Cart: 0 item 0

Quality Criteria for the Handcrafted Tailored Kilt

The Quality Standards


The Askival of Strathearn Handcrafted tailored kilt is of the highest standard, meeting quality criteria set by kilt making professional bodies of the past.

I have used the standards set by the Highland Regiment master tailors and have also developed them as I have learned from tailors, through experience and the changing times e.g. the kilt is not worn with as high a rise and rarely worn short.

  • Amount of fabric used – as much as the kilt requires to ensure adequate inlays, future proofing, choice of pleating options – normally 8 to 9.5m but prefer no more than 10m as becomes too heavy
  • 100% hand stitched using the appropriate tailor stitches using matching threads
  • 100% wool worsted tartan
  • Twill direction correct throughout the kilt
  • Uniform, discrete stitching throughout, 7-9 Fell stitches per inch
  • Pleated area primary canvas min 8cm deep, secured by 1.5cm long pad stitching as a staggered chevron pattern
  • Apron canvas 10-16cm deep, double pad stitched at both hip areas and catch stitched onto aprons within inlays
  • Secondary canvas to help smooth the appearance of the pleated area where the pleats have been cut, reduce the bulk of cloth and be a strong anchor for the chapes and their buckles
  • Pleats, maximise the number, the average adult kilt aims to have between 27 and 34 pleats
  • Pleats individually “lifted” and “closed” at the seat about 1/4cm above the pleating line. This process opens and defines the pleat, supports the bottom of stitching, adds structure to create the “barrel shape”, and completes the process of shaping and supporting the pleated area which is key to the look and the wearer’s comfort
  • Pleats to be between 7cm and 15cm deep
  • Fringe edge, pick stitched, max 2cm depth over 1,2 or 3 fringes
  • Belt and/or sporran loops, 1cm, hand stitched, matching the tartan pattern if using cloth
  • Waistband, 1-1.5cm deep, matching front apron and under apron with symmetry in the positioning over the pleated area
  • Linings, darts stitched in place, stitched onto aprons where appropriate and possible
  • Chapes positioned with balance on the pleated area so the pattern is centred and balanced at the back of the kilt.
    • If tartan chapes, tartan is matching on the non-buckle end of the tartan cloth.
    • Bar of upper buckles between the third and fourth pleat. The lower bar of buckle situated at the same distance from the apron edge as the upper buckle.
  • Rise, as per the wearer’s requirements. Normally 4 to 7 cm
  • Straps, 2 or 3, as per the wearer’s requirements
  • Use of steam, heat and pressure to shrink, stretch and shape the tartan and canvasses
  • Fringe Apron edge inlays, spring and box pleats to accommodate enough fabric to enable letting in and letting throughout the lifetime of the wearer
  • Fabric folded within the waistband to maintain matching on outer and inner aprons and symmetry in the back pleated area when let in or let out

Two and a half decades ago the Kilt Maker’s Association of Scotland (KMAS) provided a recognised standard of quality to support a commitment to maintaining traditional standards in tailoring and materials. There standards were:

  • Fabric – must be of recognised commercial quality with worsted type finish and a good selvedge
  • Amount of fabric used – KMAS standards specify approximately 7.3 meters (about 8 yards) or more
  • Pleats – there must be a minimum of 23 pleats, and they must be evenly measured showing the sett or line. The pleats must be hand stitched through the fell to approximately 1/3 the length of the kilt
  • Front aprons – must be proportionately sized, centred and fastening to the right
  • Sewing thread – must be core spun and at least 50 weight
  • Sewing accuracy – must be straight and hand stitched with at least 6 stitches every 2 cm
  • Canvas, lining, buckles – KMAS standards require a good quality canvas liner without starch, soap or synthetics. As well, the canvas depth is specified, and specifications are set for the buckles and straps.



Leave a comment