Gingham Is Good.

Quilt Square 8

Gingham is a sweet, quiet classic. It can step in as a coordinate in almost any situation. It provides a little more zazz than solids without being showy or trendy. Maybe you can’t help but think of country and grandma’s aprons when you see it, but to me that’s a good thing.

Gingham is usually a plain weave made with two colors of yarn in a simple boxy criss-cross pattern. The term does seem to refer to the cloth itself, though it can come in any fiber (here’s silk taffeta, here’s printed oilcloth, here’s linen), various weaves and weights, and there also seems to be such thing as “gingham stripes” so the term isn’t exclusive to the classic criss-cross pattern we all envision, though that pattern printed onto surfaces is called gingham.


Gingham Group from I Heart Linen (blog | shop ) on Flickr.

I Heart Linen also hearts gingham (but, she says, only quarter inch squares and up, please). She shares a lists of sources here, including those for Japanese gingham.

Gingham squares can double as a measuring tool. It’s nice to cover an ironing board with 1/4 inch or 1 inch gingham so you can quickie measure a hem, or cover a blocking board with it to block your knits. Does anyone know a source for gingham checks in metric measurements?


Here’s Martha Stewart showing how to batik a gingham pattern onto fabric.

Gingham is popularly used as a base cloth for embroidery and cross-stitch — it’s called chicken scratch and there’s even a flickr group devoted to it.


  1. kathy says:

    I heart gingham as well Kim. Great post. I also learned in my Palmer Pletsch fitting class that the instructors use gingham to make their slopers because of the usefulness of the square size for alterations. They search out the polyester blends because they don’t want any shrinkage of the squares.

  2. Jen says:

    I never thought of using it to cover an ironing board so you can measure as you press. Clever!