What is "Check" - Definition & Explanation

In the textile industry, "check" refers to a pattern composed of small, equally sized squares or rectangles of alternating colors. It is created through a combination of different colored yarns woven together in a specific arrangement, resulting in a distinctive checkered design. The check pattern has been used for centuries and is recognized for its timeless appeal and versatility in various textile applications.

Check patterns can vary in scale, ranging from small checks that create a subtle effect to large checks that make a bold statement. The check design can be achieved through different weaving techniques, such as the plain weave, twill weave, or dobby weave, depending on the desired effect and fabric characteristics.

Characteristics and Applications

Check fabrics possess several key characteristics that make them unique and desirable:

  1. Geometric Pattern: The check pattern consists of a grid of squares or rectangles, often in contrasting colors, creating a visually appealing and structured design.
  2. Versatility: Check fabrics come in various sizes, colors, and combinations, allowing for versatile applications in both apparel and home textiles.
  3. Classic and Timeless: Check patterns have stood the test of time, transcending fashion trends and remaining a perennial favorite in the textile industry.
  4. Gender-Neutral: Checks are often considered gender-neutral, suitable for both men's and women's fashion, as well as children's clothing.
  5. Appropriate for Various Occasions: Check fabrics can be adapted to different settings, from casual wear to formal occasions, depending on the fabric type and color scheme.

Due to their versatility, check fabrics find applications in a wide range of products, including shirts, blouses, dresses, skirts, trousers, jackets, scarves, tablecloths, curtains, and upholstery fabrics.

Types of Check Patterns

There are various types of check patterns commonly found in textiles:

  • Gingham Check: A classic check pattern with small, even-sized checks, usually in two contrasting colors. Gingham checks are often associated with casual and summery clothing.
  • Tartan Check: Traditional Scottish pattern characterized by crisscrossing horizontal and vertical bands of different colors. Each tartan design is associated with a particular Scottish clan.
  • Madras Check: A vibrant and colorful check pattern originating from Madras (now Chennai), India. It features a variety of bright colors in unevenly sized checks.
  • Windowpane Check: A check pattern with larger, widely spaced squares, resembling the appearance of windowpanes. It creates a more subtle and sophisticated look.
  • Houndstooth Check: A distinctive check pattern featuring small, jagged shapes resembling the teeth of a hound. It is often seen in black and white or other contrasting colors.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Several top international brands incorporate check patterns into their textile products:

  1. Burberry: Burberry is renowned for its iconic use of the tartan check pattern in its fashion and accessories. The brand has become synonymous with the classic and sophisticated British aesthetic.
  2. Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren often utilizes check patterns in its collections, adding a touch of timeless elegance to its clothing lines, particularly in men's shirts and women's blouses.
  3. Tommy Hilfiger: Known for its preppy and casual style, Tommy Hilfiger incorporates check patterns into its designs, creating a youthful and vibrant aesthetic across various apparel and accessory categories.
  4. Vivienne Westwood: Vivienne Westwood incorporates bold and unconventional check patterns into her fashion designs, pushing the boundaries of traditional check usage and creating unique, avant-garde pieces.
  5. L.L.Bean: L.L.Bean incorporates classic check patterns, such as the gingham check, into its clothing and home textiles, embodying a timeless and casual outdoor lifestyle.
  6. Burberry: Burberry is renowned for its iconic use of the tartan check pattern in its fashion and accessories. The brand has become synonymous with the classic and sophisticated British aesthetic.

Tips in Handling Check Fabrics

When working with check fabrics, it is essential to pay attention to certain aspects to ensure the best results:

  • Pattern Matching: When cutting and sewing check fabrics, take care to align the checks at the seams to maintain a consistent pattern flow across the garment or textile item.
  • Check Placement: Consider the garment or item's design and style when deciding where to place the check pattern. Strategic placement can highlight or flatter certain areas.
  • Careful Pressing: Use a pressing cloth or iron on the reverse side of the fabric to prevent shine or distortion. Take care not to stretch or distort the checks while pressing.
  • Consider Seam Finishes: Depending on the fabric thickness and the desired aesthetic, choose appropriate seam finishes to ensure a clean and professional look.


The check pattern is a timeless and versatile design that has found its place in both fashion and home textiles. With its geometric appeal, adaptability, and association with classic style, check fabrics continue to be favored by international brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vivienne Westwood. Whether it's the traditional tartan check, vibrant Madras check, or understated windowpane check, these patterns bring a touch of sophistication and visual interest to a wide range of textile products. When handling check fabrics, attention to pattern matching, check placement, careful pressing, and suitable seam finishes is crucial for achieving excellent results. As fashion trends evolve, the enduring charm of check fabrics ensures their continued relevance and popularity in the textile industry.

A small pattern of squares or rectangles. It may be printed, yarn dyed, cross dyed or woven into the fabric ( as a dobby or jacquard).

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