The kilt is the center of the traditional idea of what the highlanders of Scotland have worn through the ages. Media portrayals of kilts in such movies as "Braveheart" have added to the myth that Scottish men have always worn such garments. In truth, the kilt did not become the norm of Scottish wear until the late 1500's. It was a half a century after that when the idea of a clan tartan solidified into common use.

Prior to the kilt, Scottish styles were very similar to what their Irish cousins were wearing. The typical outfit consisted of a leine and a brat. Variations of this theme included trews and wide belts.

A leine is a long shirt similar to a tunic or chemise. It was typically two roughly rectangular pieces of linen or wool sewn or pinned together at the top, leaving a space for the head. Sleeves were inconsistently used and the styles varied. A man's leine varied in length from mid-thigh to below the knee. The simplest leine did not close at the sides, and was very similar to a light rectangular poncho. More complex leinte were sewn at the sides and had shaped necklines. As styles changed the leine stayed constant as the undergarment of choice.

Over the leine was worn a brat, or blanket. Typically it was an unshaped piece of cloth tied or pinned around the shoulders as a cloak. The color and pattern of the cloth varied by whom was wearing it. White, solid colors, stripes and tartan-type plaids were all common.

The brat is probably the piece of clothing that eventually became the kilt, as we know it today. An account of Scottish soldiers in Ireland in 1594 tells of the Scots belting their brats around their waists so the fringe reached only just past their knees. The great kilt, as we call it today, is a length of cloth folded and belted around the waist and draped over one shoulder. The similarity between these styles should not be ignored.

Trews were sometimes worn by men under the leine and the cloak brat. Trews are a sort of close fitting pant that could be quite short, or long enough to be tucked into short shoes. The trews were often made of the same fabric as the brat, though color and pattern coordination was not a concern at the time. Two different patterns of plaid were frequently worn simultaneously.

Headgear in the highlands was not common. Highland Scots were most often described as bare headed and long-haired. Contrary to its name, the Highland Bonnet was a type of flat hat worn by folks all over Europe as the time. It worked its way into Scotland, especially the lowlands, and became a Scottish trademark. The pom-pom traditionally topping the center of the flat cap comes from the traditional way of making the hat. Crochet and knitting hats began at the band, to create the custom fit, and ended at the center of the top of the hat. The Scots, lovers of color, took the threads that gathered at the center of the hat, tied them into a knot and cut them flush. As the hat lost its newness, the thread fanned out, creating the pom-pom.

A great deal less is known about ladies' wear of the time. Female Scots of this period were also thought to wear the leine and brat combination, though a bit differently. The ladies' leine was to be full length instead of short, and their brat was worn as a sort of shawl or over dress. The corners on one end were pinned at the breast, and draped around her shoulders like a shawl. Eventually ladies began to belt their brats as well, bringing the bottom corners around the waist and pinning them at the breast with the other two corners, then belting the lot.

The fabrics ladies wore were said to be of a somewhat finer quality and were more often white or striped than plaid. The colors of the ladies' clothes were said to be brighter, possibly because they used the same dark multi-colored warp as was used for the men's cloth, but a solid pale color was used for the weft. Also, the blocks in a lady's plaid were noted to be bigger.

The idea of the clan tartan is a very recent development, beginning indirectly in the 1800's. When the English repealed the laws outlawing wearing kilts, it became common to wear tartan kilts again. The weavers in different regions favored different patterns and colors, and it was possible to tell where your kilt was woven by the pattern. As this became more refined and intentional we developed the system of clan tartans known today.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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