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James MacMillan

Question for traditional kilt wearers.

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Generally kilt wearers can be divided into two groups: Traditional and Non-traditional. Notice I said generally; there are many, many ways to wear the kilt.

Traditional kilts are made in the style sort-of standardized in the 1800’s: tartan fabric, pleats in back, wide aprons in front, belted and with a sporran to hold stuff. (More stuff is of course also needed, like knee socks, flashes, sgian dubh, etc. etc. etc.) –and NO pockets!

Non-traditional kilts are made almost any way you want, of any fabric, with multiple things added on: wide pleats, narrow aprons, low-rise – so many variables that it is hard to think of all of them – and pockets!

But here, I am talking about kilts fashioned to look like the full blown traditional kilts: Dress kilts, semi-dress kilts, casual kilts, knock-around kilts. No pockets.

The question – How many of you, who wear traditional kilts have had a small pocket added on under the apron?

This question arises because I have noticed that even when dressed in the most casual manner possible, I still want a few things with me. For me it comes down to three items: ballpoint pen, zippo lighter and pocket knife. I almost always have these three items with me. The pen usually gets stuck in the shirt pocket. The lighter and knife gets tucked into the waste band.

A few of my casual kilts have a small pocket under the front apron. This pocket gets used a lot. I am considering adding a pocket to all my kilts. They will be about 3” X 3” and I will attach them to the under apron at the waste band, about 6 inches from the right side.

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I was thinking it would be an advantage to place a small pocket on the over apron, something you could slip a lighter, or whatever into. The extra weight would keep it down in the wind.

Making it invisible from the front isn't as tricky as one might think.

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I was thinking it would be an advantage to place a small pocket on the over apron, something you could slip a lighter, or whatever into. The extra weight would keep it down in the wind.

Making it invisible from the front isn't as tricky as one might think.

OK - just how would you make it invisible????

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I've not done it but a few things jump to mind...

Sportkilt does this with their kilts and the pocket located at the waist is a little tricky to get to. It also may create a bulge in the fabric in that location. Add in a kilt belt passing over that location and it could be more difficult to get in and out of.

Freedom Kilts does a under apron pocket that works very well. If you have a bit of matching material you can make it almost invisible.

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Also of note, in the older kilts, narrower aprons are nothing new. A lot of the old box pleats had a narrower apron and very simple construction. Not even tapers really.

Defining a traditional is the real trick. Victorian era kilts are far from "traditional." By then, they were Victorian fashion, and had become a symbol of the age of excess.

Prior to that point, the little kilt, box pleated, (if it was even tailored at all) was the garb of peasants and common men. Typically pleated to nothing. Held in place with a bit of rope, a belt, a sash, or pins. For many, it was far more important to have a kilt than to have a nice looking kilt. There are surviving examples of two old kilts sewn together to make one very raggedy looking kilt as evidence of how important it was to have a kilt. Kilts from these times are somewhat rare, as they were literally worn to tatters and rags. A kilt would be worn for a while on one side of the fabric, then pulled apart, worn on the other side of the fabric, (there is your weathered and ancient colours right there) and then it was turned upside down, pulled apart, and re-sewn, and then eventually turned inside out, and re-sewn again. Now that's traditional.

For the typical Highlander, at the time, before the Victorian era was in full effect, pride was taken in whatever one had, be it a new span of tartan from a local weaver or the most ratty looking rag mended and repaired one time to many tied around your waist.

The real tradition is found in the kilt as a symbol and what that symbol means. Everything else is mere minor details.

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OK - just how would you make it invisible????

Take the edge of the apron, leave about a foot of fabric off the end during construction, and make a shadow pleat that hangs behind the right apron edge. Hang pocket from shadow pleat behind apron, BAM, stitching is invisible from the front.

I'm working on this right now in my lab, on my current kilt project.

Why yes, I am both mad and brilliant.

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personally james, i'm a traditionalist i don't think a kilt looks just right without a sporran, i prefer the bigger sporrans, like a buzz kidder to hold all my junk. and if i really got alot of junk i just wear a plain old fisherman vest, got a bunch of pockets there.

this is just my 2 peso's worth,

semper fi

windy

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The idea of the pocket is dead on! However, rather than centered directly up front, I would love a concealed pocket about halfway between the front center and the hip. Invariably, that is where I tend to stuff my wallet. The other obvious difference being that I would like it to be large enough to hold the wallet. I always wear the higher, traditional waist line models.

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personally james, i'm a traditionalist i don't think a kilt looks just right without a sporran, i prefer the bigger sporrans, like a buzz kidder to hold all my junk. and if i really got alot of junk i just wear a plain old fisherman vest, got a bunch of pockets there.

this is just my 2 peso's worth,

semper fi

windy

I guess I should go a little further in my explanation of my kilted habits. I wear nothing but kilts and have done so for many years now.

In the morning and generally, in the house, I don't have on the sporran. When I am out and about, the sporran of choice for that day serves the purpose of pockets. But I tend to take off the sporran when I am lounging around the house, watching the boob-tupe, or like now, poking the computer keys. - these are the times when a small pocket comes in handy.

I have several swatches of left-over fabric and some odds & ends, and I think I am going to add a pocket to my casual kilts. However, I don't think I'll do it to the full blown wool traditionals.

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after re-reading your post james i realized that all the info was there, i'm just a sloppy reader.

semper fi

windy

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You can always go the "Cholo" way and just take a small bag that cinches closed (say, a nice Crown Royal bag) and put your stuff in there. The draw strings or the top 1/2 of the bag can then be tucked into the waistband (can be hidden between the aprons if you prefer).

If you'd like it to be more secure you can sew in a small clip into the waistband to secure the bag to.

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I've sewn a small pocket inside my kilts' waist for the expressed purpose for not being without business cards.

There's no bulge and the belt covers it just fine. Of course, business cards are rather thin and not difficult to reach.

Slainte,

steve

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I guess I should go a little further in my explanation of my kilted habits. I wear nothing but kilts and have done so for many years now.

In the morning and generally, in the house, I don't have on the sporran. When I am out and about, the sporran of choice for that day serves the purpose of pockets. But I tend to take off the sporran when I am lounging around the house, watching the boob-tupe, or like now, poking the computer keys. - these are the times when a small pocket comes in handy.

I have several swatches of left-over fabric and some odds & ends, and I think I am going to add a pocket to my casual kilts. However, I don't think I'll do it to the full blown wool traditionals.

I tend to take everything out of my pockets and or sporran when I get home and place items such as wallet, cell phone, lighter, knife, etc.. in a small container on a shelf. I guess I've never really had any issues with not having pockets. Actually I tend not to wear my kilt at home, but gym shorts, or in the winter sweat p@nt$.

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unless there are cargo pockets on the side of the kilt, I always wear a sporran.

that being said, a small pocket under the apron would be sweet. I have a great little flask that would fit perfectly!!!

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Traditional kilts are made in the style sort-of standardized in the 1800’s: tartan fabric, pleats in back, wide aprons in front, belted and with a sporran to hold stuff. (More stuff is of course also needed, like knee socks, flashes, sgian dubh, etc. etc. etc.) –and NO pockets!

That's all I use.

Except, I usually have the sgian in the hose.

As one might guess, I go along the trad side.

T.

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As one might guess, I go along the trad side.

T.

I'm pretty much the same way, But I am seriously reconsidering the whole pocket thing myself.

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Even with a sporran, I think a small pocket would be killer! That would be where my car keys and money clip would go. I hate fishing around in the bottom of the sporran for those....

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Different strokes.

Never thought of Buzz Kidder sporrans as "large" never could get my hand inside the two I had so passed them on. When I'm not wearing a sporran use a vest or jacket for my "stuff."

Never could get my hand in those SportKilt pockets either - at least when I was wearing one. Only use I ever found for that pocket was to cut it off and make flashes from the material.

I much prefer vests and jackets with my traditional kilts just to avoid the hassle of a sporran. I like the "look" because it shows off more tartan.

Lounging around at home is no issue. I'm home. Don't need clothes. Keep the things I might "need" laying about in their usual place.

Now you guys have got me thinking about the bag/pouch pulled under the belt in lieu of a sporran...wait...dang...I don't wear a belt with my traditional kilts anymore....

Ron

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As much as I like the idea of a pocketed kilt, I haven't done it to the only traditional kilt I own. But I'm considering it on my Brotherhood tartan kilt, as I agree with many of the conveniences you and others have mentioned.

EDIT: I'm referring to a hidden pocket under the apron.

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I'm not sure I want to hang cargo pockets on the kilts I make and break up the clean uncluttered lines.

I keep going back and forth on the issue.

However, placing some well made pockets under the apron and in other places does appeal to me.

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I also think belt-pockets would work nicely. not necessarily attached to the kilt, but of the same fabric.

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My current cargo pocket idea is way to complicated, overly involved, takes to much fabric, and wouldn't be cost effective as a pocket option.

I've been thinking about calling it Sporran 2.0 and offering it as an option.

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Pockets sewn to the underaprons were common among the kilted regiments - They would keep paybooks and other small items. All you'd need to do for a tartan kilt is take a piece of the tartan and match it the the apron like wallpaper with an added turn-under allowance on all sides. Fold and press the turn-under allowance so you won't have a raggeg edge on the pocket. Hem the turn-under at the opening. Sew the other three sides onto the underapron with a blind ladder stitch. What distinguishes Freedom Kilts' pockets, as can be seen in the pic above, is that Steve makes the entrance to the pocket on the diagonal because that is the direction from which your hand naturally enters it, similar to a slash pocket entrance.

Another option for a pocket might be a shallow one in the overapron at the waist to one side ot the other of the belt buckle area. This would accomodate cash, credit cards, business cards, a flat coin purse, etc. Just thin stuff. I sometimes just tuck a coin purse behind my belt but it can slip out if I jump around too much.

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I am wear traditional kilts only. I do not have any pockets added. For the casual kilt wearing, I use a casual sporan which opens up via a snap button. It holds my wallet, keys, cigs and lighter.

When wearing more formal attire, I use a large pouch available from Hendersons, etc. It is large enough to hold my wallet and keys and lighter. I carry my cigs in my cap or in my hand... pictured below. If you look closely, you will see the black pouch which blends well with the belt.

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BLASPHEMY!

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