What is Tartan? What is Plaid?

Happy National Tartan Day! With a nod to my Scottish great-great-great-great-grandfather this day (and because I adore textiles!), I thought I'd briefly explain the difference between tartan and plaid.




The term "tartan" refers to a pattern of threads woven together. There are many different tartans, and Scottish clans traditionally hold claim to one particular tartan.

The term "plaid" refers to a length of cloth, of a tartan pattern, wrapped and draped about the Scotsman, as shown below.


Image credit here.
So, tartan is a pattern, and plaid is a garment.

And that lovely tartan ribbon (above)...well, look for that to show up trimming a Christmas stocking for the shop later this year. But until then, have a Happy National Tartan Day!




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