scotsman image by Theresa DeAngelis from

The tartan plaids of Scotland symbolize the family clans of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands, and each clan has its own, distinctive tartan pattern. Men wear kilts made from their family's tartan, complete with knee socks, dress shirt, jackets and sporran. Women, however, have always worn the dress fashions of the day, often augmented with a sash in their clan's plaid. Today a tartan sash with a shoulder rosette is a traditional and lovely accessory when dressing for a formal, Scots-themed event such as a dinner or a wedding. Custom-made tartan garb can be expensive, however. So, in the spirit of Scots thrift, why not make your own sash and rosette?

Making the Sash

Tartan-gelb-2 image by Zuboff from

Measure yourself (or the person who will wear the sash) for the sash. Holding the end of the tape measure securely at the lower left hip, pass the tape across the chest diagonally over the right shoulder from the left hip and then diagonally across the back, meeting back at the end of the tape. Note the measurement.

Determine how long you want the tails on the sash to be, and add that many inches to the previous measurement, plus seven inches to allow for the fabric to form the rosette. This is how long your sash should be.

Cut the tartan material to the desired length, leaving 2 inches at each end for fringing.

Pull out horizontal threads from the 2 inches of material at each end of the sash to form a fringe.

Run a quick seam above the fringe using a sewing machine or a needle and thread. This will keep the sash from unraveling any further.

Making the Rosette

Lay the sash on a long surface and fold it in half so that the top and bottom ends of the sash are even. Rotate the sash so that the folded end is at the top of your workspace.

Fold the folded end of the sash down 6 inches.

Wrap a rubber band securely in the middle of the two folds where the fabric is doubled; this should create two loops of equal size, one at the top of the sash and another below the rubber band.

Pull the edges of the two loops together and pin them with the straight pins or small safety pins so that the loops form a circle. Fluff them evenly to form a rosette.

Pin a brooch (usually a clan badge, a Luckenbooth or a thistle brooch) in the middle of the rosette to hide the rubber band. Add a large safety pin at the back of the rosette. You will use this to fasten the rosette to your shoulder.

Wearing the Sash

Fasten the rosette to the front of the right shoulder (only clan chieftanesses or the wives of chiefs fasten their rosettes to the left shoulder), allowing one tail to drape down the front and one down the back.

Draw the front tail of the sash across the breast and secure on the lower left hip with a safety pin.

Bring the back tail diagonally across the back around to the left hip.

Cross the tails at the rise of the left hip and secure with a kilt pin, a clan badge or with hidden safety pins.

Adjust the fit of the sash, re-draping and pinning as necessary until you achieve the desired look.


You can also choose to secure just the front tail to the hip, leaving the back to hang down freely, or pin only the rosette to the shoulder, allowing both tails to hang freely.

Another alternative is to draw the back tail diagonally across the back, draping over the hip and pinning the very end of the tail under the rosette at the shoulder. In order to do this, ensure that the back tail of the sash is left 6 inches longer than the front tail.


Be careful when pinning the rosette and sash to clothing. All safety pins and brooches should be securely closed to prevent injury to the wearer or others.

About the Author

Beth Anderle

A former Army officer, Beth Anderle has been writing professionally for many years and is an experienced freelance reporter. Anderle graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and completed a Master of Divinity from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her areas of interest including gardening, genealogy, herbs, literature, travel and spirituality.