A kilt is detailed, down the the very direction of the weave structure. There is, in a nutshell, a right and a wrong side depending on the weight of the cloth.
The twill direction for a mediumweight cloth runs from top left, down towards the selvedge of the cloth travelling diagonally to the right. Mediumweight cloth is ideal for kiltmaking, producing beautiful, hard wearing kilts that swing well and hang correctly.
The twill direction for a heavyweight cloth runs differently to mediumweight. From the selvedge this time, the twill runs diagonally from the bottom left, up towards the top of the cloth, veering right.
A twill is a diagonal weave structure and one of the most waterproof available – ideal for Scottish tartan! The weaving process is fairly simple – over four shafts the shafts will lift as follows – shafts 1 and 2, then shafts 2 and 3, shafts 3 and 4, and finally shafts 1 and 4 before starting over again. This continuous lifting process creates the diagonal twill which runs through tartan.
If the cloth reaches the kiltmaker with subtle flaws running through it, such as knots or a fluffy selvedge, the decision may be taken to flip the cloth over and work on the incorrect twill side. This isn’t the end of the world but if the kilt is an addition to a family or a band the right twill direction is something to ensure.
It’s always in the details…