After reading the thread on "Historically Accurate Kilts" I did a little digging and discovered some information which may be of interest to those who wish to incorporate a Scottish theme or motif in their clothing. First, I must take issue with the following statement:
"Post-Cullodden (1746), the Proscription Act made it a felony to possess tartan. "
The actual text of the "Proscription Act" is available here:http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/proscription_1747.htm
The Act deals with much more than Highland dress, but the relevant section reads thus:
"That from and after the first day of August, One thousand, seven hundred and forty-seven, no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty's Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the said first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garment or any part of them, every such person so offending….shall be liable to be transported to any of His Majesty's plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years."
In fact, the Act did not prohibit the possession of tartan. Nor did it make it illegal to manufacture or sell it. It prohibited the wearing of tartan by men and boys outside the army, but not by women and girls. Finally, it only applied within the borders of Scotland; a Highland laird living the high life in London could wear as much tartan as he liked while his poor starving tenants were suffering the full wrath of the Clearances.
The "Tartan Revival" also began a bit sooner than some would have it. The Act remained in force for 36 years, but was lifted in 1782. By this time the old clan system was broken, but both Highland and Lowland people embraced tartan in various forms as Scottish national dress. Commercial exploitation quickly followed, with William Wilson (a Lowlander) and Sons of Bannockburn taking an early lead in mass production of tartan cloth. At first he gave his patterns numbers, but it was not long before associations with names (mostly bogus) became popular. (A good example is the customer who wrote requesting a piece of the tartan that bore his family's name, "and if there isn't one please send me a different pattern and call it X"). This so the requestor could be properly dressed for the visit of King George IV to Edinburgh in 1822, in which the monarch himself appeared dressed in kilt of what he was assured was "Royal Stewart" tartan. Much more information is available here: http://www.albanach.org/review.html
With mass production of tartan cloth well established by the turn of the 19th century, and made fashionable by the interest of George IV (and later, Victoria and Albert) it is little wonder that tartan cloth frequently appears in store ledgers. That's not to say we should all run out and buy kilts in the "family plaid", but there are tasteful ways of incorporating these fabrics in a period-appropriate manner...
The plaid in the vest shown above has an interesting history. It is now known as "Mitchell" (my mother's family name), but that association is from 1951, in honor of General Billy Mitchell of Air Force fame. However, the same pattern is listed in weaver's catalogs from the early 19th century as "Galbraith". So, I can use it for a period vest, but can't call it "Mitchell".
Closeup of the thistle motif buttons.
Here's a tailoring tip from DeVere. If you look close you can see a horizontal dart starting just under the armscye. DeVere recommends this dart placement for plaids and stripes, since the usual one under the breast pocket would break up the pattern.
Hope this is of interest,