Our CANONGATE SALES STORE is currently CLOSED for refurbishment from SUNDAY 4th FEBRUARY 2024 for approximately 6 weeks. Our Sales Team have RELOCATED to our HIRE STORE 19-21 St Marys Street to continue business as usual, during this time. ALL COLLECTIONS including Made-to-Measure Orders MUST be arranged by PRIOR APPOINTMENT ONLY to avoid disappointment. Thank you for your co-operation.

The Making of The Kilt

Kilts Handmade to Exacting Standards Upheld by Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers

We pride ourselves in creating beautifully handmade kilts, tailored to perfection and designed to last a lifetime.
Our team of kiltmakers are experts in their field with years and years of experience between them. There's a lot of things that set us apart, one of those being our kiltmakers are trained in-house through extensive Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy approved training.
Watch our short video to hear from one of our kiltmakers about the level of skill and detail that goes into making each and every GNK handmade kilt.

The Kilt: An Overview


Every kilt is made from 8 to 9 yards from 100% wool cloth of the highest quality

All of our kilts are entirely hand sewn by a highly trained, skilled artisan to an exacting standard through in-house kiltmaking courses

So what is the Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers standard?

All of our kilts are handmade made by exceptionally skilled artisans


We carefully take your measurements and ask your questions about your body shape to ensure we can tailor your a kilt that will fit perfectly now, and leave scope for alteration in the future so it can fit for a lifetime

We have well over 300 tartans available on our tartan directory for you to choose from, all expertly woven in Scotland by the countries finest mills

If you would like to investigate which tartan your family may be affiliated to or give you advice on which beautiful tartans that you may wish to call your own

All of our handmade gents kilts are made from 8 or 9 yards of cloth depending on your measurements - this ensures your kilt will sit beautifully, you'll have lots of iconic pleats and there's scope for resizing if needed

The Kilt: The Construction


1. True and proper kilts are made up of 100% wool cloth, with a yardage no less than 8 yards for gents.

2. Your chosen cloth will be carefully cut to length, and then the tailoring of the length begins.

3. Two flat aprons sit one on top of the either when the kilt is worn with the pleats running around the back of the body when on.

4. The aprons are perfectly fitted to flatter your shape and the front apron is finished with a 1 cm three layer fringe - a nod to the unfinished, rouged look of the tailored kilts predecessor, the Feileadh Mor.
5. Each and every step of the kilt is hand measured, chalked and sewn using upwards of around 3000 stitches per kilt.

6. This includes every single pleat! Your Gordon Nicolson kiltmakers kilt will, in most cases, have no less than 27 pleats - we always aim for more.

7. Each pleat is meticulously plotted out, either recreating the tartan itself when pleated to the sett or matching stripe to stripe is pleating in the traditionally military tradition of to the stripe - our kiltmakers are happy to send you pleating options to choose from.

8. The pleats are then calculated using some careful maths equations, chalked onto the cloth, each pleat tapering slightly to fit perfect around the bum and into the small of the back - a truly flattering element of the construction.

9. They are then carefully and expertly hand sewn one to the other ensuring the horizontal lines are all perfectly matched up and each pleats is perfectly proportioned and uniform with the others

10. On the pleats, you may notice sporran loops - note these are not for a belt to run through, but instead to secure your sporran chain.

11. There's lots of stages in kiltmaking that make for the perfect kilt, some you will never even notice, hidden within the pleats and under the cotton lining which runs around the body making the wool more comfortable to wear.

12. We reinforce out kilts internally with canvas, so the wool may keep it's shape when you're moving around or sitting in it.

13. The waistband is meticulously added, matching up with the rest of the kilt for a seamless continuation - it is approximately 1.5cm wide.

14. Equally, when you collect your kilt you will notice white stitches holding the pleats together - we press out kilts twice before they reach you, and this stitching ensures your pleats are crisp, like a knifes edge. We recommend you take them out just before you are about to wear the kilt for the first time.

15. Our kilts are held on by leather straps and metal buckles in colours and finishes of your choosing.

16. Finally, you will receive a pair of matching tartan handmade flashes to accompany your kilt and finish a fine highlandwear look.


Lets Take a Closer Look at What Some of What These Details Look Like

Handmade Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers Kilt


A Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers handmade kilt - notice the two flat aprons, the front apron with subtle fringe and the pleated section between


Front apron of a Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers Kilt
Beautifully hand sewn kilts on a Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers kilt
Handmade Gordon Nicolson kiltmakers kilt with carefully places sporran loops
  1. The Front Apron - is the front of the kilt and is visible when worn. The fringe is perfectly proportioned to 1 neat cm and made up of 3 layers. The apron is perfectly fitted to be flattering to your shape and held in place with a waist and hip leather strap.
  3. The Pleats - are the most iconic part of the garment, handsewn pleats are carefully measured out, chalked, tapered and sewn. They fit perfectly around the body to recreate the sett of tartan.
  5. The sporran Loops - Subtly put in place along the pleat as shown, they are perfectly proportioned to the pleat size also. Each kilt has two loops and keeps the sporran chain in place.

Carefully attached buckle to a Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers handmade kilt
Perfectly tacked pleats on a handmade Gordon Nicolson kiltmakers kilt
The finishing touches on a handmade Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers Kilt
Handmade flashes accompanying a kilt by Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers
  1. The Buckles - The kilt is held in place with the three perfectly placed buckles in a finish of your choice. This buckle connects subtly to the under apron strap through a neat hole between pleats.
  3. The Basting - these important stitches in white thread, keep the pleasts together ensuring that they are perfect for pressing before your first wear. Keep them in until you are ready to wear to ensure that your kilt stays beautifully pleated!
  5. The Finishing Touches - Each kilt is complete with a cotton lining to make the garment comfortable for the wearer. Finally a label is added - our seal of approval.
  7. The Flashes - Handmade in your chosen tartan to complete the kilt and your highlandwear outfit. A kilt is a sustaintable garment and we try to ensure that there is as little waste from the off-cuts created when cutting the cloth to length.

The Kilt: Aftercare


A kilt is for life if you do your bit in looking after it!

Leave the white basting stitches in until you plan to wear it, then carefully cut them with small sharp scissors and gently pull the stitches out.

Moth are a killer for kilts - stay vigilant, keep your kilt in a kilt bag and if there is sign of moth damage, put your kilt in the freezer to kill off any mites.

Kilts don't require much cleaning if they are aired out from time to time, but if it does need a clean and press, we recommend dropping by us again for it to be expertly carried out.

You can find out more about cleaning, alterations and repairs here.


Videography and Editing by Julien Borghino