One of the simple truths about writing this blog over the years is the concept that if there is something that I have a question about, usually there are quite a few of you out there that would appreciate a little re-fresher too. In that spirit of shared learning I’ve decided to bring to you a simple users guide to some of the most common fabric patterns on the market today. No longer will you feel sheepish when you call a tartan a madras or confuse your herringbone for your houndstooth. How mortifying would that be?! Do not despair – help is here.
Gingham Check – Generally a cross hatch of white and one other color in a tight and small check pattern.
Buffalo Check – Very similar to the gingham but in a bigger scale. Typically in red and black, but can be found in other colors. Nine times out of ten it is a flannel fabric as well.
Argyle – Generally a three color diamond pattern with a thin additional diamond pattern overlay.
Harlequin – Not to be confused with argyle – its another diamond pattern with three colors and generally a black or white background. Think Court jester – this is not a good look, ever.
Glen Plaid – Wool fabric with a woven twill – usually in two colors making a larger check pattern out of smaller check patterns. Think Pee wee herman. Almost always in a light grey.
Herringbone – Two colors, creating a repeating arrow pattern. Simple as that.
Houndstooth – Usually in black and white although can come in other colors. It’s distinct miss pacman looking repeated pattern is common in pillows, jackets, scarves and other apparel. A little goes a long way.
Madras – An interconnecting multi-color plaid where each color intersects to create a new darker hue.
Tartan Plaid – This scottish mainstay is actually quite complicated, but the tell tale characteristics are interconnecting bands at right angles in red green and yellow.
Tattersall – Two thin color bands intersecting at right angles to create an inverted check. Background is usually white.
Paisley – Distinct and obvious people. Almost looks like multi-colored feathers. Comes in many color versions.
Toile – Saving the best for last. This English classic is literally a story told through textile – usually featuring a historic event or other familiar scenes repeated throughout the fabric to create an intricate pattern. Used in wallpaper, blankets, pillows and generally for home design purposes.