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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 07-11-2019, 05:33 AM   #1
celtickc86
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Default Kilt Sizing

Main questions: Where is the kilt size generally measured from on the actual kilt? Does the size coincide with a certain hole on the straps of the kilt? Should a size 34 kilt be a 34 at the very last holes of the kilt straps?

Context: I recently bought a used ex-hire kilt from a seemingly reputable Ebay seller in Scotland.

I usually wear a 33/34 in pants, but know that doesn't necessarily indicate kilt size. So, with the seller's instructions, I measured at my navel and am right around 34.

My thought was that any small gain/loss through the years would be alright because of the various holes of the straps.

When I got the kilt, it is beautiful btw, I tried it on and it is TIGHT on the loosest fitting of all the straps. There is an attached tag by the store that says 34, but there's a handwritten mark on the inside that reads 32.

The store owner told me that sometimes these kilts see adjustments. He has been very responsive thus far, but my concern is with shipping it back. The store will exchange it no problem, but I am responsible for shipping costs back to Scotland. My entire goal was to find a decent, used kilt at a budget price. If I measured incorrectly, then that is fine. But if they sent me the wrong size, I don't think I should be responsible for shipping.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:44 AM   #2
celtickc86
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1...it?usp=sharing

These pictures show the measurement of the inside of the kilt at the loosest setting.


I would assume that in sizing, the size ordered falls somewhere in the middle of the straps to allow for wiggle room. Perhaps my fault for assuming.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:36 AM   #3
pancelticpiper
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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!
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-11-2019 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:11 AM   #4
celtickc86
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Out of curiosity, I buckled the kilt at its tightest settings on the straps and it comes in at around 31 (measured with cloth measuring tape).
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:14 AM   #5
celtickc86
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post

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.
So I did this and it measured out to 53, than came out to ~35 when multiplied by .666. Does this mean it was made smaller? How difficult is it to move the straps?
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:36 AM   #6
celtickc86
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Would it make more sense to just buy those kilt extenders since its pretty close to the size I need? Anyone have experience with them?
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:26 AM   #7
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by celtickc86 View Post
Would it make more sense to just buy those kilt extenders since its pretty close to the size I need? Anyone have experience with them?
If you get them....make sure the retailer confirms they are the right ( same) width leather as on the kilt. I assume moving the buckles is not an option.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:24 PM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by celtickc86 View Post
So I did this and it measured out to 53, than came out to ~35 when multiplied by .666. Does this mean it was made smaller? How difficult is it to move the straps?
Yes unless it had complex alterations by a kilt maker it was originally built to be around a 35 inch waist.

It's super-easy to mover the buckles (not the straps) on the wearer's right: each buckle is on a cloth tab that's stitched onto the kilt. (Actually some kilts only have one buckle on the wearer's right, while most modern kilts have two).

You don't move the straps; they're attached to the edge of the upper apron side.

You carefully remove the stitching holding the cloth tab (which holds the buckle) onto the body of the kilt (I use a seam ripper) and once the tab is free you can move it to any location you please and sew it back onto the kilt body. Since you're making the kilt bigger, you would move the tabs away from the kilt's centre-back and toward the front apron.

You can pin the tabs in place and try on the kilt to make sure it's correct before you sew the tabs onto the kilt.

The single strap & buckle on the wearer's left is a different story: since you're making the kilt bigger you just buckle it further out on the strap. If you run out of strap, look to see if the strap is at the very edge of the under-apron. If not, move it there. If so, you'll need to sew on a longer strap.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:28 PM   #9
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by celtickc86 View Post
Would it make more sense to just buy those kilt extenders since it’s pretty close to the size I need? Anyone have experience with them?
I feel it's easier, looks better, and it's cheaper to move the buckles, than to purchase newfangled contraptions.

Kiltmakers and regimental tailors have been moving buckles for over 200 years. They've never needed "extenders".
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Kilt Sizing

And - with more and more people "serial kilting", there is a ready market for used kilts!!

Jes saying....








Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Kiltmakers and regimental tailors have been moving buckles for over 200 years. They've never needed "extenders".
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