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  1. #1
    Join Date
    9th August 16
    Southern Highlands, New South Wales
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    A question about an old "military" box pleat thread


    I have been closely reading a thread from 2007 by Dormant member @JohnH, contributed to by @way2fractious, on a military box pleat kilt. The thread is closed and is here:


    I wanted to ask a question but it is closed, so I will ask here. Not wanting to get into the nomenclature of military box pleats, the reverse engineering that JohnH did on his unissued COH kilt from Thomas Gordan and Sons showed that, like a traditional box pleat (of which I have made about a dozen), the pleats are sewn through two layers, side to side as it were but then folded all the way across underneath (rather than in to the middle of the pleat as in a trad box pleat) so that it is like a knife pleat with the wrong side flipped through 180 degrees (compared to the way it would be for a knife pleat). I get that. Only here's the thing: in the COH kilt in the link, the inside of the pleats point in the same direction as a for a knife pleat, not the reverse.

    One kiltmaker I met on Instagram devised her way of sewing a MBP by getting on the floor her back and looking up at a display kilt in a glass cabinet at Edinburgh Castle. She said that she does the following: "Set up the kilt as per a knife pleat, stitch fell as usual. Then from the inside, sweep the pleats the opposite way. This makes them fold back on themselves and creates the box." She then pins them down and runs ONE line of basting down the centre of each pleat before basting them together in the usual manner. The difference between this and the Thomas Gordon's kilt are that the steeking must be done from the other direction. But the only other potential drawback I can imagine is that having stitched through 4 layers, when it is folded back the other way, with the inside of that fold being so close to the edge, it might bulk up the pleat, whereas when folded into the corner without having been stitched into the corner, it will be just that tiny distance away from the corner and might sit a bit flatter when pressed. Also, stitching though four layers ( for a knife pleat where we fold the next pleat under), would make the fell quite bulky once the pleats are cut.

    So I cannot really see the point of basting the pleats in the fell (or anywhere else) before stitching. The only proviso is that some people (myself included) like to baste the pleats below the fell first before sewing a knife pleat, so if you wanted to have basted the pleats for a box pleat, you would have to baste the fell as well. The thing is, having basted the fell, to then do an edge stitch and only catch one layer in a folded section of fabric would be difficult, as the left finger is not on the other side of the stitch - it would just be a guess each time.

    So since it is a box pleat kilt, just with higher yardage than a traditional box pleat, might it just be easier to stitch the fell as for a traditional box pleat, then baste the pleats below the fell together afterwards? That way, I can flip the pleats any direction I wish (and in the direction used in the Thomas Gordon example, so steeking is in the same direction)?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    24th January 17
    Ellan Vannin
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    As we're revisting that thread, whilst reading through I made an observation that people were referring to elastic inside the kilts on the military box pleat versions. My father has an unissued A&SH kilt from the 50's and there is definitely no elastic inside them. Based on that and also sure that I heard something from ex serving family members but I think (at least originally) the elastic was not applied by the manufacturers but added by the men 5hemselves post issue if they chose. I stand to be corrected though...


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