is truly an emotive fabric, and over the past
50 years or so has developed into a multi-million
pound industry, dominated by a small number of
large conglomerate mills.
tartan has a unique record of textile history
and, along with the kilt and bagpipes, has come
to symbolise the cultural identity of the whole
Tartan is a pattern consisting
of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical stripes
in multiple colours, and is particularly associated
with Scotland, with the Scottish kilt almost always
having a tartan pattern. Originating in woven
wool, but now made in many other materials.
Tartan is one of the patterns known as plaid
in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is
a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder, or a blanket.
Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured
(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 colours cross,
which give the appearance of new colours blended
from the original ones. The resulting blocks of
colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a
distinctive pattern of squares and lines known
as a sett.
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the law was repealed in 1782, it was no longer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.
the middle of the nineteenth century, the highland
tartans were associated with regions or districts,
rather than by any specific clan.
This was because tartan designs were produced
by local weavers for local tastes and would tend
to make use of the natural dyes available in that
The patterns were
different regional checked cloth patterns, chosen
and worn simply based on preference - in the same
way as people nowadays choose what colours and
patterns they prefer in their clothing. Thus,
it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that
specific tartans became associated with Scottish
clans or Scottish families, or simply institutions
who were (or wished to be seen as) associated
in some way with a Scottish heritage.
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. Today tartan is no longer limited to
textiles but is used on non-woven mediums, such
as paper, plastics, packaging, and wall coverings.
clan tartan represents your clan, however it does
not necessarily mean this was the same tartan
your ancestors wore hundreds of years ago. Traditionally,
Highlanders would have chosen any tartan, depending
on local availability. You are quite free to do
the same. However, today tartan can now hold special
meaning, to the wearer, and whenever you wear
a tartan you are identifying yourself with whatever
that particular tartan represents, be it a district,
corporation, family or clan etc. In most cases
a person will wear a tartan that they feel identifies
them with some part of their heritage.
Whether or not there is a tartan representative
of your surname, there is nothing wrong with wearing
a tartan other than this.
many new tartans are designed as 'fashion' tartans.
In many cases these are created with some fanciful
'theme' in mind, or to simply produce some aesthetic
design. (These tartans having no connection with
any heritage or history at all).
However the wonderful thing about tartan is, quite
simply, if the wearer takes enjoyment from and
appreciates the tartan, that's all that matters.
some of the above information has been shared
under a CC
license - Source: Wikipedia.