Gingham cloth with green and white checks

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric typically with striped, check or plaid patterns in white and a bright color made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarns. It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns.[1][2]


The name may originate from Malay genggang 'ajar, separate'.[3][4] Alternatively, it is speculated that the fabric now known as gingham may have been made at Guingamp, a town in Brittany, France, and that the fabric may be named after the town.[5] Some sources say that the name came into English via Dutch.[6][7] When originally imported into Europe in the 17th century, gingham was a striped fabric, though now it is distinguished by its checkered pattern. From the mid-18th century, when it was being produced in the mills of Manchester, England, it started to be woven into checked or plaid patterns (often blue and white). Checked gingham became more common over time, though striped gingham was still available in the late Victorian period.[8] The equivalent in the French language is the noun vichy, from the town of Vichy in France. The same word is used in Spain where this pattern is called "cuadro vichy" or "estampado vichy".

In the United States, the mass popularity of men's blue and white gingham-patterned shirts in the 2010s led to critical media coverage of the phenomenon.[9][10][11]


Gingham fabric was popular to use in various dress material such as shirts, skirts, maxi and also for some home furnishing such as towels and curtains. Along with muslin, gingham is often used as a test fabric while designing fashion or used for making an inexpensive fitting shell prior to making the clothing in fashion fabric. Gingham shirts have been worn by mods since the 1960s and continue to be identified with fans of indie and mod music with brands like Lambretta Clothing, Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Penguin and Merc producing gingham shirts.[12][13]

In the United Kingdom, the gingham pattern is often used for younger girls' school uniforms.[14]

In popular culture

  • The Eugene Field poem The Duel concerns a duel between a "gingham dog" and a "calico cat".
  • In Tell Taylor's popular song "Down By the Old Mill Stream" (1908), "You" was "dressed in ging(not gang, but ging)ham too, (not three, but too)".
  • Brigitte Bardot famously wore a pink gingham dress when she got married. This started a trend which caused a shortage of this fabric in France.
  • Manchester United F.C. wore a gingham-pattern shirt during the 2012–13 season.[15]
  • Dorothy Gale wore a blue gingham dress in the Wizard of Oz book and film.
  • Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island often wore a gingham dress.
  • Bill Hicks made reference to gingham in his famous stand-up comedy routine in regard to Jack Palance from the 1953 movie Shane.
  • In Marty Robbins's Grammy-winning song "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife" (1970), he mentions his wife "in a dress made of gingham".[16][17]
  • In the Captain Beefheart song "My Human Gets Me Blues" from the album Trout Mask Replica (1969), he sings “I saw you baby, dancin' in your x-ray gingham dress.”
  • Japanese girl group AKB48 used gingham as a general theme for their 2012 single "Gingham Check".

See also


  1. ^ Kadolph 2007, p. 325
  2. ^ "gingham noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at". Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  3. ^ "Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu" (in Malay). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Retrieved 11 November 2011. genggang: (génggang) sj kain yg bercorak berjalur-jalur atau dam / fabric patterned in stripes or checkers.
  4. ^ "genggang : English to Malay dictionary online - Malaycube".
  5. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gingham" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 28.
  6. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary".
  7. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  8. ^ "Did old-fashioned gingham always have checks?". Archived from the original on 2010-01-03.
  9. ^ "In Defense of That J-Crew Gingham Shirt".
  10. ^ Gallagher, Jacob (8 March 2018). "Stop Dressing Like Every Other Guy: Give up Your Gingham Shirts". Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ "There's an Entire Instagram Account Dedicated to One J.Crew Shirt".
  12. ^ Hewitt, Paolo (2011). The Soul Stylists. Mainstream Publishing. p. 154. ISBN 9781780570235.
  13. ^ Laraine Porter, Justin Smith, I.Q. Hunter (2017). The Routledge Companion to British Cinema History. Taylor and Francis. p. 288. ISBN 9781315392172.
  14. ^ Roya Ferdows, Soosan Latham (2017). The Boarding School Girls. p. 2017. ISBN 9781351745666.
  15. ^ "Manchester United 12/13 Nike Home Football Shirt".
  16. ^ "My Woman My Woman My Wife lyrics chords - Marty Robbins".
  17. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1971 - Grammy Award Winners 1971".


  • Kadolph, Sara J., ed.: Textiles, 10th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2007,ISBN 0-13-118769-4
  • Material for Boys' Clothing: Gingham Vichy (optionally requires username and password to display images; press cancel until the box is gone)

Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: Kent Wang, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

Green and white check Gingham cloth

(Pocket Square by Kent Wang)
Author/Creator: Dan Polansky based on work currently attributed to Wikimedia Foundation but originally created by Smurrayinchester, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A logo derived from File:WiktionaryEn.svg, a logo showing a 3 x 3 matrix of variously rotated tiles with a letter or character on each tile. The derivation consisted in removing the tiles that form the background of each of the shown characters. File:WiktionaryEn.svg is under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, created by Smurrayinchester, and attributed to Wikimedia Foundation. This is the version without the wordmark.
Jute nahtlos.png
Author/Creator: SoylentGreen, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Hessian Fabric made seamless. It will serve to create a normal map in Blender.
Batik Indonesia.jpg
Author/Creator: MartijnL, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0 nl
Batik cloth purchased in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
MacLachlan hunting tartan (D. W. Stewart).svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC BY-SA 2.5
A representation of the Maclachlan hunting tartan. This tartan is the oldest tartan to bear the name MacLachlan. This tartan is referred to as the Old MacLachlan, MacLachlan, and Hunting MacLachlan. This sett was first published in Old & Rare Scottish Tartans by D. W. Stewart in 1893.
Thread count: Y6, W4, Bk32, G32, Y6, W4, R48.
Sources: MacLachlan Clan Tartan WR1710 MacLachlan Hunting Tartan
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0