Some 2023 intel on getting tartan woven

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    • #1473
      Stanton McCandlish
        • Location: Oakland, California, US

        I contacted several kiltmakers and woollen mills in early 2023 about getting McCandlish green woven, in a muted palette.

        Some things I learned from one of the kiltmakers in frequent contact with woollen mills:

        • Lochcarron, one of the two Scottish weavers who regularly do custom work, was mostly shut down during the pandemic. This had some major consequences:
          • Their looms rusted and were ruined, so they had to be replaced with new ones. Lochcarron is recouping the cost primarily by raising prices on custom weaves, to a whopping US$125/m (for double-width), with a 12 m minimum (1 m is pretty close to 1 yard).
          • They have a huge backlog of regular commercial orders for common tartans, and will be fulfilling those before doing custom weaves, so even if one were willing to pay the raised price, it would take a very long time to get the material.
        • D.C. Dalgliesh, the other major Scottish weaver, is taking advatage of the above situation and actually lowering their prices a bit, to US$95 (for double-width), with a 15 m minimum order (enough for 4 kilts).
          • However, they have stopped doing single-width weaves. The days when one could order a single-width, 8-yard span to make a single kilt are now over.

        The prices mentioned are approximate and subject to change, and are wholesale (some kiltmakers will add a retail markup on top of this).

        The upshots of this are:

        • Today, if you want a McCandlish/McCandless kilt in anything like a timely fashion, the back-end weaver is going to be D.C. Dalgliesh, regardless what kiltmaker you go with (or certainly should be D.C. Dalgliesh – you should ask, and make sure that the kiltmaker is not going to use Lochcarron, which would introduce a very long delay, as well as result in less cloth for about the same total cost).
        • What used to be a simple plan for a single-width short length of tartan to make a single kilt, for a total cost of around $800 including both the cloth and the tailoring, has now become an endeavor that will cost $2000+ (though result in about 3 kilt lengths of left-over cloth, and thus a potential way to recoup some of the cost).

        I’m in process of having this done, and will list for sale on this website, at cost, the left-over material after my McCandlish green (muted) kilt is finished (I’m getting it made by, probably in late 2023 early to mid-2024. A few first-come-first-served individuals could thus get a single kilt length and width of it, and have any good kiltmaker do the tailoring, without you having to go through the entire expensive weaving process. (However, some kiltmakers will not make a kilt from cloth not ordered through them; you may have to shop around, and I will also probably make some recommendations after further research.)

        • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Stanton McCandlish. Reason: formatting
        • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Stanton McCandlish. Reason: notes
        • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Stanton McCandlish. Reason: clarify
        • This topic was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Stanton McCandlish. Reason: Projected date updated to account for weaver delays
      • #1716
        Stanton McCandlish
          • Location: Oakland, California, US

          UPDATE 2023-08-141: now lists McCandlish tartans (all of them, even in three “modern”, “ancient”, and “reproduction” colour palettes each) as available to order directly, either as cloth or as kilts and other clothing. It is not actually kept in stock, so it is a custom weave (through D.C. Dalgliesh who are now owned by AKA Scotweb). It is not dirt-cheap, but at about US$1,027 for an 8-yard kilt (probably plus tax and shipping) it is actually the most cost-effective way to get a McCandlish kilt as of 2023. (On average, a proper kilt of this sort in non-custom tartan is around $450–$800 depending on vendor. Poly-viscose “sport” kilts are much cheaper, but I have yet to find any vendor that will produce McC tartan in that material, short of ordering a full bolt of it – 40 to 100 yards – at great expense.)

        • #1956
          Stanton McCandlish
            • Location: Oakland, California, US

            More late 2023 intel, from a professional kiltmaker: I’ve been informed that D.C. Dalgliesh is even more backlogged than was thought, because they lost several of their key weavers (not to death!), and are having to train new people. I’ve experienced something like a 6-month delay already without any indication when they’ll actually get my cloth done. The kiltmaker just says we have to be patient as they work through their backlog.

            I’ve also learned, however, that is not entirely dependent on this woolen mill at all; they’re owned by the same parent company now, but uses multiple weavers to supply their orders, so getting a kilt from them should not involve such a long delay.

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