Geographical and historical backgrounds separate a tartan from plaid. Tartan is specifically considered to be a Scottish fabric, with geometric designs and rich colours. According to many Scottish clans, every tartan pattern has a specific association with their history. Different tartans were used for identifying members of different clans in medieval times. Tartan is Scotland’s national dress and is worn on special days. It is not just a piece of fabric but is considered a mark of identification among Scottish clans. If a particular clan or family doesn’t have a traditional tartan, they can design a new one for themselves.
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Plaids have pretty much same designing as tartans but the difference comes in their variation. Tartans must be evenly printed but plaids are not bound to such limitations. They can have overlapping squares or lines interconnecting horizontally and vertically etc. A plaid is described as a shawl, made from wool and having horizontal and vertical patterns, in Scotland. Plaids were used as blankets in medieval times and were worn over other clothes to keep warm. Two pieces of 36-inch wide woolen cloth are sewn to make a plaid.
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