The tartan guide part 1

The tartan guide part 1

Tartan defined, number 1:

In the most general terms, tartan is a type of checked pattern. As a reminder, a check is a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that create small squares and that can incorporate multiple colors though it does not necessarily have to. It can also be further enhanced by an overcheck in a different color.

Tartan defined, number 2:

More specifically, tartan is a pattern of intersecting horizontal and vertical bands in differing widths and colors and in its most traditional weave, would be considered a serge twill. Tartans alternating weave forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross and can also give the appearance of creating new colors where these lines intersect. Tartans originated almost exclusively in woven wool but today, you can find them in a variety of other materials. And while the definition of a tartan was originally one that was made only from a woven material, you can also find tartans today that are printed instead of woven. In traditional Scottish Gaelic, tartan is known as “breacan” which means multiple colors. As late as the 1830s, a tartan did not actually have to be made up of any pattern at all, just multiple colors but since then, the meanings of tartan and “breacan” merged over time to become known as a certain pattern in a certain type of weave.

Where does the term “plaid” come into play? number 1:

Especially in the United States, tartans are generally referred to by the more generic term plaid. In Scotland, a plaid is a garment, not a pattern. Specifically, it refers to a long rectangular strip of cloth worn over the shoulder usually the left and that can be folded or unfolded to be used as a blanket. Also, these cloths can be hand pleated and worn with a belt in which case, they would be referred to as belted plaids and are worn in place of a conventional kilt which has pleats sewn in.

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