How to Make a Kilt – Dress up Clothes for Kids

This is a guest post by my friend Sarah who blogs at


Hello! I am so excited to be a guest blogger for Jessica and to show you how to make an easy, incredibly adjustable, truly manly dress-up, the kilt! My Magnus is 2 and has a 3year old sister, whose great delight is dressing up as a princess, a ballerina, or both at the same time. As my son loves to do whatever she does, we substitute “prince” or “knight” elements for his costumes, but he still gets to dance around, jump off couches and wave things around in his very special outfit, just like Susanna.

The kilt has up to 4 inches of adjustment in it so it will be good for years to come, and the sample ones I’ve made will fit 2-5 years. And there is no zipper! Although I am a generally proficient sewer, I’m afraid I have not mastered the zipper. It is basically a simple pleated wrap skirt and has very little in common with real kilt-craft, the art of which I could only admire from afar.
Cost: about $7

You will need:
*A length of cotton plaid. You need about 12 inches for the kilt (longer based on your child) and 3 inches for the waistband so I bought 15 inches. Seam allowances included.
$3.99-$4.99 a yard at your local Joann’s, it is washable and comes in many colors and is about 41 inches wide. Price $2.08, but print off one of their easily obtainable coupons for 40% off and it’s $1.25!
*1-5/8″ button, from the button box
*1-4-1/2in piece of 1/2″ elastic, I have it on hand or it is about $2 a package
*1-4in piece of 5/8″ sew-on velcro, also about $2 a package
*1 kilt pin- $1.79 for two available at your local craft store near the safety pins
a bit of felt, placed on the back side of kilt front, to keep the pin from tearing cloth

Wash and dry your fabric. There is no right or wrong side on this cotton plaid.

Cut a 3 inch strip off lengthwise for the waistband and trim it to one-and-a-half times your child’s waist (M’s waist is 20″, the waistband is 30″)
Use iron to press 1/4″ to 1/2″ seam allowance down both long sides of waistband strip. Also press same seam allowance both ends. Fold waistband in half lengthwise and press.
Fold bottom of kilt cloth (12″ by 41″) over 1/4in twice for hem and pin.  Sew hem. Remove pins. This is the bottom of the kilt. The ends of your kilt cloth should be selvage, and should not need to be hemmed.

Place a marking pin the distance of half your child’s waist (10″ for me) from each end of the long kilt cloth. You need to pleat and pin the fabric between the pins, making the cloth shorter and shorter until it is the same length between pins as on the ends (10″ for me).

So now the cloth is even thirds, for me 10″to first pin, 10″ pleated fabric, 10″ from last pin to end. Total length should now be equal to your pressed waistband length so make any adjustments now until they are equal. Sew straight line down pinned pleats 1/2″ from the top of fabric to baste the pleats in place. Remove pins.

Fold the pressed waistband over the raw edge top of the kilt and pin. The two halves of the waistband sandwich the whole top edge and the basted pleats. The pressed seam allowances should be tucked under the back, front and both ends.

Sew through all layers end to end about 1/8″ from bottom of waistband.
Iron your pleats from top to bottom.

Insert end of elastic 3/4″ into right side of the waistband (the right side when looking at the inside of the kilt, when the folded hem is visible).
Stitch across waistband to anchor elastic in place.
Sew the free end of the the elastic to prevent fraying.
Snip 4 slits in elastic 3/8″ long down it’s length. These are the button holes and provide adjustment.
Test each hole to make sure button passes snugly.

Sew button on the inside of the waistband. As you try it on your child the pleats go in back, the elastic end of the kilt goes across tummy to button on their right side. Place the button where the waist size is comfortable when buttoned at the smallest size (using buttonhole closest to kilt). Thus there is room to grow as you use farther buttonholes!

Sew on velcro. Loop side will be on the inside of the waistband at the end, where the right side flap covers the left side flap on the front of your child. The hook side should be placed carefully on the front of the left side flap. Place it where it will still meet the loops even as your child grows and uses expanding buttonholes.
Attach your kilt pin, using scrap of cloth or felt behind the kilt cloth to prevent ripping. I don’t pin the kilt layers together, it just makes it harder to put on and off.
Please Enjoy!

More about Sarah: I am a joyful wife of one and mother of three living in Denver. I get to stay home with my children and I get some kicks and a lot of identity moonlighting as an ED nurse. I love many things, some of which are; reading, road-tripping, out-doorsing, stitching, giving good gifts, cloth and paper, library book sales, theology, candy, advocacy for choice in childbirth, housekeeping, corresponding, libertarian politics, and string lights.

See my shop at
The pictured wooden sword can be found and it’s sheath is

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One Reply to “How to Make a Kilt – Dress up Clothes for Kids”

  1. The most easiest guideline I have encountered. You made a good shot at sharing this! This gives us valuable locomotive to have this at home. I am excited how my siblings would look like on their kilts. Thanks.

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