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    How do Legionnaires get those creases into their shirts ?

    Paul L Murphy

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    One of the key points about the French Foreign Legion uniform is the set of regulation creases which must be ironed into the shirt. I have a number of Leigon uniforms, ranging from the 2002 Terre de France uniform back to uniforms from the 1920s in Sahara, and in a number (especially from Algeria and Indochina) I would like to know how to get the creases back into the shirts ?

    Does Chris (or any other member) know exactly how you can get the measurements correct and the order in which it must be done since it looks a nightmare !

    Thanks in advance.


    Edited by Paul L Murphy
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    when shirts are brand new and unissued it is a reeeeal pain. After that the traces of the creases remain in, even after washing, and you can just re-iron them in.

    We learned (In Castel) that the 3 above the front pocketes had to be 3.5cm apart and the 3 vertical and 2 lateral on the back 5.3cm. the teo on each arm also 5.3.

    An old NCO later showed us the 5.3 were the length of a matchbox, the 3.5 the breadth.

    Once you have them in a shirt it is easy to redo them.... new shirts were a great pain!

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    Is there an order in which you need to do them since I can easily imagine you struggling to keep the earlier crease firm while putting in a new crease elsewhere on the shirt if you were not careful ?

    Best regards,


    Edited by Paul L Murphy
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    If I remember correctly, In the front you folded the one side of the shirt so a crease formed between the button of the epaulet to the middle of the pocket. Held it down and got someone to hit it with an Iron. From there you measured 3.5 cm and did the same on either side.

    Then the other side.

    On the arm you did it the width of the epaulet... difficulty is to get these ones straight so they dont go off at an angle... have to put the shirt on and someone to put some pins in to show the natural "drop" of the lines.

    On the bck it is easiest, the three verticle ones are done by folding the shirt in half, doing the cresa, then 5.3cm to either side. Lateral crease is easy after that.

    You then have to go back and see all is OK and that you have not folded of creased it otherwise, but once those are in you are OK.



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    Hello readers:

    I am glad not to have been exposed to the mentioned above "mandatory" crease fittings in view of Chris' described application,while serving from 1951 to 1957. I did see some fancy ironing work on both summer and winter uniforms which I am sure depended a great deal on having a. the inclination, b. the time and b. last but not least the necessary iron ( electrical or "gasp" coal heated). A decent crease of the pants were desired however and always managed but that thank heaven was the extent of it.

    A small but justified uproar was caused when a new colonel instituted the mandatory whitewash of pistol belts and gaiters for parade. The stuff was next to impossible to remove afterwards and while not important re. the gaiters (which were not worn on active service anyway) pistol belts being only issued one setto the man made nice targets. I must believe sanity set in because this item fell by the wayside. Somewhat surprising concerning the above because I served in the 1er REC and cavalry units were known to be special in many ways. Some cavalry regulations etc could cause confusion when one was transferred to the infantry but I am going astray.

    Bernhard H. Holst

    ex mle 80921

    2 eme GA-1er REC

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    As an aside, in Tangier in 1991 I noticed quite a few police officers had their shirts ironed 'Legionnaire-style' although it clearly was not mandatory. I wonder if they'd served in the Legion and the habit was ingrained... or perhaps it was a subtle way of bragging?

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    • 2 years later...

    In the modern US military, they're largely away of bragging.

    "Strack lines" as they're called are still popular in the US Army on the Class "B" shirt (soon to be white, worn with light blue trousers). While I have never heard of them being officially mandatory, vertical creases in the front of the shirt matches to the breast pocket buttons, creases in the sleeves and creases in the back are ironed in for inspections and by most officers and senior NCOs for everyday wear. However, the Army Combat Uniform is worn for duty everywhere but schools and certain headquarters units, and since ironing or pressing the ACU is not authorized, they are rarely seen.

    Strack lines are also worn by the Marine Corps and Navy. They seem to be rarer in the Air Force (which prefers just sleeve creases).



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