How to Enlarge a Kilt (+Create Accessories!)

30th April, 2022   |   How To...Guides

The kilt is a dream ‘convert-to-fit’ project because the secret to making a garment bigger lies in ‘stealing’ fabric from elsewhere. As kilts wrap around at the front, there is usually a perfect stretch of “unused” tartan hiding beneath the front, making kilts great potentials for conversion and there are so many beautiful secondhand examples online.


My inner designer gets ridiculously excited problem-solving tricky garments that for whatever reason, don’t work quite as they are. When I plucked this TINY kilt off the thrift shop rail, immediately I started searching it for expansion possibilities. And bingo – as so often happens, the solution presented a whole new design! Voila – a reimagined, properly fitting, expanded kilt! (Plus accessory!!!)

There are hundreds of other ways you can convert a kilt – below is my approach to give you a few ideas but who knows what you’ll see when you look through your own conversion kaleidoscope…



For an easy conversion, you can simply move any buttons, straps or fastenings along to size up your kilt so it fits you perfectly.  



  1. First up, turn your kilt around so the pleats are at the front. The kilt style means the pleats lie flat on the tummy before flaring out, giving the top a flattering silhouette with volume and movement lower down.
  2. Create a seam where the fabric overlaps at the back, insert a zip and cut away the excess fabric from the old wraparound section. Add darts as necessary so the fabric sits snuggly over your butt.
  3. Unpick the leather straps and buttons and reposition them to fit.
  4. Wear your tartan with pride.



This is where the ‘Secret of Symmetry’ comes into play. By replicating the predominant fabric/colour elsewhere on your outfit, you are tying it all together and creating a high design look and feel. 

You don’t need much, just a small addition of tartan elsewhere will elevate the overall look – this could be anything from a scrunchie to a skinny scarf or even a bag, depending on how much fabric you have left over.

For this outfit, there was enough to make a small crossbody bag to wear on a belt.

  • If you’re not sure what style of bag to make, start by looking at what you already own and copy one you love. If you’re not finding inspo in your own closet, look on Pinterest to find the perfect bag shape for you.
  • There are load of bag patterns online that give you shapes to cut out and detailed instructions, and you can even sew them by hand. It’s surprisingly easy, have a go! 
  • Saving a kilt fastening and using if for the bag is a great way to tying the elements together and give the outfit a cohesive, designer look
  • Adding piping around the edge of the bag will give it a pro finish – you could use some leftover tartan or even some leather remnants from another conversion if you have any 

This was a relatively easy conversion to do and one that could work for any kilt. If you can’t sew, don’t let that stop you on your conversion journey –  the seamstress at your local dry cleaners can help you with alterations, or a tailor can help create your own designs with matching accessories.

So rummage in your wardrobes or get thrifting, I want to see your kick-ass converted kilts. Send me photos! 

See the Instagram post here

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