Introduction: How to Make a Scottish Great Kilt

Picture of How to Make a Scottish Great Kilt

The first thing you will need to do is get some wool tartan cloth it doesn't really matter what tartan you get seeing as it wasn't until the 18 hundreds that the tartans to different clans were really formed like it is today.Then when you have your tartan lay it out in a large flat area ,and then measure the length across your legs and this measurement will be your front apron.Next pleat the cloth till you get near the end and leave enough for the other apron.

materials: wool tartan cloth, leather belt,leather sting or metal brooch

Step 1: Prepareing for the Belt

Picture of Prepareing for the Belt

This next step is easy just measure from just above your knee to your belly button this will be where you put the belt at. Then i like to mark this by push in the material right there.

Step 2: Putting the Belt in Under the Kilt

Picture of Putting the Belt in Under the Kilt

This is the step where you slip under the belt at the measurement from the last step. Just gently slide it under and smooth any messed up pleats.

Step 3: Putting on the Kilt

Picture of Putting on the Kilt

Now lay down on the tartan with the edge of the pleats at the back of your knees, and pull over the right apron then the left and smooth everything out.

Step 4: The Kilt On

Picture of The Kilt On

Then fasten you belt and stand up the top part will fall over the bottom you can pull that up and if you want to adjust the pleats while looking in a mirror so there all at on level.

Step 5: What to Do With the Top Part of the Kilt?

Picture of What to Do With the Top Part of the Kilt?

Anything! but the easiest in my opinion is to take the corner of the under apron above the belt and tuck it in and take the fold from that and put it over the back of  your left shoulder and do the same with the other one but put over the front.

Step 6: Putting the Pices Togeather

Picture of Putting the Pices Togeather

finnaly you can tie the corners together with a leather string or you can use a metal brooch


eckythump (author)2012-06-13

As to wearing "other people's clan tartans" I would suggest it is nonsense to be concerned. Tartans are not copyrighted and their actual real links to clans are normally very dubious indeed. It seems to be common opinion today that the Polish "Sobieski" twins started off the whole craze of clan tartans (with their book "Vesitarium Scotum") in an attempt to convince the Scots that they were indeed the lost twin princes of Scotland--just my thoughts on the matter. In New York once someone considerably older than me, asked my permission to wear the tartan I was wearing (Fletcher of Dunans) and I found the whole thing quite ridiculous, suggesting to her that she wear whatever tartan caught her eye.

wg-mackay (author)eckythump2017-03-04

I agree. Wear whatever tartan you like. The link of specific tartans to specific clans is modern nonsense.

gen81465 (author)eckythump2012-07-04

Eckythump: Many tartans, including Chattan, are INDEED copyright as to pattern. I wanted a kilt made, but wasn't willing to pay the outrageous fee being charged that would allow me use of the Chattan tartan. The other clan tartan I could use is MacGoun (from the ancient Gow), as it is far less expensive.

As for wearing one at an event, I don't think most people would argue over it; unless the person wearing the specific tartan managed to get themselves on the 6 o'clock evening news for doing something really stupid, and then trying to claim Scots family heritage as a reason for their stupidity.

As for the date of Clan Chattan being established, along with other information about the 16 clans that comprise the "bond of union", feel free to check out as it contains a lot of good information. They just celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Bond of Union back in 2009. While the Bond of Union took place in 1609, it is believed the original clan confederation began sometime around 1291.

wg-mackay (author)2017-03-04

Hi folks looking at the comments below about specific tartans for specific clans - sorry but it is a modern invention. Wear whatever tartan you like. The idea of tartans for specific clans is an 18th century invention. Pre- 1745 there were regional tartans due to the local fashion and available dyes but that is as far as it went.

wg-mackay (author)wg-mackay2017-03-04

Oops sorry meant 19th century not 18th invention

Kenderkim (author)2016-06-26

What size fabric do you need? I'm making one for a great tall laddie....

kamelsr (author)Kenderkim2016-12-10

8 yards long is the norm. As to the width I believe most fabric is two yards wide and you just set your belt where you want it for your height. The Scotts say one size fits all. Although some heftier men may need a extra yard.

EclipseColdfire (author)2016-09-27

What size of fabric was used? Like, how many Yards? Plus, how tall are you :P

Great instructions I have done it the same way, I used an iron pin to hold up the top. I could make it into a cloak like top if the weather was bad, and if hot roll it up and cover my shoulders as little as possible. It can be much more useful than the small kilt.

Anderson Pooper (author)2015-06-26

What were the dimensions of the tartan you used?

DavidC73 (author)2015-06-05

Just some advice. For me, is easier if you store the great kilt after playing it like you're going to wear it, and then rolling it up. Do this after wearing it every time.

The pleats will end up nicely creased, and all you then have to do to put it on is unroll and unfold a little.

The pleats being nicely creased helps when you go to pleat again for storage.

Rich_Limburger (author)2015-02-15

:-) i like yout instructable. i made one last year for "vasteloavendj" (=carnaval) takes some time to put it on, but i can allmost say certain that i'll be the only one around here wearing a great kilt. As everybody else wears the easier to put on small / modern kilt. It's a shame my kids were pushing me to get it done over with as quick as possible (they wanted to catch the candy which ppl throw from the parade wagons), or i would have taken the time to do it neatly.

gen81465 (author)2011-02-23

I beg to differ with the article author on the point of specific tartan's only becoming significant in the 1800's. That is actually incorrect. My family tartan (Chattan) was established in 1609 during the Bond of Union, which consolidated 16 separate clans for the purposes of common defense. Each individual clan or sept also has its own tartan, most of which date back to the 1400's - 1500's.

Some suggest asking permission from a clan representative before wearing that clan's tartan to an event, although most clans won't object (unless you're doing something that the clan would consider "embarassing" to them).

There are several tartans which are considered non-specific to a clan, or are so commonplace as to be generally accepted.

For informal events, Black Watch is considered a national *Scots tartan (

For formal events, it's usual to see people wearing the Royal Stewart tartan (, often accompanied by a tuxedo jacket.

* Note: To help out when attending Scots or Celtic events, the official term is Scots or Scotsman. The word "Scottish" refers to a terrier dog, not a nationality.

Whatever you decide, if you choose to wear a kilt, wear it with honor to the clan it represents. And remember, "It's a kilt, not a skirt ... now if I were wearing something underneath it, THEN it would be a skirt." ;-)

eckythump (author)gen814652012-07-04

gen81465, I would really love to see actual evidence that your family tartan, Chattan, was "established" back in 1609. Such evidence could over-throw a lot of recent opinion on the clan-based tartan issues.

gen81465 (author)eckythump2013-05-10

I acknowledge my clerical error: the "tartan" wasn't established in 1609; it was the Bond of Union for the clans that combined for common defense. For evidence of the clan, please see:

Sgmaitland (author)gen814652013-05-10

Please see my reply above. Wearing of the tartan was illegal for a while.

eckythump (author)gen814652012-07-05

Gen, the Scottish Register of Tartans does list a number of Chattan tartans ( but only one of them has a specification that it is for the use of the chief of the Chattan clan and his immediate family. Even this does not probably constitute a copyright. Locharron kilt makers also list two: one in light weight, and an "ancient" version in heavyweight ( They appear to be able to make a kilt for you or sell the tartan fabric at 42 pounds for the light weight per meter or 50 for the heavy weight.

Sgmaitland (author)2013-05-10

From the clan Maitland cite. This is the way I understood the non use of tartans in the 18th century. Many we're older, but they were illegal for a time.

"Tartan goes back to the middle ages, and the mists of time. At the time of the Act of Union with England in 1707, the ladies of Edinburgh began to wear tartan dresses to show pride in their country. The wearing of tartan was forbidden after the rebellion of 1745, except by Scottish regiments, who wore tartan kilts as their uniform .During the Royal visit to Scotland of 1820, King George IV wore a kilt, and tartan became once again normal civil dress."

Zanesfriend (author)2012-11-26

It should also be mentioned that while it is possible to put on a great kilt by yourself, it is a great deal easier if you have someone to help you.

Zanesfriend (author)2012-11-26

It may not be generally illegal to wear a tartan not your own, but it certainly is not polite.

When I bought a length of Grand Lodge of Scotland tartan, I had to get a certification from my own Grand Lodge that I was a Brother in good standing, and one from the Grand Lodge of Scotland that my GL was in fraternal relations with them. I am told that if one tries to order most military tartans (all branches of the US Armed forces, plus the Border Patrol, have tartans; there's also a 'US Special Forces' one) one is asked to provide proof that one is entitled (or the recipient is entitled, if bought as a gift) to it.

pecunium (author)2012-06-25

The one thing, re tartans, which does matter is the question (esp. in the UK) of Reg'tmental affiliation. The Black Watch is pretty much generic, but the tartan of active reg'ts is frowned on for wear by people who have no connection.

eckythump (author)pecunium2012-07-04

Thanks for the comment, pecunium. I am not sure what the UK regiments think about such things but assumed that they used mostly tartans which were out and about normally, such as Royal Stewart, Black Watch (Campbell) etc. and perhaps Drummond or the like. I didn't know of any tartans particularly set aside for the British army. My father was an office in the British army and although he also didn't even mind people wearing ex-army uniforms which they found at second hand shops and so on, he did get very upset if he saw them with any badge, emblem or mark of an army regiment or corps. I think I would agree with him, that it is in poor taste to falsely represent a particular military body. As to regimental affiliation outside of the UK, to be honest, I would not give a blast what they thought so long as the tartan had not been specially designed for their regiment. I certainly, as a Brit, think I have at least as much "right" to wear a standard tartan as any overseas regiment.

eckythump (author)2012-06-13

Interesting stuff. You might find it a bit easier though doing it as the Grants did (or as their French visitor described) in that you take 7 yards of double width tartan and fold it in half widthwise, to reduce the length to 3.5 yards. This, essentially, makes the plaid top portion manageable. Then you can pleat it on the ground easily also, as you have done. After that, and standing up, putting the sporran belt on loosely while the top portion is still hanging in front of the lower portion, you can throw the upper portion over your shoulders like a cloak, evening it up to be central, and hanging in front of you both left and right, and then pin the part of the plaid at the left shoulder to the left shoulder so that the point hanging down doesn't reach below the lower edge of the lower portion (a huge no-no in Scotland at that time, it seems). With the right flap of the upper portion still hanging in front of your right leg, you can tuck it up and under the sporran belt. Google The Grant Piper and you will see this done exactly, even noticing the resulting double selvage of the plaid behind his left arm hanging behind him. This piper doesn't use a sporran but has a dirk in its place. From what I have researched over the many years, I have not really noticed period paintings of people with tartan across the chest, although that can be a nice and useful look too. I have never worn pre-sewn kilts and wear the belted plaid around town, normally with a suitable jacket.

skimmo (author)2010-01-20

only a real man can pull of a skirt

Iridium7 (author)skimmo2011-08-07

not a skirt unless you wear something underneath ;)

danielg123 (author)skimmo2010-01-20

:) ty

Iridium7 (author)2011-08-07

It probably would be best to go with a generic tartan anyways. I wouldn't want some dude walking around with my clan's tartan.

LilithAvalon (author)2011-02-08

Thanks a lot for this tutorial :) My boyfriend wants one for LARPing. I might make this with the pleats sewn in and a permanent strap to tie it with, so he won't have to go through this process (and I don't have to help him) every time he puts this on.

SWV1787 (author)2010-01-09

Nice, You don't see too many people actually folding their own kilt anymore. What tartan is that? It looks like you and I both need to get kilt pins for the shoulder.

danielg123 (author)SWV17872010-01-09

Thanks for your comment I've done a lot of research about the great kilt or belted plaid or whatever people like to call it :).I'm not sure what tartan it is but I think its a neutral one (or non clan), but it looks like a navy Stewart. maybe?But again thanks for the comment

j-orr (author)danielg1232010-02-05

I think that tartan is Thompson Camel. I'm not sure because the image isn't large enough for me to see for sure.

danielg123 (author)j-orr2010-02-21

Sorry i just got you to your comment. I'm don't think its that, but they do look similar your right. I'll have to do some research on it. Ok :)

j-orr (author)danielg1232010-02-22

Because so many tartans share the same color shemes, it is easy to confuse one from the other. That's why I posted that link. Tartan Authority is an other resource.

Will you be posting an other kilt related instructable?

danielg123 (author)j-orr2010-02-22

ya i'll try

discontinuuity (author)2010-01-09

Pretty cool.  Do you wear this around town, or to renaissance fairs etc.?

I don't wear this one just around town i wear it to Scottish,Celtic,and renaissance fairs. When i wear one in town its usaly my Buchanan or black watch tartan pre-sewn or small kilts.Thanks for the comment:)

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