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What's The Difference Between Machine Made and Handmade Kilts?

Sometime during the late 17th and early 18th century the kilt we know today was born. Made from a single width of cloth and worn below the belt, it was essentially the bottom half of the great kilt. Back then the only option was to have your kilt handmade by an expert craftsman but today, we have the choice of having our kilts either handmade or machine made.

The art of making a traditional kilt is a skilled process regardless of whether it is being machine made or handmade and it’s important you understand the difference between both before you make your choice for your next kilt. 

Machine Made Kilts - MAcGregor and MacDuffMachine Made Kilts

It wasn’t until after the industrial revolution and disarming act was repealed that kilts started to become more accessible and cheaper to make. This was in part due to the aid of machines in the manufacturing process. 

Machine made traditional kilts today are made to a very high standard and are designed to look as handmade as possible. Good machine made kilts are indistinguishable from handmade kilts at a distance and it is only up close that you should be able to see a difference. This is due to the uniform stitch lines under the pleats. There is no difference in terms of overall quality of a machine made kilt.

The main advantage of a machine made kilt is that it is cheaper. This is simply because it takes less time to make than a handmade kilt. The disadvantage however is that the stitching of a machine made kilt cannot be undone and remade to accommodate a different size. 

Hand Made Kilts - MAcGregor and MacDuffHandmade Kilts 

A fully handmade kilt is the most traditional way of making a kilt. It follows a process that has been passed down through kiltmakers for centuries. Handmade kilts have much more character and don’t have the straight uniform stitching that machine made kilts have. A lot of people choose to buy a handmade kilt because they enjoy the idea of owning a kilt that has been crafted using centuries old Scottish techniques. It is also an item that people usually only buy once in their lifetime and it is often passed down the generations, so choosing a handmade option adds to its authenticity.

The advantage of buying a handmade kilt is that it can be undone and remade to accommodate a new size or new owner which is not possible with machine made kilts. The downside however is that it is the most expensive option as it takes much longer to make.

MacGregor and MacDuff offer both handmade and machine made options on all our kilts. A traditional 8 yard machine made kilt starts at £390 and a fully handmade kilt starts at £490. Deciding on which option to go for can be difficult but we are always on hand to answer any of your questions. Email us at if you would like to discuss any of your options when it comes to buying a kilt from us.