Pattern Names for Plaid and Checkered Update 07/2022

Checkered and plaid patterns are everywhere during the holiday season. From the bright Buffalo Check to the intricate Madras Plaid, you can find dozens of these designs. Find your perfect pattern by learning all the numerous names for plaid and checkered patterns.

The intersecting vertical and horizontal lines of plaid and checkered patterns are either printed or woven. The vertical and horizontal stripes of plaid patterns are both intricate and varied, and they come in a variety of hues. To create a checkerboard effect, a design must be symmetrical and recurring in only two colors.

To better understand the most popular plaid and checkered patterns, read on. You’ll also learn about the history of tartan plaids from Scotland. The checkered aesthetic will finally be revealed to you.

Checkered Pattern Names

What is a Checkered Pattern?

A checkered pattern consists of alternating horizontal and vertical lines that are symmetrically crossed. This pattern can include more than two colors, but the color pattern will also repeat symmetrically in this case. There are a few notable outliers, such as the Argyle check’s slanted diamond squares, but for the most part, checkered fabrics feature the familiar checkerboard pattern.

However, the pattern size of a checkered design might vary. Wool suits and coats with houndstooth or gingham patterns, for example, may have a fine grid of repeated squares. Larger squares, however, are increasingly common in more recent designs, such as a buffalo check.

Contrary to popular belief, the basic design of these designs can be customized in an almost limitless number of ways! Check patterns are popular in suits, but they’re also seen on dresses and blouses for ladies.

What is a Plaid Pattern?

Plaid patterns have intersecting lines of varied widths crisscrossing vertical and horizontal lines. Although this design is traditionally woven into the fabric, modern plaids may also use printed patterns. Originally known as Tartan plaids, these patterns were used to identify Scottish clans.

In contrast to checks, plaids have a more complicated design, with lines of varying widths and colors, making them more visually appealing. All bands of color vary in width, therefore plaid designs have broad symmetry but don’t look like a checkerboard because each sett repeats.

When the English invaded Scotland and tried to outlaw the wearing of plaid, it quickly evolved into a national symbol for the Scots. There is also a Gaelic word for a blanket in plaid’s name!

There are several clan-specific tartan plaid designs for kilts and other ceremonial attire in use today. The Black Watch plaid is one of the most well-known of these patterns.

The name and history of each each checkered pattern is unique. However, the fact that checkered patterns have been popular for so long demonstrates that people enjoy the familiarity and repetition of this type of design. Over the last few hundred years, the widespread use of checks has resulted in a wide variety of check designs.

The argyle check pattern, for example, is named for its distinctive diagonal checks in the diamond-shaped check pattern. Here is a quick guide of the most popular checkered patterns in the world!


This simple red and black check design has bold, repeated squares made by crossing red and black stripes of fabric and is commonly referred to as “buffalo plaid.” Flannel is the most common fabric used for this pattern. Cotton or synthetic fibers can be used to make flannel, but it always has at least one side that is soft and velvety due to the bristles that are used to brush the cloth.

Because of public relations efforts to portray lumberjacks as a symbol of American power and independence, this iconic American design has huge, bold squares. The marketing was a success, as buffalo plaid is still in style today.


A traditional Argyle checkered design may not immediately conjure up images of a checkerboard. As a result, this check design has been a staple in the fashion industry for decades. Diagonal stripes of color form diamond shapes in the material, frequently layered with narrow diagonal lines of another color that create an overlay of another set of diamond shapes.

You may say that this symmetrical lozenge design is a plaid because it comes from Clan Argyll in Scotland! Men’s sweaters and dress socks are still the most common places to see this check pattern today, but women’s sweater vests are also a popular place to see it.


Using squares of two different colors to create a checkerboard pattern is the simplest and most basic check pattern there is. Colors like pink and green or red and grey, among others, are likely to be printed on the cloth today. With two colors of threads, this design might have used twill weave to create square patterns of contrasting hues in the past.

The appeal of this edgy style fluctuates frequently in the fashion industry. This pattern can still be found on some sweaters and tennis skirts nowadays.


Ichimatsu checks, also known as ichimatsu moyo designs, have a checkerboard-like appearance. The Japanese kimono’s use of alternating squares of color has a long history. It was originally referred to as “stone pavement” in Japanese because of its recurring shape.

The design was popularized by a well-known Kabuki actor in Japan. Because of its endlessly repeating squares, the design today symbolizes prosperity. It’s easy to visualize a bank account overflowing with dollars if you wear this outfit.


A windowpane check is distinct from other checkered patterns in that it has thin lines that create boxes against a solid-colored background, rather than squares. The design’s name comes from the fact that it resembles the old-fashioned lead inserts used to hold window panes of glass together.

It’s hard to mistake windowpane checks for the more cartoonish checkered patterns. Because of this, windowpane checks have remained fashionable in today’s refined suit and jacket designs.

Black and White Checkered Patterns

These patterns are available in a variety of hues, however there are some that are particularly popular in black and white. Checks in this style range from the traditional tweed to the more modern plaid.


Checkered houndstooth features a unique staggered square design made by intersecting warp and weft threads in a twill weave pattern that creates a very unique staggered square design. Although houndstooth patterns can be found in a variety of colors, black and white is the most common color combination. Due to the jagged nature of its teeth, it has been given this moniker.

For a long, long time, suits and jackets have been made using this pattern.. For example, one of Christian Dior’s early fashion shows featured it! Wool jackets, suits, and other formal attire for men and women now feature it.

Shepherd’s CheckShepherd’s check looks very much like a regular checkerboard design featuring even squares in two colors, usually black and white. However, this design always uses a twill weave that creates cool two-toned squares within the design. Shepherd’s check usually has very small squares, unlike the basic checkerboard, which can have quite large squares.

Although the houndstooth design is a household name, shepherd’s check patterns can be seen in flannel shirts, scarves, and other comfortable apparel.

Tattersall Check

Tattersall checks are similar to windowpane designs, except that two sets of tiny squares are superimposed on top of each other instead. Instead of employing a printing procedure, these small squares are frequently weaved into the cloth. This pattern can be found in a variety of colors and patterns, including the traditional black and white or springtime pastels.

Tattersall, a horse market in an English district, was the genesis of this sort of checkered design. Horse merchants would wrap their horses in “tattersall”-style blankets. In today’s fashion world, this style is most commonly seen on men’s suits, coats, and even sweaters.

Small Checkered Pattern

Small squares rather than huge squares are common in several checkered patterns. Most ginghams and graph checks, as well as tiny and pin checks, fall within this category.


In a Dupplin check, a windowpane check is placed on top of another check, such as a checkerboard or houndstooth check, creating a complex pattern. In a number of hues, you can buy this. It usually results in a design that is more relaxed and less formal.

A well-known Dupplin castle may be found in Scotland, which would imply that this pattern has Scottish tartan plaid as its ancestry. Today, casual flannel or cotton shirts typically feature this detailed checked pattern.


Gingham is a material, not just a checkered pattern. But the classic American checkered pattern, which is typically painted in soft pastel shades like pale blue, blush pink, or deep red, is a checkered design! The basic little squares of gingham are still popular, but you can purchase it in a variety of sizes these days.

When it comes to gingham, you can never go wrong with 100% cotton or a cotton blend. It gained popularity during the heyday of the cotton industry in the South prior to the Civil War and continues to do so today due to its bright and joyful appearance.

Glen Check

It’s not uncommon to hear people refer to the Glen check pattern as a “Glen plaid” because of the variety of checks used in the pattern. There are many squares filled with different types of checks, such as houndstooth checks, to produce a sett in the plaid design.

Although the Prince of Wales wore it in countless historic appearances, this fanciful design can still be seen in select suiting materials today.

Glen Check designs are typically found in subtle black and white or greys, rather than a more vibrant color combination.

Graph Check

Windowpane checks in miniature form are what we mean by a graph check. Squares are made up of tiny, delicate lines arranged on a solid color background. Its appearance is reminiscent of graph paper, therefore it’s easy to see how it acquired its name!

This virtually undetectable pattern can be dressed up in an exquisite suit or used as a beautiful backdrop for a pair of jeans with a more laid-back vibe. As a result, it is difficult to trace the origins of this pattern. Instead, it appears to be a modern reinterpretation of the more conventional windowpane check pattern. From women’s dresses to men’s button-down shirts, you can now locate it.

Mini Check

The word “mini check” refers to any little checkered pattern, such as a gingham or a checkerboard, that is used in clothing. These come in a variety of bright or pastel hues and are commonly worn on skirts and shirts for a more relaxed, upbeat look.

Depending on what you’re looking for, you might try searching for a certain sort of cloth such as a mini-check wool, gingham, or even flannel. Some of the checks may be houndstooth, windowpane, or simple gingham squares.

Pin Check

Those tiny squares in pin check fabric are so tiny that they look like the head of a sewing needle! This fabric appears to be a solid color from a distance due of the small design. Stripes of just one yarn cross another in the cloth to create the tiny squares in this fabric.

Shirts and jackets are typically decorated with this refined pattern. As a reminder, don’t mix this pattern with pin checks—they still feature tiny squares, like all checked patterns!

There are hundreds of plaid patterns to choose from today, ranging from the traditional Scottish clan tartans to the American catch-all of intersecting stripes. Checks, gingham, and any other sort of variegated stripes in a fabric are all considered part of the “plaid” pattern by some fashion designers.

Many of the well-known plaid patterns that are still popular today originate from a single Scottish clan, and plaid originated in Scotland in the highlands of the country.

The regular symmetry of a checked design is absent from plaid designs, which instead have repeating setts. To put it simply, a sett is a portion of the plaid pattern all to itself.

Glen Plaid

Famously dubbed the Prince of Wales plaid and known as the Glen Check design, this plaid helped bring plaid into the high-fashion world. There are squares of checks in this pattern, as well as squares of a different color that are superimposed in a thin line.

Pattern registered in 1840, but became famous when employed by Countess of Urqhart castle for winter staff uniform in a warm wool design. Seeing the crew in their sharp uniforms as the prince of Wales, King Edward VII adapted the design for a few of his own suits!

Madras Plaid

Madras plaid is a unique kind of the plaid pattern that has its roots in India and is made from a lighter weight cotton that is printed with bright, summery patterns. Men and women in the Philipines in the 1800s wore this cloth to produce breathable saya skirts and loose-fitting pants. While madras plaid has traditionally been made out of fading, light hues created by natural vegetable and plant dyes, today’s version may feature more vibrant stripes and squares!

Madras plaid can now be found on anything from canvas shorts to summer shirts to beachwear to sandals and shoes for the warmer months.

Burberry Plaid

Burberry plaid, often known as Burberry check, has a tan backdrop with thin square grids overlaid on top of it. In the 1920s, the famed Burberry clothing firm created this pattern to promote a new line of wool coats. Using the Burberry check as a prestige symbol, the company made a fortune selling everything from skirts to scarves during the 1990s.

Burberry’s check design has been considerably reduced in use by the corporation as of this writing. You can still get your hands on some vintage Burberry check things!

Famous Plaid Patterns

Many plaid patterns have a rich history or a dedicated fan base, but only a select few can lay claim to being the most well-known. Famous plaids include those used by the Royal Stuart and Black Watch regiments, for example.

Royal Stewart

The red and green tartan design, which dates back to the 1830s, has long been associated with the Stewart dynasty. It’s the plaid design that Queen Elizabeth II owns today! It’s the most recognizable of all tartan patterns, with a bright red backdrop and varied thicknesses of blue, green, and yellow lines.

During the Christmas season in the United States, this tartan is frequently worn. This tartan is technically owned by the Queen of England, yet it is worn and enjoyed by people all around the world.

Black Watch

As a way to distinguish themselves from other Scottish clans and organizations, the Black Watch Tartan was created for usage by various Scottish military formations. For more than two centuries, the Black Watch plaid has been worn by numerous Scottish military units. Hunter green, navy blue, and black stripes of various widths meet in this patchwork.

Despite its long and colorful history, the plaid is still incredibly popular today thanks to its global appeal. In the eyes of those who don’t hail from the Scottish Highlands, Black Watch is a worldwide plaid that everyone can wear!

Scottish Plaid Names

Because most true tartan patterns arose as a distinguishing marking for Scottish clans, most plaids have Scottish names and origins. Clan members could be identified by the kilts or plaids they wore, which were woven in this characteristic pattern.

The following is a list of some of the most commonly used words and varieties of plaids in Scotland.


“Tartan” is a slang term for any sort of Scottish plaid or for a woven design that utilizes intersecting horizontal and vertical lines to create grids. A “clan tartan” could be used to describe a particular clan’s distinctive plaid pattern. The word tartan may have come from the French word “Tartaine,” which translates to checks.

This can be a little misleading because the term tartan can be used to describe any plaid design in the United States. If you’d like a skirt to go around the base of your Christmas tree, you can buy tartans in that style.

Both generic and specialized terminology are acceptable when discussing tartans for the sake of practicality. If you’re looking for a specific tartan design that belongs only to a specific Scottish clan, you can discover it. Tartan can also refer to any plaid design, therefore you can use it as a general phrase.

Clan Wallace

The red and black Clan Wallace dress tartan or the green and blue Clan Wallace hunting tartan are two examples of the Clan Wallace tartan. Traditional plaids like this one, which resembles the Rob Roy tartan, are still in demand since numerous prominent designers popularized them in the early 1900s.

As anyone who has seen Braveheart can tell you, Clan Wallace has a profound historical significance in Scottish history. However, you can now find this clan tartan on a variety of items, including 3M Scotch tape.


Balmoral tartan

This tartan features a brilliant red backdrop, black stripes, and a variety of fine yellow and green lines. The plaid was notably fashioned in 1853 by Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband), and it has remained in the British royal family ever since. If you’ve ever seen Balmoral Castle, you’ll recognize the castle’s streaked granite!

Her Majesty’s approval is required for anyone to wear this particular plaid pattern today. However, plaid apparel products such as shirts and jackets are full with identical motifs!


It was not until the 1800s that the clan Lindsay’s tartan was officially recognized in Scottish history. The dark red and blue stripes in this plaid combine to produce an interesting pattern of squares. This tartan, like most clan tartans, should only be worn by members of the clan.

Clan Lindsay kilts and other memorabilia are still in high demand, in part because of the large geographic reach of the clan today.

Plaid Vs Checkered

As a rule, checkered patterns are more symmetrical and basic, whereas plaid patterns tend to be a little more complex. Another important difference is the history of plaid patterns in Scotland.

Buffalo plaid, which is technically a checkered design but appears in popular culture as “plaid” flannel shirts, is an example of how the phrases can be used interchangeably.

In all honesty, the terms “checkered” and “plaid” have a lot in common when it comes to fashion. Clad designs may be viewed as a subcategory of plaid designs in some situations by some designers.

For example, patterns like Madras plaid and the windowpane checkered pattern are frequently referred to as checkered plaids.

You may expect a lot of plaid and checkered patterns in the designs because of the crisscrossing vertical and horizontal lines. There’s no need to worry about this distinction unless you’re looking for a specific type of pattern.

Checkered Pattern Aesthetic

A checkered pattern aesthetic has emerged from the revival of retro styles, according to several designers. The checkered design may be appealing to you, too, whether you’re browsing gingham gowns or adding houndstooth throw cushions to your Amazon wish list!

Plaids and checks have been fashionable in various versions for hundreds of years, even though fashion trends come and go. If you look in your closet right now, you’ll see plenty of clothing with checkered or plaid patterns.

If you’re going for a complete appearance, you’ll need to include checks into your home decor or personal style. You may wear a houndstooth coat with windowpane checkered slacks or a buffalo plaid table runner in your dining room!

Gingham Vs Plaid

Checkered gingham is a sort of cotton fabric with squares that are all the same size; plaid, on the other hand, has stripes that are all different widths. Both gingham and plaid patterns have right-angle intersections of contrasting color stripes. The uniform squares in a gingham pattern make it too simple and symmetrical to be considered a tartan plaid.

Pre-dyed plain-weave cotton in two colors: white and another, such as red or blue, is commonly used in gingham. Take a cue from Dorothy’s famous blue and white frock in The Wizard of Oz.

Gingham can now be found in a wide variety of clothing items, including dress shirts, skirts, and dresses.


Crossing horizontal and vertical stripes is a common feature of plaid and checkered patterns. As a result, the squares on checks are usually equally spaced. Stripes of varied widths are used in plaid patterns to create less symmetrical designs.

Scotland was the birthplace of plaid design, which was first used to identify Highland clans in the early 17th century. In the world of plaids and checks, each pattern has a unique name and history. While the tattersall check pattern was named after horse blankets sold at an old horse market, the Balmoral tartan is owned by the British royal family.

Which type of plaid or checkered fabric is your personal favorite? What is it about it that you find most appealing? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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