Historically women did not wear kilts. However, they did wear a similar plaid called an earasaid (aka erasaid or arisaid). The earasaid is "the woman's great kilt". There is no definitive information on the earasaid, especially in the early time periods, however, it can be deduced that the earasaid appeared about the same time as the Great Kilt in the late 16th Century.
The erasaid was made from wool, although some early reports hint at silk. For more information on the history of the erasiad please see the “history of the erasaid” page. Worn over an under-dress, the earasaid can be very versatile. It can be worn long or short, for warmth or for style. The perfect compliment to any period costume. For more detailed information on how to wear your erasaid, download our “How to Wear the Earasaid” instructions.
The earasaid has less fabric in it than a great kilt. Why? Because the earasaid generally doesn't wrap completely around the front like a greatkilt, and it has less pleats. An earasaid usually has just a few large pleats in the back — sometimes even just bunched-up instead of pleated. I say "generally" and "usually" because the earasaid is so very versitile — you can wear it however you want.
We make three different sizes of earasaid (2.5 yd, 3 yd, and 4 yd). There are two basic ways you can choose to wear an earasaid. Which size you choose depends on your waist size, and how you want to wear your earasaid.
Method #1: The earasaid will be worn from knee to mid-calf length (maximum of about 27" long). You should be able to bring fabric over one shoulder or both, and brooch it in front. You should have plenty of pleats, and enough fabric meet in the front, or overlap a bit if you want it to. A 2.5 yard earasaid will fit up to about a 34 inch waist, a 3 yard earasaid will fit up to about a 40 inch waist, and a 4 yard earasaid will fit 40+ inch waist sizes.
Method #2: The earasaid will be worn floor length. You should be able to bring fabric up over your head if you want to, and brooch it like a hooded cloak. Worn this way you'll be limited by the width of the fabric. You can make your earasaid fit almost any waist size, but you'll have only a few pleats, and just enough fabric meet in the front (maybe). This method works best with a 2.5 yd earasaid. You can make it work a 3 or (maybe) 4 yard earasaid, but you end up with too much fabric to deal with above your head and shoulders.
Pleating instructions are included with each earasaid (Earasaid Instructions.PDF). Because it's so versitile, we would encourage you to pleat it yourself each time you wear it. That way you can change the length and style or number of pleats any time you want to. However, we can pleat it for you and stitch everything into place. This makes it very easy to wear, but you'll need to decide on a length and stick with it. If you're interested, just add Cheater Pleats™ to your shopping cart after you add your earasaid. Please allow an extra 2-3 weeks for delivery with this option.
Accessories For Your Earasaid
You'll notice in many of the photos that the earasaid is usually worn with an underdress and a bodice. We are working on making these products available, but for now your best option is to make them yourself. We don't sell patterns ourselves, but here are some we found that might be useful to you:
Renaissance Bodice Pattern
Renaissance Costume Pattern Collection (sizes 4-10)
Renaissance Costume Pattern Collection (sizes 12-20)
Easy Peasant Shirt/Chemise Pattern
Easy Renaissance Women's Peasant Outfit Pattern
Easy Renaissance Girl's Peasant Outfit Pattern
Irish/Scottish Woman's Leine Pattern
Another Irish/Scottish Woman's Leine Pattern