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Gingham cloth with green and white checks

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn.[1] It is made of carded or combed, medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain (weft). Gingham has no right or wrong side with respect to colour.


The name originates from an adjective in the Malay language, genggang,[2] meaning striped.[3] Some sources say that the name came into English via Dutch.[4][5] When originally imported into Europe in the 17th century it 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.[6]


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 Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Penguin and Merc producing gingham shirts.

  • 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.[7]
  • Japanese girl group AKB48 use gingham as a general theme for their 2012 single, Gingham Check.
  • Dorothy Gale wore a blue gingham dress in the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book and The Wizard of Oz film.
  • Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island would often wear a gingham dress.
  • Bill Hicks made reference to gingham in his famous stand-up comedy routine in regard to Jack Palance from the movie Shane (1953).

See also[edit]


  1. Kadolph 2007, p. 325
  2. Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu (Malay). Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Retrieved on 11 November 2011. “genggang: (génggang) sj kain yg bercorak berjalur-jalur atau dam; ~ lapis sj kuih yg dibuat drpd tepung.”
  3. Oxford English Dictionary
  4. Online Etymology Dictionary
  5. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  6. Did old-fashioned gingham always have checks?
  7. Manchester United 12/13 Nike Home Football Shirt.
  • 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)

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