Identifying Plaids

From the tartans of the Scottish to Kurt Cobain, plaids have been around a long time. Over time in addition to the tartan or plaid, other distinct types of plaids have been designed. Let’s take a look at a few of them here.

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1) Tartan: A tartan was worn over the shoulder as a kilt accessory for the Scottish in the 1500s. The tartans were hand woven with pre-dyed wool. The appearance of the tartan was different according to the availability of dye or yarn in the region it was woven. Later these differences translated into identification of Scottish Clans or communities. All tartans are plaids. All plaid are not tartans.


Revolution pattern, Rothbury. Buy it  here !

Revolution pattern, Rothbury. Buy it here!

2) Buffalo Plaid: This is an all over check pattern with big squares formed by the intersection of two different colored yarns. How did it get to America? Big Jock McCluskey was a Scottish Highlander who came to Canada. The red and black check tartan he wore was from his clan in Scottland. McCluskey survived by hunting buffalo. Eventually he decided trading with the Indians was a better way to live. He traded his red and black checked tartan for buffalo pelt. Sioux and Cheyenne warriors referred to it as buffalo plaid.

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3) Gingham: A gingham plaid is a small balanced check. There are a lot of countries who have used  this fabric in the earlier. It is hard to determine who invented it. For me it will always be the fabric that made Dorothy’s dress in the wizard of Oz.

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4) Madras: Madras Plaid originated in Chennai India. Chennai was formerly known as Madras. The fabric was handwoven with yarns died with vegetable colorings. In India they were associated with the peasant class.

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5) Window Pane: The windowpane plaid looks like a grid created by the panes in a window.

As you can see, the plaid is as diverse as America! Which one is your favorite?