A kilt fit for a Prince
Prince George’s kilt was made from the Strathearn Ancient Tartan and was totally hand stitched, using the same process and techniques as for the adult traditional kilt.
The kilt is a miniature version of the authentic, 7–9 yard, bespoke adult kilt and has been constructed in a way that will allow it to be lengthened and let out as the young prince grows during his early childhood.
Planning the royal kilt
- The 2.5 yard length was laid out to plan how the kilt should be pleated, with due consideration to Prince George’s age, size and comfort.
- The size of the “sett” was too big, so it was decided to pleat to the “stripe”, which is also common to the Gordon Highlanders’ kilt.
- The variations of pleating to the stripe are demonstrated below, and the final decision was based on the visual attractiveness and on the final size of the pleat, which would ensure the kilt would not be too heavy for Prince George to wear.
Working out the number of pleats
The number and size of pleats (ideally 27–31 in an adult kilt, but just 15 in Prince George’s little kilt) are calculated using the assessment of the kilt wearer’s shape, waist and seat measurement. Marking out the kilt requires mathematical ability and practice to develop the intuition required for this assessment.
The pleats are all hand stitched, with consistent tension and size so that the stitching is almost invisible, and the kilt maker must ensure that all parts of the pattern match with precision. The pleated part is ready to be pressed at the top. At this stage we will remeasure to check the accuracy of measurement and to review the quality of stitching. The pleats are then what traditional kilt makers call “lifted” – this is a three-hour process in an adult kilt and is commonly left out of the commercial kilt.
There is often 5–6 yards of tartan in the pleated section, requiring the support of fixing the pleats to keep them from being stretched and dropping over time. You can tell if this process has not been carried out if you can stick your finger right up the back of the pleat!
A work of art backed by canvas
The inner canvas is applied to provide strength, shape and structure to the kilt. A secondary canvas is normally added to the adult kilt but was not necessary on the little kilt.
The lining in three sections has been stitched on. Note the hem to allow for lengthening, plus the spare material in the waist band, fringe edge, inner apron, box and spring pleat to enable the kilt to be reconstructed to accommodate Prince George’s growth in his early years.
The Countess looking at the detail of the kilt and the Earl reading the information booklet describing the background of the traditional tailored kilt and the construction of Prince George’s kilt
The 2.5 yard length of Strathearn Ancient/Muted Tartan ready to mark out the aprons and the pleats.
The cloth is folded in various ways to decide on the desired effect and pleat size.
The kilt’s pleats have now been hand stitched and secured. The larger pleats are formed and shaped with allowance for alterations. The supporting canvases are stitched on to the aprons and pleated area.
View of the kilt’s apron, the fringe, and the pleats.
The letter sent to Marion on behalf of the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.
Presenting the kilt to the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.
We even made Hello International Magazine of The Year!