, balls, graduations, christenings, burns suppers, highland games, ceildhies, garden parties, funerals and general day wear. Both can be worn with a plain tie or tartan tie (with or without a waist coat) or for evening wear with a bow tie (with or without a waist coat). With a ruche cravat a five button waist coat must be worn.

    Argyll or Braemar can be worn with a black or white plain front shirt with a double cuff and cufflinks, with ruches or long ties. Bow ties must be worn with a pleat, front wing or standard collar shirt depending on the occasion. Ruche cravats worn with plain, standard or spread wing shirts must be worn with a waistcoat. Dress or semi dress sporrans can be worn or alternatively for a day event a leather sporran can be worn. Either black, off white, tartan or coordinating colour hose should be worn with your outfit.

    TWEED BRAEMAR

    Tweed Braemar

     

     

    These jackets are for day/casual events, weddings, highland games, funerals, etc. Jackets should be worn with plain, tweed or tartan ties or ruche cravats, with optional five button waistcoat. For some weddings spread bat wing shirts can be worn with a ruche cravat. We recommend you wear a semi dress, day or dress sporran depending on your shirt and tie option. When choosing your hose you must pick a colour similar to that of your jacket for example you may choose grey or black if your shirt and sporran are black. Off white hose must NEVER be worn with a tweed jacket.

    SHERRIFMUIRS, REGULATION doublets, MONTROSE, KENMORE doublets

    Sherriffmuir

     

    These should be worn for the same occasions as Prince Charlie jackets and a jabot shirt and cuffs, or a tunic granddad collar shirt or alternatively a spread bat wing and ruche cravat.

    JACOBITE

    Jacobite

     

    Jacobite jackets and waistcoats can only be worn with Jacobite shirts. These are considered to be casual outfits.

    SPORRANS

    Sporrans

    For general dress occasions a semi dress or dress sporran should be worn for day wear either a day or semi dress sporran. Your sporran should always be centered on the front of the kilt. The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner. The sporran should then be worn to the side upon the hip so not to damage a ladies dress.

    SGIAN DUBH

    Sgian Dubh

     

     

    Sgian dubhs are to be placed in outside of right sock, showing only one inch of the sgian dubh. When entering company, raise the sgian dubh to about two inches above the top of the sock. This is to show that you are still partly armed when everyone sees you. There after you should once again conceal your sgian dubh so only one inch is visible.

    HOSE

    Kilt Hose

     

    When choosing hose you are best to select a colour that complements and coordinates with the tartan or jacket. Traditional colours are off white, black or navy. Grey should be worn with a grey tweed jacket.

    GARTER FLASHES

    Garter Flashes

    Garter flashes are used to keep your socks up. However; in olden days showing your tie or flash symbolised a single status letting ladies know you were available. Flashes that were tucked away were symbolic of married men and men who were courting.

    PLAIDS

    Shoulder Plaids

     

    Shoulder plaids can be worn with dress jackets for weddings. They can be worn for photos then removed and put on top of the top table or cake table for decoration. Piper plaids must only be worn with Montrose or piper doublets.

    DRESS CODE

    Midnight Bute Tartan

    Suggested dress code by De Bretts should be included on the bottom of invitations, as both ladies and gentleman will want to dress in accordance with your suggested dress code. This will often be dependent on the wedding venue. It should be noted on the invitation if you wish ladies to wear a hat. Below is a description of men’s dress.

    Highlandwear: either; day, day/tweed, dress, black tie/evening wear or white tie.

    OR

    Morning Wear: We suggest not mixing morning wear with highland wear. Therefore; if you wear morning wear you should incorporate a tartan tie, ruche or hanky to pull together your outfit and coordinate it with the other guests wearing highland wear.

    OR

    Lounge Suits

    OR

    Black Tie, is either Highland Wear or Black Evening Suits

    OR

    Smart Casual

    BEST MAN DUTIES

    Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Duties also include organizing the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc.

    FURTHER HELP AND INFO

    Ken and Ewan MacDonald

    Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage. For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at http://www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

     
    • Ian Guthrie 5:58 pm on June 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I intend to attend an informal outdoor event in summer wearing a kilt and ghillie shirt. I am bald and on doctors advice I should wear a hat. The question is – what type of hat?

  • admin 2:25 pm on January 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Kiltmakers,   

    Hiring vs Buying… Making an informed decision! 

    Bute Heather Tartan Kilt Collection

    Bute Heather Tartan Kilts

    There’s always an occasion to wear a kilt to. We have Burn’s Supper in January and then for the old romantics maybe a Valentine’s Day Wedding in February. Christenings, funerals, parties, through to May when Communion ceremonies start and then wedding season begins! Whether it’s your own event or that of friends or family there are sure to be many events to keep your social calender full at the weekends right through to the festive period and Hogmanay, then your back to January getting your kilt ready for Burn’s Supper again!

    A kilt is a garment that last a lifetime and one that will never go out of fashion. However; with so many choices of tartan the fashion concious customers may opt to hire for each individual event and try a new tartan every time! Other may choose to buy their family tartan or a couple may decide to merge their clan tartans to create a new family tartan and have it specially woven for their wedding. It can be hard to decide whether to hire or buy but here is a quick breakdown to help you make an informed decision.

    Hiring

    As previously mentioned hiring may be ideal for the fashion concious kilt wearer. You can pick a different tartan each time you hire. This can often be a good option if you are one of the grooms men and need your kilt to coordinate with the bridesmaids dresses. If the grooms men plan to hire for a wedding always remember to ask your kilt maker if they provide a group hire option as this can be very cost effective! Houston’s offer a group hire option where if 5 men hire kilt outfits the groom will get his for free!

    With a choice of 130 tartans Houston’s is the place to go as most hire shops have a choice of between 6 an 16.

    Always ask how much you need to pay and whether or not it is refundable due to cancellation, you never know what might happen and you don’t want it to cost you!

    Make sure your hire outfit includes everything you will need, you don’t want to discover on your wedding day that you are minus one shirt!

    Buying

    Often men will hire as buying a full kilt pack can be very costly. However; Houston’s are one of the few who provide a hire and buy option where if you buy your kilt we will provide the rest of the outfit for hire free of charge. We also have a kilt sale on and are offering 20% off made to measure kilts until the 28th February 2013 so there is no better time to buy! Using this option you can build up your kilt pack over time.

    If you choose to buy a kilt it truly is a garment that will last a lifetime. So, many will choose their family tartan for its sentimental value. This made to measure garment can be cut for growth so it can be let out if you lose weight or alternatively it can be let out if you gain. That way the garment could also be passed on to the next generation of the family. Also if you buy your kilt for your wedding day, in the same way your wife keeps her dress you will have your kilt as a wonderful reminder of the best day of your life, difference being you can wear yours again!

    If you are buying your kilt for a specific occasion make sure you allow 6 – 8 weeks for the production process.

    Hiring is a great option for local customers as they can visit the shop easily however; for customers purchasing overseas buying is your only option unless you will be staying in Scotland for your event.

    This is a short pro’s and con’s list to give you a better idea of what your options are. We hope this helps! Please feel free to ask us any questions we will try and help you in any way we can!

    Don’y forget to find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HoustonKiltmakers1909
    and Twitter: @Houstonkilts

     
  • admin 12:26 pm on July 10, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Kiltmakers,   

    HELP! Am I wearing my kilt properly? 

    Bute Heather Tartan Kilts

    Get ‘Dressed to Kilt’ in 8 easy steps:

    1. Put socks on first, make sure ribs are vertical and tops are parallel. Put the garter flashes on with the flashes to the outside of your leg. Ensure there is a 3 inch gap between the bottom of the kilt and the top of the socks.
    2. Put a sgian dubh down the right hand leg sock with about 1 inch showing
    3. Put gillie brogue shoes on, twist laces 3 times and take round back and front. Tie in a bow about 6 inches above the shoe. Now pop on your shirt and tie.
    4. Put your kilt on with the pleats to the back. Kilts should be snug fit sitting high on the waist. (underwear is not acceptable)
    5. Put your kilt pin in front apron only, at bottom right hand side looking down and 2 inches from the fringe.
    6. Put sporran on next and position correctly on front. Put chain strap through belt loops and fasten at back.
    7. Put belt and buckle over chain strap through belt loops and fasten with buckle to front. Then put your waistcoat & jacket on
    8. Now make sure you have a ‘wee dram’ in your sporran flask! (Assuming you are of legal drinking age of course.)

    Still confused? Then watch our video, a step by step demonstration of how to wear your kilt correctly.

    Now all that is left to do is enjoy yourself! Weddings, christenings, graduations, dinners, balls, ceilidhs whatever the occasion we love a good knees up here at Houston Kiltmakers.

     
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