Tartan

burberry

black watch

Tartan [tahr-tn] is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors that originated in Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is also known as ‘plaid’ in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder, or a blanket. The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to bring the warrior clans under government control by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture. When the law was repealed in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress, but was adopted instead as the symbolic national dress of Scotland. It is generally stated that the most popular tartans today are the Black Watch (also known as Old Campbell, Grant Hunting, Universal, Government) and Royal Stewart.

Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.

 

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