Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wolfstone Kilt Company

This past weekend we attended the Loch Norman Highland Games and discovered the Wolfstone Kilt Company, which provides authentic, custom-made costumes for highland attire. I'm looking for a late-medieval gown around 1473, similar to what my character Akira MacKenzie would have worn in my debut novel, Highland Blessings. The photo on the left is me in my new gown. It is for the Renaissance time period, but gorgeous just the same.

I spoke to the owner, Virginia Watson, and she worked with me to pick out a plaid pattern. I wanted something that would be authentic to one of my own family clans, but I could only order them in wool or silk. Since I'm allergic to wool, and silk is rather expensive, I settled on a generic plaid. She was very helpful and informative. I learned that the length of a gown's arms was based on a woman's station in life. 

We first ordered a gown for my daughter that would be custom-made to fit her size. They allow you to pay half down when you order, and you can pay the rest before they ship your order. This is very convenient for those of us on a budget. My daughter's gown should be ready in 6-8 weeks. 

If you would like to check out Wolfstone Kilt Company, visit their website at www.potomacleather.com. They are located out of Virginia and travel to many of the Highland Games and Festivals.
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  1. So how DOES a woman's sleeve length reflect her status?

  2. The sleeve length on a woman's sleeves showed what she did for a living if she needed to do so. Shorter sleeves would show that she would would do either a lot of manual work and or cooking/cleaning of some sort. Also shorter sleeves could show that this woman could be working in a craft such as weaving or dyeing where long sleeves would be in the way or get ruined. Where as longer sleeves could show that a woman does very little work, as she could be of higher status than a working lady, or that she does less work with her hands as a servant or chamber maid would be. The longer sleeves would show that that woman had a higher paying, higher status job than that of a woman with shorter sleeves.

  3. Sleeves were not so much a status symbol - but more of a utilitarian thing. Even Ladies of status would wear a short sleeve if the occasion called for it.
    Status was judged by the brat a person (woman or man) wore; colors, trim, needlework, length, fold, etc. The Irish (from early times to about 1700's when the English got super silly with their dominance) were rather practical people - if it is cold well then, long sleeves! If hot, short. The léine (or in viking terms, the tunic, french would be chemise) was worn with or without a kirtle (overdress to the english inclined) and would have short, fitted or those huge bell-shaped sleeves - again, depending on the occasion and weather. But the brat was always around - within arm's reach at most times.

    You see an Irish Lord or Lady without a brat - there's a problem.

    More info, search, "historical Irish dress" in google or even pinterest.