Female Scots Dress

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Thu Jan 9 23:56:59 PST 1997

Recently on the Historical Costuming list someone piped up (pardon the pun)
and asked if Scottish women ever wore kilts.  One person posted an excellent
and informative answer about Scottish women's dress, which I reproduce here
for those who are interested.

Remember, I am not the author!  Send comments or queries to the original poster!

Date:    Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:53:33 -0500
From:    Dale Loberger <dloberger at esri.com>
Subject: Re: Kilts

As Steve "Cold Knees" said, "I often am involved in the fight against
the historically incorrect wearing of the kilt."  Well, maybe I don't do
it often, but when I heard the question about women wearing kilts, I
asked a female friend of mine who re-enacts in a Scottish unit.  Here is
her reply:

"Women did not wear the kilt.  Women wore the arasaid (pronounced
arisayed) which is a chemise type dress with no waist or belt sewn into
it.  Then, several yards of cloth, usually a tartan as that's what they
wove, were folded in half length wise (if you had a 60 inch length,
36 inches wide, fold to make 30 inches by 36.)  Then wrap the 36 inch
width around the waist with the 30 inch length running waist to ankle.
It would come around the front with the 2 ends meeting in the front but
not overlapping.  With a belt, attach to the body and bunch or pleat it
up across the back.  The belt would go in between the folded piece.  The
underside of the fold was pleated and the top would then be brought up
across the back and attached at one shoulder to act as a wrap for cold
weather or as a carrying pouch when pulled around the shoulder to the
front or for a baby carrier.  The loose chemise would carry you thru
weight gain/loss and pregnancies with out needing to be re-fitted.  And,
like the kilt, it was a one size fit all garment and could be passed on
from one person to the next.  Plus, it required the minimum of sewing.
Pretty smart.  You all might like to go to the Tartan Museum in
Franklin, NC.  Yes, there is such a thing.  It is in the city building.
 It's pretty neat and does a good job at tracing the history of tartans
and the kilt.  I can't remember if it covers womens clothing or not."

Dale A. Loberger
The WoodSmith of Mulberry Meadow
(and husband of Susannah Eanes)


Gunnora Hallakarva
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heldr hversu na Hersis-Aðal

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