the sister amongst you

A Couple A Queries

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When you say "common to do so", are you meaning now? I do not agree with Matt on everything but I have not heard his scholarship called into question and I would definitely give him the benefit of the doubt as far as a profit motive. Quoting his history of the kilt "The oldest surviving tailored kilt is a regimental kilt for the Gordon Highlanders, c. 1796. It is made from exactly three yards and two inches of cloth, and is box pleated to the stripe." Further along he states that knife pleated kilts were not common until the latter half of the 19th century. Further into the article he says: "Bob Martin, who has had the pleasure of examining the original watercolors for Kenneth MacLeay's The Highlanders of Scotland, painted between 1865-69, comments that "All kilts in this work are box pleated to stripe, probably about five yards or so in total length, as was standard at that time."

when i say, "common to do so" i mean at any time in history.

i'm glad you quoted Matt's article cos i couldn't be bothered to find it. it illustrates my point perfectly though. "The oldest surviving tailored kilt... is made from exactly three yards and two inches of cloth, and is box pleated...". you can't take 1 item and generalize it to say that ALL kilts are like this. it could be a one-off. yes, i know he says it's a regimental one, but who's to say that in the intervening time between it's design and manufacture, that it hasn't been 'through the wars', torn and remade using only the usable material? maybe they box-pleated it to recreate the effect of knife-pleating with only half the material?

maybe it was made that way from the start, but who's to say that that is how all kilts were made?

also, i felt i had to highlight the word 'tailored' as this negates his argument. kilts were around before people decided to start sewing the pleats in. the easiest way to pleat is to knife-pleat, and i imagine that's what people would do when laying out their material on the floor. as i already said, you don't use the most difficult way if you can avoid it.

as for that guy looking at a few paintings, well it's hard to tell from a painting, but maybe the people in them are indeed wearing 5-yard box-pleats. again though, these are just a few people. it's like someone seeing a picture of Chris in one of his short-kilts and assuming all kilts are like that, or seeing a photo of someone wearing it with the pleats to the front and maintaining that that is the correct way to wear it.

these are all assumptions and until someone invents a time machine and goes back to see for themselves and/or uncovers documented evidence, then they will remain assumptions. meanwhile, Scots will continue to wear knife-pleated, 8-yard kilts.

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"The oldest surviving tailored kilt... is made from exactly three yards and two inches of cloth, and is box pleated...". you can't take 1 item and generalize it to say that ALL kilts are like this. it could be a one-off. yes, i know he says it's a regimental one, but who's to say that in the intervening time between it's design and manufacture, that it hasn't been 'through the wars', torn and remade using only the usable material? maybe they box-pleated it to recreate the effect of knife-pleating with only half the material?

Another point that is possibly relevent to this point is that "tailored" in a regimental connotation means "officers". Officer's sgians for example were custom crafted hallmarked items while enlisted items were basic knockabout jobs. It's a reasonable assumption therefore that officers kilts were custom made with a fair amount of latitude for individual taste/requirements. This was quite common in WW1, so why not the earlier periods?

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edit: Doesn't address the OP's question.

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People, IMHO, we have some what Digressed from the Lass' original ?? IMHO, She asked about our PERSONAL PREFERENCES on what We PERSONALLY preferred in relation to the "pleating" of the kilts we wear today. While the reasoning behind our "personal preferences" ( Historical antecedents, Cultural bias', etc ) are worthy of discussion,they only reflect our personal reasoning & should NOT be presented as "Gospel" & disparage the personal preferences of others.

Any way here is my PERSONAL TAKE on the ??? Note I said PERSONAL & is based on the fact I own Kilts that represent 2 of the major genre of pleating seen TODAY.- Knife & Mil.Box ( PLUS a "period" Kilt sim. to the genre of "Matt's" - a "modern repo of a 1820s of a museum artifact )

1. Do I wear ALL of the above regularly ?? = HELL YES ! ( In fact I wear my "period" as my "formal" kilt most often )

2. Would I wear them in Scotland ?? = It depends.

a. My MoD Issue BW ( knife pleat) = YES My LSR ( knife pleat ) iffy even though I have "permission to wear.

b. My MoD Issue Mil. Box pleats = Perhaps ( But only my Seafoth ( Can) because I do have Regimental permission. but ?? ( I do wear it in Can. But I careful about how )

c. My "period" = YES !!!

d. A Civilian Box Pleat = BY ALL Means, if I owned on. :rolleyes:

e. Civilian Knife Pleats = YES ( that is a "no brainer")

3. Do I give a "rat's ass" about being "accepted" = NOPE !!! IMO,I am an American of Scots decent, & loves the Kilt. I wear the kilt with respect, but as an American. If some wish to classify me as an "Ugly Amer." so be it. ( that's their problem.)

BTW, I also wear flat cp, white hose ( on occasion ), dislike "Prince Charlie's". Ghillie's etc.

IMO, WEAR the KILT, irrespective of the "pleat" but wear it Respectively & Proudly.

:th700d7c2b: :th700d7c2b: :th700d7c2b:

Puffer

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3. Do I give a "rat's ass" about being "accepted" = NOPE !!! IMO,I am an American of Scots decent, & loves the Kilt. I wear the kilt with respect, but as an American. If some wish to classify me as an "Ugly Amer." so be it. ( that's their problem.)

BTW, I also wear flat cp, white hose ( on occasion ), dislike "Prince Charlie's". Ghillie's etc.

IMO, WEAR the KILT, irrespective of the "pleat" but wear it Respectively & Proudly.

:th700d7c2b: :th700d7c2b: :th700d7c2b:

Puffer

JACK:

Not a chance I would give you a hard time because of what you were wearing, because you carry. :D

Flat caps? I think I resemble that remark.

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I've been directed to this thread and asked to comment as my name has been bandied about. I have to say I have read some of these posts with a mixture of amusement and frustration. It appears that some people seem to think that my writings about the history and development of the kilt are somehow attempts of mine to "pull the wool over people's eyes" in order to fool them into thinking that four yard box pleated kilts were at any time the norm. Why I would want to do this is anyone's guess.

Yes, I do make and sell four yard box pleated kilts. But I also make and sell knife pleated kilts, and I make and sell kilts that combine both styles of pleating (Kingussie style). I never attempt to convince a client of mine to choose one pleating style over another; rather I try to help him choose the pleating style that he will enjoy more. I, for one, own and wear kilts with both box pleats and knife pleats, made from anywhere from four to eight yards of cloth.

What I take exception to here is not whether anyone has a personal preference for one style of kilt over another. I frankly couldn't care less, that is very much a matter of personal preference. I do have a problem with shoddy history and people making accusations that are without merit.

It has been suggested that I have taken a single example of an early box pleated kilt (a Gordon regimental kilt dated 1796, made from just over three yards of cloth) and from that one lone source supposed that all kilts were pleated this way. This could not be further from the truth. I use that example frequently not because it is the only such example, but because it is the earliest example of a surviving tailored kilt (by using the word "tailored" here I simply mean with the pleats sewn into place from waist to hip) for which we have a firm date.

While it is true that not many kilts survive from this period, those that do are universally box pleated and contain slightly more or less than eight yards of cloth. I don't really see the need to give the details of each and every kilt that has been documented, as I have that information already on my web site. These kilts are also very well documented in _All About Your Kilt_ by Bob Martin, which is published by Scotpress. I'll suffice to mention two kilts in particular which are currently on display in the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC. One is a civilian kilt from c. 1800 in the MacDuff tartan. It contains six very wide box pleats and uses just about four yards of cloth. It is pleated to no pattern. The other is in the Lochiel tartan, dates from 1820-1840 and contains nine (I believe) box pleats, also to no pattern at all. This one, I believe, contains just over four yards.

We have one kilt in our collection from pre 1840 which is KIngussie pleated. We don't have any knife pleated kilts from that early date. All of our knife pleated kilts are from the latter 19th century.

I mention these in specific because you don't have to take my word for it. You can go see these in person, they are on display. If you have the ability to visit any museum in Scotland that houses historic highland clothing (such as regimental museums who house uniforms), and ask them to see any kilt they have that is older than 1850, it will not be knife pleated.

Granted, all things considered, we don't have a lot of early nineteenth century kilts that survive. But was also have the pictoral and written record to support the fact that box pleating was at that time the dominant style. Virtually all of R. R. MacIan's paintings show box pleated kilts. Kenneth Macleay's paintings show box pleated kilts.

The _Book of the Club of the True Highlander_ in 1880 states that a kilt should have five and a half yards of cloth and should be box pleated. It calls knife pleating "incorrect."

For those who take issue with yardage and suggest that it makes no sense for the MoD to go from a low yardage kilt to a higher yardage kilt, please know that that is exactly what happened, and is documented in the historical record. In 1793 the Statistical Account of Scotland cites "four yards of tartan" as the norm for a philabeg. As I said previously, all earliest surviving military or civilian kilts had four yards, plus or minus. In 1870, in the Seaforth Highlanders Order of Dress, five yards is prescribed for the kilt. Even in the early twentieth century, many regimental kilts had six yards, not eight. This is all very well documented historically.

What there is no evidence of whatsoever is anyone wearing an eight yard knife pleated kilt in the eighteenth or early nineteenth century. Just none at all.

As an educator who has the privilege of serving as the Director of the only museum in North America dedicated to tartan and Highland Dress, and of being the only current non-Scottish member of the Scottish Tartans Authority, and who has been very fortunate to work closely with some of the leading researchers in the field of Highland Dress history, please be assured that everything that I write on the subject of the history and development of the kilt is based on fact, solid research, and all available evidence. It is most certainly not meant as a means of promoting my own kiltmaking business. As I said before, I have no problem with people who favor one style of pleating over another in their kilts and I make knife pleated as well as box pleated kilts. The fact that I am well known for box pleated kilts is due to two factors; as someone who has studied the history of the kilt I have written frequently about the subject, and the fact that lower yardage box pleated kilts are a recently revived style that most kilt makers do not offer, making me rather in the minority.

If anyone has any questions about the research, I encourage you to please email me at eogan@albanach.org and I'll be happy to go into more detail with you. I don't check this forum often and I'll be travelling quite a bit for the next week and half so please excuse any delay in replying.

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Should we genuflect, now?

Any chance we can take this off the soapboxes, and back on topic??

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Any chance we can take this off the soapboxes, and back on topic??

I could not agree more Tony, We have strayed so far off of the original topic just because one person likes their kilt pleated a different way then someone else.

We all like our kilts pleated different but it all went to hell in a hand basket when folks started with the "My style of pleats are more original than yours" argument (and yes it is an argument that has been going on for some time) and we got away from what the sister amongst you originally asked and I quote.

are the styles of pleats especially significant?

Now I have to take this as meaning "what is YOUR preference in pleats not who's pleats are more historically correct.

So get off the soapbox and get back to answering the lady's question.....

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I could not agree more Tony, We have strayed so far off of the original topic just because one person likes their kilt pleated a different way then someone else.

We all like our kilts pleated different but it all went to hell in a hand basket when folks started with the "My style of pleats are more original than yours" argument (and yes it is an argument that has been going on for some time) and we got away from what the sister amongst you originally asked and I quote.

Now I have to take this as meaning "what is YOUR preference in pleats not who's pleats are more historically correct.

So get off the soapbox and get back to answering the lady's question.....

Already done in my last Post :wavey:

Puffer

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Already done in my last Post :wavey:

Puffer

Didn't mean you Brother Jack...

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I am from England, but my mother's family originally came from Ireland, and I live in the USA. I own five kilts, all of them either relatively cheap or really cheap, and they all have knife pleats. I don't think anything in that price range has box pleats. Irish kilts were originally saffron, first worn by British Army pipers, then also green, for patriotic reasons, and only later tartan, and that mostly worn by Irish Americans, but I have all the above, plus a black one for good measure.

Notwithstanding all the debate, Matt quotes a book dated 1880 that shows that knife pleats were considered 'newfangled' at that time! I believe that's likely to be correct. Notice, I didn't say that's what the book actually said, it's merely my interpretation of the author's comment. For some odd reason, most people's interpretation of 'traditional' seems to mean 19th century or Victorian, and any older style seems to be either considered to be 'historical' or simply mistaken for new. I suppose they take traditional to mean what their grandfather wore, or would have worn, as in many cases their grandfathers wouldn't have been seen dead in a kilt!

OTOH, the earliest date for kilts in Ireland is somewhere between the 1850s and the 1890s, depending on who or what you care to believe. I've never seen a box-pleated Irish kilt, although I'm sure Matt could run one up. This may mean that box pleats were going out during that period, i.e. despite that author's assertion that knife pleats were 'incorrect' they were probably taking over.

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Gosh, I apologize for once again bringing this discussion back to the original posters questions and interrupting the great debate!

Yes, they are cheerful AND comfortable! That is why I wear them!

Where do I come from? I was born in California, but moved to Oregon when I was about 7 and consider myself an Oregonian.

My family history appears to be mostly German/Welsh.

As for are the styles of pleats especially significant? I will let the other "experts" here hash that out.

As for what I personally wear under MY kilt, I have to go with what many others have said.

As a general rule, I prefer to be comfortable, which is to say I enjoy the breeze.

However, depending on the function, I will wear something under it if I feel it is necessary depending on the circumstances/event I am attending.

I started wearing kilts (Mostly modern style) a few years ago simply because I like the way they look and the fact that they are very comfortable.

Not having a Scottish history the historical relevance is not as important to me as it is to others.

Although I very much enjoy learning the history, it plays less of a factor in my choice to wear kilts than to many others.

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I wear them for the comfort. At one time 50% of the wearing it was for the shock factor, but not anymore.

I wear knife pleats only, Why? because thats all I have no real reason on why I don't have any other style.

Around the house or if I need to make a quick run to the store, I normally wear just sandles or slippers under the kilt. If I'm going to be out and about for any real length of time then unusual boxers are on.

I started wearing kilts over three years ago. I all began at a Ren Fair. From that point on when I'm not at work or on the motorcycle the kilt is on.

My mom says there is some Irish in our family but it can't be traced

I currently have 10 kilts 7 are modern and three are tartan.

Hope I have helped.

Jim

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