In its simplest definition, patterns are created through repeated decorative designs. Whether man-made designs or natural motifs, our eye looks for discernible regularities in the every-day world. Let us take a closer look inside the swatch sphere.
Awning Stripe- Just as the name suggests, awning stripes are reminiscent of sunshade fabric and refer to stripes that are wider than ¼” and generally consist of solid colored stripes on a white background. Awning stripes are vertical and even through out the fabric.
Bengal Stripe- Typically, Bengal stripes are approximately ¼” in width making them narrower than awning stripes but wider than candy stripes. Bengal stripes usually consist of solid colored stripes on a white background.
Candy Stripe- Wider than pencil stripes but thinner than Bengal stripes, Candy stripes are about 1/8” in width and are characterized by solid stripes on a white background. The name was acquired from the stripe pattern on stick candy.
Pencil Stripe- Also known as dress stripes, Pencil stripes refer to stripes that are thinner than candy stripes but wider than pinstripes. The width between stripes can vary but generally they are uneven meaning there is more white than color.
Pinstripe vs. Chalk stripe– Thin, vertical and narrower than pencil stripes, Pin stripes are typically one to two yarns thick and are sometimes broken. The widths between the stripes can vary but are always wider apart than hairline stripes. Chalk stripes look as though you drew a line down the fabric with tailors chalk, the raised ridges of twill are then highlighted white. Chalk stripe can also be referred to as rope stripe as it resembles a braided rope.
Hairline Stripe- As the name implies, Hairline stripes are thin stripes about the width of a hair and are spaced very close together giving the fabric a textured solid effect.
Bar code Stripe- Resembling the lines on a bar code, Bar code stripes consist of different sized stripes closely spaced together. Generally bar code stripes consist of two colors or variegated tones of one color.
Regimental Stripe- Popular in menswear, Regimental stripes once dictated what club or group you were involved in, the combination of striped colors signified different organizations. Although today the regimental stripe does not hold meaning by American standard, it is still used for preppy ties and the like. Traditionally, the regimental stripe runs diagonally through the tie.
Shadow Stripe- Consisting of vertical stripes with another stripe directly adjacent to it or bordering it- creating a shadow effect. Shadow stripes consist of two or three different colors and often vary in width.
Ticking Stripe- Once used exclusively as a utility fabric for mattresses and pillows, it was a tightly woven cotton or linen textile that prevented down feathers from poking through. Commonly woven in muted colors such as brown, gray and blue on a neutral background, Ticking now evokes a homespun or industrial aesthetic.
Buffalo Check- Similar to gingham but very large, Buffalo Check or Plaid, almost looks like individual repetitive blocks rather than a check pattern. Buffalo Check has said to have been named after the herd of buffalo owned by the plaid’s designer in the 1850s and is most commonly found in white or red.
Gingham- Distinguished by even-sized checks, Gingham is formed by horizontal and vertical stripes of two shades of the same color on a white background.
Houndstooth- Houndstooth check is a pattern that consists of distorted, pointy shaped checks arranged in a tessellation that resembles a hound’s tooth. Most commonly found in black and white, houndstooth in now offered in a variety of combinations.
Windowpane/Graph Check- Simply put, Windowpane check looks like the panes on a window consisting of solid, thin, single colored stripes that cross each other. Graph check pattern differs from windowpane check in that graph check features stripes that are thinner and closer together than in windowpane checks.
Sheperd’s Check- A twill weave of small, even-sized colored and white checks, Sheperd’s Check is similar to gingham but features the visible twill weave which sets it apart.
Tattersall Check- Featuring regularly spaced vertical and horizontal stripes, Tattersall check is unique in the sense that it features repeated alternating colors of stripes that can be in two or three different colors.
Pin Check- So small, it may look like dots to the human eye, however Pincheck is actually a pin-sized stripe. The pattern is composed of a singular color and white so it is seemingly a solid color from afar.
Glen Plaid- Also known as Glenurquhart check or Prince of Wales check, glen plaid is a woven twill design composed of small and large checks. Generally there are two dark and two light stripes that alternate with four dark stripes and four light stripes, this creates a crossing of irregular checks.
Madras Plaid- Originating in a city in East India, formerly Madras, this summer style fabric is distinguished by a pattern of colorful checks and stripes and is often found in a patchwork options. Often thought of as a “preppy” pattern for shorts and casual shirts, Madras plaid has a young spirit due to its uneven checks.
Tartan or Plaid- First and foremost, all tartans are plaids but all plaids are not tartan. Both plaids (below) and tartans (above) are comprised of stripes that meet in a 90 degree angle. What sets tartan apart is that their pattern features stripes that run vertically and are exactly duplicated on the horizontal axis. Two of the most well known plaids are Black Watch and Royal Stewart. In a plaid, you will notice that the stripes (either in color, size, or pattern) are not the same in both directions.