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Re: scots

Poster: Tom Rettie <tom@his.com>

>>Poster: jpbrew@juno.com (timothy j vanderspoel)
>>Hello, new member here.  I'm looking to develop a Scot persona based
>>around 1000 AD.   I'm looking for info on how to make a period kilt.  I
>>would welcome any help. Thanks.  J.P.

Welcome!  If you're interested in the 11th century, you're a bit early for
kilts, at least of they are known today.  The "little kilt" (or
"feile-beig") is a modern invention, probably dating from the early 18th

A few useful terms stolen from Cormac mac Cliuin's "Beyond the Pale":

tartan -- refers to the cloth
plaid -- refers to the garment
sett -- the design of the cloth (I think)
breacan -- a garment made of tartan, belted about the waist.

breacan-feile -- The "belted plaid," (sometimes commonly referred to as a
"great kilt" or "great plaid").  This consists of a large amount of fabric
(up to 8 yards), folded into pleats and belted, with the remainder draped
over the shoulder and pinned, and tucked into the belt (hard to explain
without an illustration, but you get the idea -- and I'm sure there are many
alternative ways of wearing it).

feile-beig -- The modern kilt, has much less fabric (just covers
waist-to-knee), and the pleats are sewn in.

liene -- The "saffron shirt," a long, full tunic with wide sleeves, often of
linen and using as much fabric as a breacan-feile. Can also be folded into
pleats around the waist, as with a plaid.  Usually a shade of yellow
("saffron").  Some opened in front, others just went on over the head like a

Of the above, the liene is definitely period, being traditional period dress
for both Irish and Scots up to the 16th century or so.  The breacan-feile is
debatably period; the first known illustrations are very late 16th, early
17th century.

If you're interested in this period, I commend to you a small booklet by
Cormac mac Cliuin O'Domnaill called "Beyond the Pale, A Survey of Gaelic
Garb, 1500-1650."
It was published in 1987 by Moongate Designs in Canton, MI.  They give a
phone number of (313) 451-6839 (I have no idea if they are still in business
or not).  Not only does Lord Cormac explain things like the above terms, he
also gives illustrations and some basic instructions on how to don a
breacan-feile.  I admit, I cheat.  My lady has tacked in the pleats of my
plaid, making it vastly easier to don in small spaces, such as tents and
event site bathrooms.  

If you're going to stay in the 11th century you're pretty safe with a liene.
There has been a wonderful proliferation of Gaelic garb of late, so I'm sure
there are many others you can give you more authoratative information.  

If you have more questions, please ask.

Your servant,

Findlaech mac Alasdair
(late of the 13th century, but lately tending more and more towards the age
of Elizabeth)

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