Pop Quiz: Tucks vs Pleats pt.2

tucked_vintage_dressI have the idea people aren’t going to like the answer to the quiz very much; like I said, wars have been started under flimsier pretexts.

Let’s focus on what we can agree upon. Judging from comments, no one would disagree that

  • a full length stitched fold is a tuck.
  • a full length unsewn fold (released) is a pleat.

The grey area is when it comes to partial stitching and partial releasing.

At this point I had intended to write:
“You can’t pick up a pattern book that does not describe partially sewn folds as tucks”

But no! I picked up Armstrong -the most popular book these days (note I said popular, not best)- and a quick look resulted in much sighing on my part because I see she is the likely culprit for today’s ambiguity because she only shows fully sewn tucks. Worse, she hedges by describing them as “pleat tucks”. The result? I have an idea from whence this rampant confusion has come.

So now I have to revise my intended statement to:
Pick up any professional drafting book published since the dawn of time -other than Armstrong- and you will see partially stitched and fullness released folds being described as “tucks”. Connie Crawford goes into much more tuck detail and instruction.

So the difference is, if there is stitching however limited to hold a fold into place and whether that stitching is from the wrong side or is top stitched, it is technically a tuck. Unsewn folds (their fold held in place by a cuff, yoke, waistband, heat or chemistry) are pleats.

This could mean that the pleat/tuck on the end of men’s dress shirt sleeves could technically be both tucks or pleats depending.  The fold would be a tuck if the fold were partially sewn into shape before the cuff was added. The fold would be a pleat if the fabric was not sewn, merely folded as it was joined to the cuff.

Note: the photo at right is of tucks. Photo courtesy of Vintage Detail.

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