Plaid or plaid – do you know the difference?

The word plaid brings to mind a woven textile with a criss-crossed pattern, often in the form of tartans and kilts. It has a few meanings and they also overlap!

A little over view of what a ‘Plaid’ is (and is not).

  • it is an old Scottish word for a blanket or wrap
  • it can mean the PATTERN in the textile
  • it can mean the whole piece of CLOTH
  • not all plaids are tartans
  • a tartan is a plaid pattern

A PLAID pattern is a criss cross pattern of 2 or more colours

A TARTAN is a plaid pattern connected to/used to identify a community such as a clan

A CHECK is a plaid with a regular pattern, usually 2 colours.

It is quite confusing! (Although I hope my overview helps). Particularly when it comes to identifying a plaid or a tartan. A tartan is a plaid but it distinguishes itself from other plaids because of its link to communities. Read more about tartan cloth here.

Varieties of Plaid

Here are a few styles of plaid: Belted, Fly, Arisaid, Shepherd’s, Piper’s & Drummer’s. They vary in length and the way that they are worn but are all criss-cross patterned woven fabric. The textiles could be up to 7 or 8 metres long which meant they were not only used for warmth, but as shelter, bedding, swaddling and identity.

Feather & Hay’s Bespoke Hand Woven Plaids

This textile offers rich and varied colours, a satisfying traditional pattern and a link to Scottish history where these woven shawls and wraps were used as part of every day life. Plaids were worn ceremoniously but were a garment with every day function too.

Choosing a key textile like a plaid is a stand against fast fashion. A F&H hand woven shawl is made with natural, luxurious British fibres and a gentle, traditional weaving process. They are to be worn & used every day. The classic design, quality fibres + high standards of weaving mean they are made to last many years ahead.

How can I get my own plaid woven?

When creating a bespoke Feather & Hay plaid the client can choose the colour combination, and length of the hand woven garment. This is a unique experience: working with the hand weaver to create your own fabric. Each run is very small and is woven to the client’s choices.

The client picks a weaving month (*when the textile will be woven on the loom), with colours, pattern and length on the website – here. Please note if you’d like help choosing colours, choose the option as ‘open’ to discuss colour choices later.

They are woven in Merino Lambswool (sometimes with a touch of Cashmere) and are finished with a small fringe on each end.

How long does it take?

Your textile will be hand woven in the month booked. The discussions/decisions for the design will need to be completed before this date. Delays with design decisions can impact the completion time of your plaid.

Other questions?