Gingham or Checks?

Whatever we call it, checked prints are here to stay. It is difficult to find someone who says they don't like a checked blouse. But the checked we know  is often referred to in other terms such as gingham, plaids or houndstooth. So what is the difference?


  • Checked, Gingham and Shepard's Checks
The term Checked that we use most frequently is actually least frequently found in our clothing these days. Checked prints are made of two solid colours, placed in-alternate and forming uniform squares. The squares do not interlock. It is most commonly seen at the finishing line of the F1 race. Gingham is more commonly seen these days. It also consists of two solid colours but due to the weaving or interlocking, there appears to be a third blended colour. Gingham prints are also uniformly placed as little squares. Shepard's Checks is another variation to the uniformly-placed squares except that it is on a twill background, thus you will see "striped sloping lines" on the frame of each square.
- Checked print - 
- Gingham print - 
- Shepard's checks print -
  • Plaid, Tartan and Madras

Don't know how Plaids look like? Think about the famous Burberry's signature print. Usually two or three coloured lines of different width interlocked to form a pattern. Due to the different width of the lines, rectangular shapes are formed instead. Tartan is similar to plaids except there is usually three or four colours introduced to the interlocking pattern. Another variation is Madras, which consists of multiple colours, usually bright cheerie tones. As the name suggests, Madras originated from India and is usually worn during summer.

- Plaid print - 


     - Tartan print -


    Madras Print

    - Madras print - 



    • Houndstooth
    Houndstooth is a deriative from the traditional checked - every square has a notched corner. Houndstooth print is most commonly seen in black and white tones.
    • Window-pane or Graph Checks
    Window-panes are simply thin lines interlocking to form big squares. Graph checks are exactly the same except the squares are smaller thus looking like graph paper.
    - Window-panes print - 
    - Graph print - 
    These are just some of the common " checked" prints. If you take colour and fabric into consideration, the variation is endless. I don't really think anyone needs to remember all these terms since most of these are collectively referred to as "checked" by most people. It is just good-to-know and when someone speaks of a tartan dress, you know what she is referring to.