Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I'm still alive and in business - Honest!

Here's a link to my FB page - I'm generally good (or at least 'less awful') at posting news and updates on it;

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Kilt Cloth in the World

As you've no doubt read in my website, I only buy cloth from DC Dalgliesh in Selkirk, Scotland.

Here is an informative video about them:

for some reason, my senile old computer won't enable the link. Search for "Scotland's Last Artisan Tartan Mill: A Tour of D C Dalgliesh"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Year of the Seaforth

Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (Battalion or Cadet Corps?

Are you related to/descended from a Seaforth?

Join "Seaforth 100" on Facebook to find out what's happening in this, the Centennial Year of the Regiment in Canada:

Friday, March 19, 2010

That's "Professor" MacDonald, thank you!

Life's Strange Tapestry:

A few months ago I received a 'cold-call' from Ontario's Haliburton School of the Arts (

The college had decided to offer a kiltmaking course as part of their Fibre Arts Program, and that I was the person to teach said course.

Fortunately for me, I have done a great deal of instructional program design, so I'm not unduly worried about cramming a multi-year apprenticeship into 5 days!

I suffered through too many years of egotistical,incompetent and/or malicious 'teachers' to EVER inflict that on others - in fact since completing my teacher training I've become a real snob about 'quality of instruction' and the 'Competency-based Education' model. (which means that all other factors being equal: If you didn't learn anything it's because I didn't reach it to you correctly!)

Even with a 'pre-course package' that will teach everything that can be taught outside of the classroom setting, it's going to be a pretty intense week...

I take this extremely seriously for at least two reasons:

a) Each student will be laying out a great deal of money and if they don't feel that they've gotten their money's worth then they will (rightly) voice their discontent; and

b) There will be a number of people describing themselves as 'Kiltmakers trained by Rob MacDonald' released upon the buying public. If they do well it's due to their hard work, but their failures will be my failures.

I can't wait!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New "Seaforth Centennial" tartan

Deep in my cedar chest lies a kilt that is well over 100 years old.

Rain, mud, sweat and beer, the dust of South Africa, the trenches of France and Flanders and the desert sun of Sicily and the North-West Frontier of India have faded the colours to a very atttractive hue.

Were I more slender I would wear it yet, and perhaps a fourth generation of my family will do so.

In the meantime, I have commissioned the D.C. Dalgliesh Mill to weave me a bolt of "Seaforth #2" kilt-cloth in the faded colours of this old Seaforth kilt.

I have named this tartan the "Seaforth Centennial Tartan" in honour of the impending 100th Anniversary of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in 2010.

This is a 'limited edition' tartan, and the proceeds will be used to buy ceremonial uniform items (sporrans, etc) for the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.

Slainte ago Buath gu Brath nan Giliean Cabar Feidh!
(Health and Success forever to the Lads of the Stags' Head!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another 15 minutes in the spotlight......

and on Scotland's RealRadio:

phone's been ringing off the hook.......

A new style of kilt jacket!

You'll remember my opinion on the 'off-the-rack' kilt jackets available today: they are depressingly 'uniform' and, no matter how many you go through in your size, they will all fit differently and few if any will fit well.

Furthermore, I think that shiny buttons and epaulettes have no place in civilian dress.

Epaulettes were designed for only two purposes: to keep your webb equipment on your shoulders and to display your rank badges, and the combination of these and shiny buttons reduces the most beautifully-cut jacket from an exponent of taste and style to a mere ritual object. Having vented my spleen about epaulettes, I reluctantly admit that there IS one valid use for them in modern Highland Dress: If you wear a formal plaid, you'll need an epaulette to hold the plaid properly on the left shoulder as any plaid brooch isn't quite up to the job.

A customer recently introduced me to his family's tailor: Angelo Tailor, 1501 Commercial Drive.

Although he had not made a kilt-jacket before, Angelo listened to my requirements and produced the jacket and weskit (also spelled 'waistcoat', but still pronounced 'weskit') you see here.

Ignore the medals and wings - I was on my way to the Regimental Reunion, where I was promptly labelled "The Highland CEO" - which is exactly the reaction to my standard of dress that I want!

You might already have a preferred tailor, so here are the specifics:

1. The bottom hem of the jacket should be within about 1 1/2" of the widest point of the seat, but MUST NOT be any lower than that point (which point is also the lower edge of the 'fell' - the sewn portion of the pleats).

2. A centre back vent will gape open, so select either 2 side vents or no vent.

3. The radius of the 'cut-away' portion of the front of the coat must be such that they do not catch or tuck behind the sporran.

4. The lowest points of the weskit at the front must not be so long that they interfere with the sporran.

5. Wear your kilt to the tailor's shop, so that he may properly measure you. You also need the kilt so that you may 'match colours' as you select your fabric.

6. Wear your kilt and sporran for any subsequent fittings, so the tailor may check for proper fit and clearance of the cut-away.

This jacket cost a third of the price of an equivalent 'off-the-rack' jacket from the better men's-wear stores in town.

The combination of being 'made-to-measure' after my having selected the material and the style of lapels plus the 'feel' of tailored clothing represents 3 times the value.