How to Make a Scottish Arisaid

Written by anastasia leon
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How to Make a Scottish Arisaid
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Traditional Scottish costuming includes much more than just the kilt. For women of the Highlands, a patterned garment called an arisaid took the place of the kilt, which was worn strictly by men. Arisaids measure 7.5 feet long by 5 feet wide, consisting of a large, continuous swath of striped or tartan fabric. Most modern arisaids feature vibrant plaid fabric, however they traditionally displayed a striped pattern with a fringed edge. Sewing a traditional Scottish arisaid is easy and will take less than an hour to complete.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tartan or striped woollen fabric measuring 7.5 feet in length and 5 feet wide
  • Sewing machine
  • 1 spool cotton-wrapped polyester thread
  • Pins
  • Fabric chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Decorative fringe
  • Brooch
  • Belt

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  1. 1

    Lay the fabric on a flat surface. A tile or wood floor makes an excellent work surface for large fabric such as this.

  2. 2

    Measure 1/2-inch in from the edge of the fabric on all sides. Draw a line along each edge using the fabric chalk.

  3. 3

    Fold the fabric along the chalk guideline, pinning the fabric in place as you go. Pinning the hem will make sewing the edges easier.

  4. 4

    Heat your iron to the appropriate setting for your fabric. Lightly press the hem in place. Pressing the hem creates a sharp edge.

  5. 5

    Thread your sewing machine with the heavy-duty thread. Set your sewing machine to use a blind-hem stitch. The blind-hem stitch creates a sturdy edge without pulling or gapping.

  6. 6

    Stitch the short sides of the fabric first, followed by the long sides. Feed the fabric slowly through the machine to maintain a straight line. Remove the pins as you go to avoid bending your sewing machine needle.

  7. 7

    Add decorative fringe to the short edges at this point, if desired.

  8. 8

    To wear the arisaid, hold the fabric behind you with one of the short edges at your ankles. Secure it at the waist with a belt. Drape the fabric in a billowing fashion so that it hangs to the back of your knees. Pull the ends of the fabric around the front of your neck and pin it in place with a brooch.

Tips and warnings

  • Research your family name and determine if any tartans are traditionally associated with it.

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