This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Kilt. [ME kylten, to tuck up; Sw. kilta, the lap] In the garb of old Gaul the kilt was called a fillibeg. In the original Highland dress, that part of the belted plaid which hung below the waist. It is said that the first kilt was made by an English tailor who was sent to Scotland to make the clothing for a company of soldiers stationed near the town of Inverness. While calling upon the manager of some coal mines near the town, one day, the tailor's interview was rudely interrupted by a Highlander running in to take shelter from a heavy shower. The tailor, concerned to see the man stand in his drenched condition, suggested that he should lay aside his long, loose-fitting plaid cloak, but was told that it was the custom there to wear but the one long garment, tied at the waist; hence he could not remove it without being entirely naked. The tailor suggested a change, but was met with the objection that the Highlanders prided themselves on their manner of folding and arranging the lower part of their loose garment. The tailor then offered to imitate the folds and pleats and sew them permanently with the needle, so that the skirt would be of more service by being separated; and thus the kilt is said to have originated. In modern times it is still a sort of petticoat reaching from the waist nearly to the knees, usually composed of some plaid material and deeply pleated. In the United States the garment is imitated in various forms for children's wear.