Frequently Asked Questions

Q I want a kilt but I’m not a Scot. Can I still order one? Can I wear it anywhere?
A You can always wear a kilt, whatever your family background is. There is no such thing as the ‘right’ to wear a specific tartan and if you cannot find your surname in any of the many lists available in books and on internet sites, you can choose any that are pleasing to you. There are many district, national and international tartans that can be considered for a kilt.

Highland dancers should choose tartans that look well from a distance on a stage.

Kilts can be worn anywhere. A man’s formal kilt outfit can be substituted for a tuxedo at any formal function.

Q I don't live anywhere near Vancouver. Can I still get a custom made kilt that will fit me properly and in a tartan I choose?

A Yes. I have worked often with people who live far distances away from Vancouver. Once we start into the process I will discuss it with you and we will communicate each step of the way. Unless you are comfortable with the process, we will not proceed.

Q Am I buying a hand-sewn kilt or a machine made kilt?
A This is a question that is difficult to get an answer to when you are researching kilt makers. If you have decided to purchase a traditional kilt, then you want the kilt hand-sewn. If it is not hand-sewn, it is not traditional. Kilt makers know this, which is why they advertise this fact. Here is the challenge though. It is navigating through the different ways of saying or not saying what exactly they do. A kilt maker can save between 10 and 15 hours on a kilt if made by machine (which many do). They market them as “hand-something or other…” to give you the impression of hand-sewn. One could state their case that since they used their hands to push the fabric through the machine that it must be hand-made.
So, you need to ask the kilt maker the following:
Is the kilt hand-stitched?
Is the kilt custom made or a stock item?
Do you use a machine on the kilt at anytime, and if so, when and where?

Q Is the kilt hand-stitched?
A Yes. All KiltsbyHelen are hand-stitched.

Q Is the kilt custom made or a stock item?
A All of our kilts are custom made for each client, We begin from scratch on each order and make it custom fit and to any secifications the client stipulates and which are mutually agreed to at the start of the contract.

Q Do you use a machine on the kilt at anytime, and if so, when and where?
A All of our kilts are handmade. Some, but not all, are made with machine-stitched waistbands. This can vary from client to client and is part of the conversation at the beginning of the contract. Machine stitching is not necessarily stronger, but it can be faster.

Q How much material is in a kilt?
A It depends on the size of the kilt, but varies from 6 running metres for a young dancer’s kilt to 8 or 9 running metres for adult man’s or woman’s full kilt.

Q What weight and material is best for a kilt?
A A lightweight (11 oz.) wool fabric is suitable for a highland dancer. Gentlemen’s and ladies kilts can be made in a medium weight (13 oz.) wool fabric, especially if they will be worn for dancing. A heavy weight (15 oz.) can be used in band and military kilts.

Q How many tartans can I choose from?
A There are thousands of tartans available, although they may not be available all the time. Production schedules vary from woollen mill to woollen mill and not all tartans will be woven each season.

Within each tartan name there may be variations of Modern, Ancient, Hunting, Muted and Dress tartans.

Q Why do the color and appearance of tartans vary?
A The appearance of tartans will often vary from mill to mill, and their dye lots can vary as well.

Q Do you guarantee your work?
A Yes. All workmanship is done to the highest standard and is guaranteed.

Q How long will it take for my kilt to be made and sent to me?
A It first depends on the delivery time of the tartan fabric. The estimated completion time is projected once the tartan fabric is received.

Q If I am in a rush, is there a way to speed up delivery?
A Yes, we would arrange to have the tartan sent by fast mail. If the date on which the kilt needs to be worn is provided, every effort will be made to have the kilt made on time.

Q I am of Scots heritage. How do I find out what my clan is and what the clan tartan is?
A There are books of Scottish names that show clan affiliation and therefore which tartan is appropriate. (Scots Kith and Kin is an example.) Internet sites will also direct you to the clan affiliation.

Q My young dancer is growing rapidly. Can we order a kilt that will grow along with him/her?
A Absolutely. An ample hem takes care of the increase in height and hidden pleats allow for waist and hip expansion.