What is Gingham (Fabric): Everything You Should Know

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Learn all about what is gingham. Have you ever wondered about the red and white fabric used as a picnic tablecloth or in many dresses? This fabric is known as gingham and has been on the market for some time already. This lightweight fabric features a check pattern and is used to make dresses, shirts, children’s clothing, and warm weather apparel.

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What is Gingham What is Gingham OriginWhat is Gingham Used ForWhat is Gingham and Its Rise in PopularityWhat is Gingham Paired With?What is Gingham’s Perfect SeasonWhat is Gingham vs PlaidWhat is Gingham Used For in Other Countries How to Wash GinghamWashing Cotton GinghamWhat is Gingham – In ConclusionMore Fabric Articles

What is Gingham

Wondering “What is Gingham”? Well, gingham is considered to be a light to medium-weight woven cotton blend that features check, striped, or plaid patterns. When originally made, the fabric featured a striped pattern but later came to be synonymous with a plaid or checkered pattern.

Gingham fabric usually comes in very distinct colors; A white background with a colored check. Common combinations are white/red and white/blue, but these are not the only options. The checkered pattern varies depending on the designer and can come as small or large checks.

Because it is made from a cotton blend, this type of fabric is cool and breathable and can come as a lightweight or medium-weight cloth.

Interestingly, the gingham fabric doesn’t have a front or back side since both have the same appearance. This is because the fibers in this fabric are dyed before they are woven together.

What is Gingham Origin

The origin of the word ‘gingham’ isn’t quite clear. Some accounts say that it came from the Malay word ‘genggang’, which means ajar or separate. Some also say that the word ‘gingham’ is derived from Guingamp, which made the fabric. Some other sources indicate that the word may have come from the Dutch.

Originally, the gingham had a striped pattern, but during the 18th century, when the fabric began being produced in Manchester, England, it came with a plaid or checked pattern. The original colors used for gingham were blue and white. Over time, the checked pattern for gingham became a lot more common than the striped ones. The striped-pattern gingham lasted until the late Victorian era.

When gingham was imported to France, the name gingham was changed to Vichy because the French thought that it came from the town of Vichy in France. People from Spain also call gingham Vichy.

Originally, gingham fabric was used to make various dresses, skirts, and shirts. The fabric is also popular in home furnishings like curtains, tea towels and cushions.

What is Gingham Used For

There are a plethora of ways for you to use gingham. Whether it is for practical use or decorative use, gingham is a great cloth to work with because it is durable and easy to sew. Not only is gingham an easy to find type of cloth, but it is also less expensive compared to other types of fabric.

What is Gingham Used For:

CLOTHING – Dresses, skirts, shirts, and some other types of clothing can be made using gingham. With the gingham fabric, you can make attires that are perfect for the summer season.CURTAINS – Curtains can also be made using gingham fabric. These curtains will tend to be colorful and would make a great addition to the aesthetic of your home.TABLE SETTINGS – Additionally, you can use the gingham fabric as a type of tablecloth and table napkin. The tablecloths made from gingham can also be used for picnics.CUSHIONS – Gingham can also be used in making decorative cushions. These cushions can actually be a great pair with your gingham curtains.

There are a lot more you can do with the gingham fabric. You can make some quilts, tote bags, basket liners, aprons, and other types of crafts using gingham.

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What is Gingham and Its Rise in Popularity

During the 1940s, when the economy was make-do-and-mend due to the war, gingham started its rise to popularity. What made gingham popular back then was because it was easy to obtain and it did not cost a whole lot. Durability is also a great advantage that gingham holds over many other types of fabric.

Gingham was quite a popular icon in pop culture back then. A famous poem called The Duel written by Eugene Field mentioned a duel between a calico cat (calico is another type of fabric) and a gingham dog. Gingham fabric was also popularized by Tell Taylor’s song “Down by the Old Mill Stream”. The lyrics of the song mentioned gingham and this made the fabric increase in popularity at that time.

There was a time in France when there was a shortage of gingham fabric because of Brigitte Bardot, a famous French singer, and actress. Brigitte looked stunning in her gingham wedding dress and this made the fabric become quite a trend in France.

A well-known Japanese girl group called AKB48 used the gingham pattern as an aesthetic for their hit single “Gingham Check”. Gingham’s popularity also quickly rose to fame due to the 1944 film called Wizard of Oz where the protagonist of the story, Dorothy Gale, was seen wearing a cute gingham dress. Dorothy Gale wore a blue and white gingham dress in both the book and movie.

Furthermore, gingham was mentioned in the song “My Human Gets Me Blues” by Captain Beefheart. In the sing, Captain Beefheart mentioned dancing in a gingham dress. In the American sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”, a character named Mary Ann Summers was known to frequently wear a gingham dress.

What is Gingham Paired With?

Want to know what is gingham paired with? Well, Gingham fabric goes perfectly well with many other types of fabric. Nonetheless, it is more noticeable when paired with dark solid color pieces such as dark skinny jeans and a dark purse. Ultimately, solid color is a great match for the different types of gingham clothing.

Patterns that go well with gingham include polka-dots, floral patterns, leopard, flannel, and nearly all bright-colored patterns. Combining gingham fabrics with other fabrics with a bright pattern will give a great result.

What is Gingham’s Perfect Season

Just like any other type of clothing, gingham has a season in which it is perfectly suited. Since gingham is a lightweight fabric, it goes perfectly well with the summer heat. In the fashion industry, gingham starts to roll out during summer together with other bright-colored patterns such as polka dots and florals.

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However, just because gingham is perfectly suited for the summer season doesn’t mean that it be worn during other seasons. If you want to wear gingham in other seasons, it is best to consider the color of your gingham fabric and the other type of fabric you will be wearing to ensure compatibility.

What is Gingham vs Plaid

The main difference that distinguishes gingham from plaid is the pattern itself. A plaid pattern uses varying colors and sizes whilst gingham only uses white and another type of color. Also, unlike plaid, the horizontal and vertical line sizes in gingham are all equal.

What is Gingham (left) vs Plaid (right)What is Gingham (left) vs Plaid (right)PinWhat is Gingham (left) vs Plaid (right)

What is Gingham Used For in Other Countries

Gingham is more than just a type of fabric for some countries as it symbolizes something of great importance. In Indonesia, the contrasting color of the gingham fabric a symbol of a battle between good and evil.

In Japan, the gingham fabric was used to wrap the statues whenever a child has died. Due to the use of these symbols, gingham has continued to be manufactured in Japan. Japan uses one hundred percent cotton for its gingham fabric.

On the other hand, Cambodia uses the gingham pattern for their national attires. They call their gingham-type cloth, “krama” and it has many uses, including decorative and practical use. In the United Kingdom, this fabric is commonly used for making school uniforms.

How to Wash Gingham

Now that we have answered what is gingham and where it originated let us now look at the best ways to wash it.

The gingham fabric is quite easy to wash since it is generally made from cotton or cotton blends.

Washing Cotton Gingham

For hassle-free washing, you can use the washing machine with either warm or cool water. Ensure that the washing machine is set to a gentle cycle to prevent any wrinkles upon drying the fabric. When washing this fabric, make sure to avoid any types of bleach because this will cause fading.

When it comes to ironing gingham fabrics, you can use medium to high heat. However, make sure that the steam setting is turned on.

What is Gingham – In Conclusion

Despite being a vintage-style kind of fabric, Gingham is still quite popular today because of how cost-efficient this type of fabric is. Even though the gingham fabric has a straightforward checked design, it is a great fashion trend paired with any other type of fabric.

Not only is gingham great in terms of fashion, but it is also an inexpensive way to make household furnishings such as towels, tablecloths, and the like, thanks to its durability. If you were wondering- What is gingham and whether you should choose it, we hope that this article has been helpful.

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