How to make a child's kilt

kilt image by lino beltrame from

A full Highland costume is not complete without a kilt. Making one for a child is simple and quick; use it as a costume for acting out Scottish history, or as a simple play costume. By putting several pleats and a large hem into the kilt, it can be let out to accommodate a growing child.

Kilts can be made out of any tartan cotton fabric or from a heavier woollen or wool-blend fabric for a more authentic look.

Measure your child from the waist to where you want the kilt end, usually around the knees or calf. Cut a length of tartan fabric in that measurement, plus a 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inch) hem allowance. Leave the width as it comes off the bolt; cottons are usually about 112.5 cm (45 inches) wide and woollens are 135 or 150 cm (54 or 60 inches) wide. For example, if you need the kilt to be 30 cm (12 inches) long on your child, cut the cotton fabric to measure 33.75 cm by 112.5 cm (13 1/2 inches by 45 inches).

Sew a 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inch) hem along the edge of the long side of the fabric. This will be the bottom of the kilt. You will have a piece of fabric measuring 30 cm by 112.5 cm (12 inches by 45 inches).

Lay the fabric on the table. You will be working with the top length of fabric, opposite the hem. Measure 25 cm (10 inches) from the right side and place a pin to mark it. Measure 25 cm (10 inches) from the left side and place a pin there, as well.

Pleat the remaining 62.5 to 87.5 cm (25 to 35 inches) of fabric, depending on the width of fabric used, between the two pins until it measures 25 cm (10 inches) as well. Follow the tartan lines as closely as possible for a neater look. Pin the pleats so they stay in place. You may want to extend the pins about 7.5 cm (3 inches) down from the top of the fabric.

Iron the pleats flat, keeping the tartan lines as even as possible.

Sew a basting stitch along the top of the pleats to hold them in place. Use a regular straight stitch to sew down each pleat for 7.5 cm (3 inches). Take out the pins as you sew.

Fold over the top edge of the fabric to the wrong side and sew a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) hem to create a finished look.

Sew one piece of hook and loop tape to the right side of the left 25 cm (10 inch) panel. Align the other portion of the tape strip and sew it to the wrong side of the right 25 cm (10 inch) panel. When you wrap the kilt around the child's waist, the tape will match up and hold the kilt in place.