Thread: Kilt Sizing
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:36 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV to the OC
Posts: 10,021
Default Re: Kilt Sizing

It's common with vintage kilts, especially hire and band kilts, for the kilt to have been altered at some point to fit a different waist size and/or length than the kilt was originally designed for.

The easiest thing to spot is when they've shortened the kilt at the bottom. Real kilts don't have a hem, so if you see a hem it's a later alteration.

With the waist size, it's easy to move the buckle(s) on the wearer's right forward or backward to increase or decrease the waist size.

On the wearer's left, the strap has to be moved away from the edge of the under-apron to decrease the waist size. To increase the waist size a longer strap is needed. (It's because the buckle on that size is right over a hole in the kilt that the strap goes through.)

All these things are pretty easy to spot.

Assuming that the body of the kilt itself hasn't been altered, you can get a fair idea of the kilt's original waist size by laying the open kilt out, measuring from end-to-end around 2 inches from the top binding (4 inches for an army kilt) and multiplying that number by .666

So a kilt with a full width of 48 inches was made for around a 32 waist, a kilt with a full width of 51 inches would be for around a 34 waist.

But a kiltmaker can make extensive modifications to a kilt including changing the apron sizes, removing or adding pleats, changing or eliminating the reverse pleat, etc which would throw off all the original measurements.

Oh, and yes it's common sense for a kilt's buckles to be in the middle position for the waist size the kilt was designed for. But since it's more common for men to gain weight than to lose it, I wouldn't be surprised if some kiltmakers put the buckles near their tightest setting for the stated waist size, giving the client a couple inches to expand. We would have to ask kiltmakers about that!
proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-11-2019 at 06:40 AM.
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