DIY Kilt


Whether you want to wear a kilt as a costume, a fashion statement or a family heirloom, making your own kilt is fast and easy. The most difficult part is deciding which tartan plaid you want and out of what material it should be made. The options available for making kilts today are many and varied, so do a little tartan research first, then decide if you want a great kilt, an ancient kilt, a phillibeg kilt, a casual kilt, an Irish or a Welsh kilt, and then get started.

Finding your fabric

  • Kilts can be made out of any type of fabric; it is up to you to choose what type of plaid, whether you want to use more traditional handwoven wool tartan, twill weave, medium weight or heavy weight fabric, synthetic blends, or even cotton flannel. You will need between 4 and 6 yards of fabric that is 54-60 inches in width to make a great kilt, and half that width to make a phillabeg or casual kilt.

Folding and pleating

  • Lay the full lenth of your kilt out on the floor. Measure from one end of the kilt, half the size of your waist plus a few inches. Mark this measurement. This will be the front of your kilt. Begin pleating your kilt, using the stripes as a guide. You will want your pleats to be about 1 to 2 inches apart. Pleat until you have between 2 and 3 yards left for the sash (if you are making a great kilt), or pleat until the length you have remaining is equal to the length you left at the beginning (about half the size of your waist plus a few inches).

Belting Your Kilt

  • Now you should slide your belt, wrong side up, underneath your kilt. The best way to put on the kilt now is to lie down on the fabric, with the pleats at your back. Then fold one apron side over your legs, fold the other side and do up the belt. (If you are folding a great kilt, when you fold the fabric over, tuck the upper excess under your arms. You will be left with 2 to 3 yards of fabric over the belt at your back and you can choose how you want to tie this as a sash.) Stand up and adjust as needed. Alternatively, you can make a cheater kilt and stitch the pleats into place first; then you will not need to do up the kilt this way. Attach the two pieces of material together with a pin or brooch.

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