Tag Archives: tartan finder

What Does Tartan Mean To You?

Ask anyone around the globe what being Scottish means to them and you’ll get any number of stereotypical responses. Bagpipes are a popular choice, naturally enough. Sports fans might tell you about golf and rugby, film buffs might shout ‘FREEDOM!’ in your face, but almost everyone will tell you that tartan is a big part of Scottish identity, on a national and international level.

Young's Tartan

Knowing that tartan is Scottish, however, is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this extremely important aspect of Scottish history and contemporary identity. There exist today just under 7, 000 registered clan tartans, and each of them is made using pre-dyed coloured strands of thread. These are then woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other, giving the chequered effect so widely recognised.  But what do the different patterns and colours really mean?

Several Scottish clans have what is known as clan tartan, meaning that the type and colour of tartan is specific to a Scottish clan. In 1725 the Independent Highland Companies wore a uniform tartan, marking them different from their foes in a very obvious way, and after this time clan tartan became a recognised and official way of standing out from other clans, and uniting your own.

Clan tartan is special and exclusive because the only person who can make a clan’s tartan official is the clan chief. In some clans, the wearing of the clan tartan is allowed only with permission from the chief. The special quality of tartan means that through the years, dating back to Victorian times, it is acceptable (in keeping with tartan etiquette) only to own and wear tartan with which you are in some way associated. You may be the descendant of a clansman, or bear the last name of one of the great clan families, for instance, or you may hail from a country that has its own. Canada, for example, is one of the Commonwealth countries with a national tartan. Some tartans are particularly exclusive. The Balmoral tartan is only to be worn by members of the Royal family, for instance. Similarly, there exist tartans that were designed to be universal. Black Watch tartan, also known as Government, Universal, or Campbell tartan, can be worn by anyone. So too can Hunting, Stewart, Caledonian and Jacobite tartan.

Take an interest in your choice of tartan by doing some genealogical digging, and find the tartan that means something to you.

The Easy Way to Buy a Kilt

Finding your perfect kilt can be a tricky process and can daunt even the most seasoned shopper!

Thankfully, we know lots about kilts, so we can help you along that path. However, it’s important that we try to do that without confusing you with the plethora of options available!

One such confusing option is tartan cloth width. The width of a cloth is literally how wide the fabric comes off the loom. If the mill has very wide loom, you get a very wide cloth, if it has a narrow loom, you get a narrow cloth. The wider the cloth, the bigger you can make garments, without having to stitch two or more pieces together.

In reality there are very few products we sell that need a wide cloth. The most common item which needs a wide cloth is a plaid.

Traditionally, most mills used a wide loom to make cloths about 60″ wide. When making an 8 yard kilt, a kilt maker would purchase only 4 yards of this cloth and cut it down the middle to create two lengths of 4 yards, stitch them end to end and conceal the seam in one of the pleats at the rear of the kilt.

However, one of the largest mills, House of Edgar, switched to making most cloths in single width – around 30″ wide. This is fine for kilts as you just order 8 yards of fabric, but doesn’t suit anything that needs cloth wider than 30″.

We thought it was important for customers to let customers know about this when they were choosing a tartan so on our cloth selection page, we showed a swatch, the mill, the price and the width of the cloth. We also showed the actual price per metre, so single width cloths appeared to be half the price of double width cloths.

We found that this confused more customers than it helped, so have changed the layout of this page to make the width of each cloth less prominent, and have altered the price of single width cloths to display as an effective double width price.

We’ve spoken with some customers about this and we feel the new change makes the step of choosing your cloth that little bit easier. What do you think? Do you need to see the width while you’re choosing a cloth?

The change is now live on our site: check out the Macdonald Modern (my favourite… helps that I’m a Macdonald as well!) and the rest of our tartans and let us know what you think.

Tartan Finder Gets an Update

Our tartan finder has been given some great new features today.

The first one is the new tartan finder homepage:

You can browse tartans by letter, or search for a particular pattern. We’ve also included some links to some of our favourite tartans.

When you’ve chosen a tartan you get a list of products available in that tartan. Our second new feature is that we now show you the important details of the tartan you’ve chosen right at the top of that page.

We hope these new features will help you find your tartan and help you choose just what products you want it to be made into!

Don’t worry… our quest hasn’t stopped here… we have lots more improvements to include in the near future. We’re always looking at ways to make our tartan finder easier to use, and more useful and I’ll make sure to write a post when we roll out our next update.

Let us know what you think of the new updates, or let us know what you’d like our tartan finder to do, by contacting us via Facebook, Twitter or by leaving a comment below.