Burns Modern Tartan: Personal challenge and quest
In honor of Robert Burns Day, I’ve pulled out my Burns Modern tartan. I purchased this fabric in the summer of 2008 when I learned that the mill would no longer be weaving the double-width (54″) fabric.
This tartan is only made by House of Edgar and is part of their “Old and Rare” tartan line. It is not an old tartan (designed in the 1930s), but is rather rare since most Burns wear the Burns Check tartan or the Campbell Clan tartan, as the Burns family is an associated family of the Campbell Clan.
My Tartan Search
When my parents visited Burns country during the mid-1990s, they brought me a Campbell Clan tam as a souvenir. They were unable to find the Burns tartan even within Burns country. Later, in the summer of 2005, after being inspired by a Scottish festival, I began searching for the mysterious Burns tartan.
I found an American importer of Scottish tartans in 2008 who informed me that the mill had only 3 pieces of fabric left in the double-width, one piece was 1.7 yds and the other two pieces were 1.2 yds each. After purchasing the largest piece, my family tartan has been carefully stored in a very special, safe place, thereby preventing anyone from actually appreciate it.
I want to wear it and appreciate it, but I am terrified of cutting it.
What’s it really like, this tartan?
This tartan is a mediumweight 100% Pure New Wool kilting cloth. The tartan itself is 4 colors – red, blue, yellow, green – woven in an even plaid. An even plaid has the same woven striped sequence running in both horizontal and vertical directions, so I have a small advantage with this tartan since even plaids are easier to work with OR SO THEY SAY.
My Pattern Selection
Today, on the 201st anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth, I declare that I will use and appreciate this tartan this year. I’m thinking of a pencil skirt, with bias-cut side panels. The current (February 2010) issue of Burda has a skirt that just might work. I’ll work on cutting out the pattern tissue and muslin now.