Interested in ethnic clothing, uniforms and
customs, Richard Cady, began sewing lederhosen and Hosenträger
(suspenders), leather rucksacks and picnic quilts, adopted from his wife
Anna’s German heritage.
Several years ago, while attending the
International Festival of Nations in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he met and
talked to a Scottish vendor. That night he went home and created his first
Scottish Balmoral. The next day he took the Balmoral to show the vendor,
who was quite impressed and who gave him a six-page magazine article on
how to make a kilt!
The next weekend he attended a Scottish Country Fair and Highland Games.
He found a Scottish genealogy booth where he discovered his family name
placed him in the Scottish Clan of Douglas. Although his family’s
genealogy trail seemed to end in Sussex, England, he was able to trace his
family back to Scotland during the 13th century.
He read the kilt-making instructions and got some inexpensive fabric. In
less than three weeks Richard created his first kilt. It was a little
short, and definitely not a masterpiece, but it felt so comfortable and he
was totally hooked. He went on to make waist belts, sporrans, and many
other items of Scottish attire. Richard continued to make kilts and soon
was being asked to construct them for other people. After he had completed
nine of them, he had an opportunity to get some professional training.
Florence Hart had made arrangements for a Scottish kilt maker to conduct a
kilt-making class in support of the Scottish Ramble. Richard took the
first of those classes from Elsie. She taught doing the whole kilt by
hand. He enjoyed every minute and was surprised and greatly encouraged
when she told him his kilt was the best from that class. He made several
more kilts and was looking forward to taking the class again the next
year. As it turned out he had to be out of town during the Ramble so he
went to Elsie’s class every day he could before he left. Whenever Elsie
needed a break she put him in charge. It encouraged him more and validated
his ability to construct kilts.
The third year, it was decided that a local person would teach the class.
Richard ended up bring the instructor chosen for the job. He found he
enjoyed teaching kilt-making a lot. He was proud of his students and
really enjoyed it when they felt pride in their work too. After teaching
many classes attendance dropped off and the classes are no longer held on
a regular basis. He would be happy to set up another class if an
appropriate location and a good number of interested students were
There is a contingency of kilt makers in the Twin Cities that would like
to create a kilt-making guild to keep the art alive in the Twin Cities.
Richard would like to see that happen as kilt-making is very enjoyable and
what would a Scottish event be without all those men in kilts!
Richard Cady wearing the first kilt he ever made while on a short-term
missionary trip to Paraguay, South America.
Richard is wearing a remake of the first kilt he had made and
wore it during the 4th of July 1996 celebration in Dublin, Ireland. He was
the only one in the park wearing a kilt, so he was selected as an
interesting subject for this photo taken for the “An Cosantoir” (The Irish
Defense Forces Magazine).