Yesterday I posted about the tunic I sewed for a friend’s Braveheart costume. Today I’ll share about the exciting part, the kilt!
(If you didn’t see yesterday’s post you can read it here.)
First I’ll say, there has probably never been a kilt quite like this one ever sewn before. The main object was to make the kilt look like the one William Wallace wears in Braveheart. The movie kilt is a version of the Feileadh Mor, or “Great Kilt”, which is traditionally a large piece of wool, 60 inches wide and up to nine yards long. Each time the garment is worn it has to be re-pleated and then belted around the waist. My objective was to sew a faux Feileadh Mor that didn’t need to be re-pleated each time it was worn, and that only used 3 1/2 yards of 54″ wide material. The good news is, I have a hunch that the movie kilt used some cheater tricks also.
I settled on a design featuring a wrapped, pleated skirt and then a piece of fabric extending off the end to drape over the shoulder.
The fabric that I used was a gorgeous 8 oz. Scottish wool in the authentic Ancient Royal Stewart tartan design. I chose not to prewash the fabric because I didn’t want it to lose its finish or become fuzzy.
First I measured and cut the fabric, pulling a weft thread to make sure I was cutting on grain. Then I sewed the breadths together to make a piece 24.5″ wide and 270″ long, being careful to match the design of the plaid.
The wool was rather lightweight so we decided to line it with white Kona cotton to give it some body. I used “Mrs. Pullan’s Skirt Lining Technique” taken from the 19th century book Beadle’s Dime Guide to Dressmaking. To sew the lining you lay the fashion fabric and lining fabric wrong sides together, fold back the fabric to expose the first seam allowance, and join the two pieces together by sewing through the seam allowance (you can read a better explanation of the technique here). I didn’t use this method to be “authentic” or anything, but because it provides a tidy lining, with no raw edges or stitches showing.
60″ inches of the wool was kept unlined to use as the part of the kilt that drapes over the shoulder.
To finish the edges of the unlined part I hand sewed a narrow turned hem. For the lined part of the kilt I put in a faced hem. This technique uses only a 1/2″ of the fashion fabric, while giving body and weight to the bottom edge of the garment so that it will hang nicely. The facing was sewn on with the machine and then finished by hand so the stitches wouldn’t show on the right side.
I knife pleated the skirt and set it to a waistband, using a slip stitch to finish it off.
The final step was to put in four wooden buttons and hand sewn button holes.
It’s a good thing we didn’t order any less fabric, because this was all that was left:
Some pictures of the completed kilt:
The completed costume in use:
Fabric: 8 oz. lightweight Ancient Royal Stewart Tartan wool, 100% Kona cotton
Pattern: Drafted my own
Notions: Cotton thread, 4 wooden buttons
How historically accurate is it?: Not accurate at all, but it looks like the movie kilt, so it’s perfect! 🙂
Hours to complete: Maybe 20?
-The Farming Daughter