Great Kilts

It is hard to beat a traditional great kilt! (Also known as the “breacan an fheilidh” or “feile mor”.) The great kilt dates back to at least the 16th century, and it’s the most traditional and recognizable form of the kilt for Renaissance Festivals or other reenactment events.

What is the Great Kilt?
Only the most common and easily recognized historic style of kilts! Historically it took 9 yards of cloth to make a great kilt. (The origin of the phrase “The whole nine yards”.) At the time looms were only able to weave fabric up to about 30 inches wide. To make a great kilt the tartan would be cut in half, leaving you with two pieces, each about 30 inches wide and 4 ½ yards long. The two pieces would then be sewn together side by side, making the finished great kilt about 60 inches wide and 4 ½ yards long.


A brief history of the Great Kilt

The Great Kilt is also known as the “breacan an fheilidh” or “feile mor”. The first known reference to this mode of dress was made in 1594. The Great Kilt was made from wool, often grown on one’s own sheep. It could take a year for someone to shear and spin enough wool to make one kilt. The yarn would then be taken to the local weaver to weave into cloth. Wool, then and now, is no different. The Great Kilt enjoyed popularity until the Act of 1746 banned all forms of Highland Dress. See our Great Kilt history page for more in depth information.

How do you wear a Great Kilt?

Traditionally, you pleat the kilt each time you wear it, and the only thing that holds it together is your belt. Pleating your kilt is easy once you get the hang of it, and only takes about 10 minutes or so to do. Each kilt comes with instructions on how to pleat and wear your kilt. You can also download them in PDF format here: (Technical Difficulties, The link will be posted as soon as available. Sorry for any inconvenience.)

What size Great Kilt do you need?

A 4 yard Great Kilt will fit up to about a 34 inch waist. A 6 yard kilt will fit up to about a 44 inch waist. Larger sizes are available upon request. For pricing on larger sizes please contact us. Additionally, if your waist size is close to one of these limits consider the next size larger if you would like deeper pleats or pleats closer together.  We ask for your measurements so that we can be sure your kilt will fit correctly (see below), but we do not pleat the kilt for you unless you add Cheater Pleats™.

Cheater Pleats™

Wearing it the old fashioned way is nice, but if you don’t want to have to pleat your Great Kilt every time you wear it we will pleat it for you and stitch in a hidden waistband to hold it all in place for an additional $50. This makes it much easier to wear and no one will even know you didn’t pleat it yourself!

Measuring Instructions

1) Measure comfortably around your waist where you normally wear your pants.

2) Measure around your hips at the fullest point (usually about 6” below the waist)

3) Measure from your waist to about the middle of the knee. It is best if you have help, because bending even slightly will change the measurement.

4) Your height.

Our goal is to make the ordering of your kilt as stress free and enjoyable as possible and we look forward to handling your order. Please enjoy our extensive online catalog of Tartan Fabrics, Highland Accessories, Kilt Accessories, Kilt Jackets, Kilt Clothing, and other quality Celtic products.

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