I have been doing a number of alterations recently, and it is sometimes discouraging to see what people have done to perfectly good kilts, trying to make changes that really need to be made by someone who knows how. A recent example was a dancer’s kilt where the person took out the inverted pleat, trying to make it bigger. They CUT the tartan directly under the last pleat, which is a big no-no. Then they took out all of the facings, which is fine, but it was clear that they had no idea how to re-shape the aprons and re-assemble it. I fixed it to fit a new owner, and all is well except for a small bit of “cheating” where the fabric was cut– I had to make a pleat from an adjacent section of the tartan. This ended up being a full day’s work, but the operation was a success, and the patient lived!
My next almost- disaster was a kilt from a very (ahem!) well- known online source in Scotland. I am afraid that the folks who called in a panic because this kilt was 6 inches too big in both the waist AND the hips paid quite a bit for it. The kilt was HUGE- not even close to the measurements that had been sent. When I took it apart to alter it, I found that it did not have any hand stitching at all, and that the interfacing was the iron-on kind rather than the sew-in kind that I put in. There was no steeking at all, and the whole thing was a giant mess. After a bit of messing about, I got it down to the proper size, re-interfaced, steeked, and re-assembled it, and voila!
It just annoys me that folks pay good money for sub-par quality from what should be a good kiltmaker. Just remember that not all kilts are created equal– “Casual” means no hand sewing and probably not much in the way of interfacing or lining. “Hand sewn” may not necessarily mean that it’s a hand-made garment– you may get machine-stitched pleats. “Designed in Scotland” doesn’t mean that it was made in Scotland– a much likelier origin would be India or Pakistan. It’s important to see a kilt from the makers you are considering, and to ask questions before giving them your hard-earned money.