Kilt Number Two: 8 yard, Murray of Atholl Ancient


Photo of kilt in progress

This weekend I took the plunge and got started on my Murray of Atholl kilt, making a few adjustments to the measurements I used for the black denim kilt. Just a tick wider at the waist, wider at the hips (I don’t know if I shortchanged myself the first time around or if I’ve just gotten fatter since last December) and half an inch longer.

Actual tartan is so much nicer to work with than denim; more give, easier to sew through, much less stiff, and easier to keep everything in alignment and consistent.

I’m pleating the tartan to the plain red stripe every half sett, in keeping with the kilts worn by the Atholl Highlanders.

I’ve torn out and re-sewn a couple of pleats already. The ones I have kept are not perfect, but keeping in mind that nobody but me (or perhaps a kiltmaker) is ever going to look at them from closer than a few feet away, nor give them much more than a glance they are just fine. They are straight and consistent overall, which I believe is the important thing. As I read accounts by others at X Marks the Scot I notice that a lot of people who get curious enough to try making a kilt, especially men, have a strong perfecionist streak… it’s easy to get caught up in that mindset in a community of hyper-focused people, but given that this is only my second attempt and for myself only, I’m trying to calibrate my standards accordingly. If I resew each pleat multiple times until it’s perfectly straight and perfectly centered and perfectly tapered, I’ll never finish it.