[WORLDKINGS] Traditional clothing from around the world – P16 – Kilt : The national dress of Scotland

23-11-2020

(WorldKings.org) Scottish kilts are known as “The National Dress of Scotland” and are a highly recognized form of dress throughout the world. Kilts have deep cultural and historical roots in the country of Scotland and are a sacred symbol of patriotism and honor for a true Scotsman. The word “kilt” is a derivation of the ancient Norse word, kjilt, which means pleated, and refers to clothing that is tucked up and around the body.

The kilt first appeared as the great kilt, the breacan or belted plaid, during the 16th century, and is Gaelic in origin. The filleadh mòr or great kilt was a full-length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head. A version of the filleadh beag (philibeg), or small kilt (also known as the walking kilt), similar to the modern kilt was invented by an English Quaker from Lancashire named Thomas Rawlinson some time in the 1720s. He felt that the belted plaid was "cumbrous and unwieldy", and his solution was to separate the skirt and convert it into a distinct garment with pleats already sewn, which he himself began wearing.

 

 

His associate, Iain MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Inverness, also began wearing it, and when clansmen employed in logging, charcoal manufacture and iron smelting saw their chief wearing the new apparel, they soon followed suit. From there its use spread "in the shortest space" amongst the Highlanders, and even amongst some of the Northern Lowlanders. It has been suggested there is evidence that the philibeg with unsewn pleats was worn from the 1690s.

The Scottish kilt displays uniqueness of design, construction, and convention which differentiate it from other garments fitting the general description. It is a tailored garment that is wrapped around the wearer's body at the natural waist (between the lowest rib and the hip) starting from one side (usually the wearer's left), around the front and back and across the front again to the opposite side. The fastenings consist of straps and buckles on both ends, the strap on the inside end usually passing through a slit in the waistband to be buckled on the outside; alternatively it may remain inside the waistband and be buckled inside.

 

 

A kilt covers the body from the waist down to the centre of the knees. The overlapping layers in front are called "aprons" and are flat; the single layer of fabric around the sides and back is pleated. A kilt pin is fastened to the front apron on the free corner (but is not passed through the layer below, as its function is to add weight). Underwear may or may not be worn, as the wearer prefers, although tradition has it that a "true Scotsman" should wear nothing under his kilt.

The typical kilt as seen at modern Highland games events is made of twill woven worsted wool. The twill weave used for kilts is a "2–2 type", meaning that each weft thread passes over and under two warp threads at a time. The result is a distinctive diagonal-weave pattern in the fabric which is called the twill line. This kind of twill, when woven according to a given sett or written colour pattern (see below) is called tartan. In contrast kilts worn by Irish pipers are made from solid-colour cloth, with saffron or green being the most widely used colours.

 

 

One of the most-distinctive features of the authentic Scots kilt is the tartan pattern, the sett, it exhibits. The association of particular patterns with individual clans and families can be traced back perhaps one or two centuries. It was only in the 19th-century Victorian era that the system of named tartans known today began to be systematically recorded and formalised, mostly by weaving companies for mercantile purposes.

Today there are also tartans for districts, counties, societies and corporations. There are also setts for states and provinces; schools and universities; sporting activities; individuals; and commemorative and simple generic patterns that anybody can wear.

 

 

Setts are always arranged horizontally and vertically, never diagonally (except when adapted for women's skirts). They are specified by their thread counts, the sequence of colours and their units of width. As an example, the Wallace tartan has a thread count given as "K/4 R32 K32 Y/4" (K is black, R is red, and Y is yellow). This means that 4 units of black thread will be succeeded by 32 units of red, etc., in both the warp and the weft.

Today the kilt is the national dress of Scotland and worn by many. The various plaids that one can see from time to time are the colors of the particular clan that the wearer belongs to. It is much shorter than the ones worn by the Highland armies of yore, but still evokes the pride that was carried by those who lived above the land of Scotland.

According to en.wikipedia; scotland.com and authenticireland.com


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