The difference between plaid and gingham is often a difficult one to decipher. These patterns are both considered checks, but they can look quite different from each other at first glance.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between plaid and gingham so you can decide which pattern is right for you!

What is plaid, exactly

Checkered patterns has been popularized into modern day because of its simplicity and versatility across different outfits whether you’re going out for dinner or grabbing some coffee downtown.

Plaid is a pattern that includes diagonal lines, usually in two colors. The different plaid patterns are created by adding more or less checks and changing up the spacing between them.

Some plaid designs have special or heritage meanings and you would need to know the history of the family (Scottish tartan) to understand the plaid design associated with their name. The word “plaid” comes from Scottish Gaelic meaning “blanket”.

What is gingham, exactly

Gingham is a cotton fabric with usually large checks or stripes that are often still plaid, but better known as gingham.

Gingham A plain-woven cloth with white and dyed yarns arranged in stripes or, more usually, balanced checks. From 1750 until circa 1800 these were of linen or a linen warp/cotton weft combination called fustian. Thereafter ginghams are increasingly all cotton cloths. The widths of the checks can be many sizes and the cloth itself of differing qualities.

Typically, this cloth is cheap to produce and often used for work clothes or upholstery cloth. Several origins of the name gingham have been suggested including ‘Guingamp’ in Brittany, where gingham was once manufactured extensively.

However, the Oxford English Dictionary derives the word from Malay ‘ginggang’ meaning striped.

Gingham vs plaid, explained

let us break it down for you! With plaids, the pattern is comprised of long stripes running vertically and horizontally and intersect with each other forming both large and small squares.

plaid vs gingham

Whereas when talking about ginghams, they have balanced checkered pattern which are interrupted by another color or line. It may also be described as having larger checks than plaid.

Furthermore, gingham check is made (or printed) on lightweight cotton fabrics which are very comfortable to wear while plaids are usually made from wool material (similar to flannel) that comes from sheep.

How to tell the difference between a plaid and gingham

  1. A plaid features vertical and horizontal stripes while gingham has checks or squares arranged in rows and columns, often contrasting.
  2. A Gingham is often use two colors or shades of one color while plaids can be made up of a variety of colors.
  3. Plaids are often made from wool while gingham check use lightweight cotton fabrics.
  4. Plaid uses both small and big squares, while gingham has large squares that intersect each other.
  5. Gingham may look similar to Tartan patterns, but there are several differences in design.

Tips for wearing either pattern with confidence

– Wear plaids with a another pattern like polka dots or stripes to add some interest.

– One plaid pattern at a time is enough to make an all-over plaid look.

– Pair gingham with solid colors that compliment the print design of your shirt.

– Gingham is best when it’s worn with neutrals such as white and black instead of bold colors like red or blue to keep from looking too girly or childish.

– For formal events, nothing is more professional than a tailored gingham.

– Gingham can be worn casually as well; just wear loose fitting jeans and layered tops paired with some accessories.

Wrapping Up

The two patterns are quite different in not only pattern and design, but also the history and background between each of the patterns. The most common uses of the two are clothing, decorating, aprons and children’s fashion.

Now that you know the difference between the two types, It may be easy to know whether you want a plaid or gingham fabric for your clothing item. But it’s worth trying both before making up mind because they do offer slightly different options.