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Understanding Tartan

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D. C. Dalgliesh Ltd - Scotland’s last artisan tartan weavers

Please allow a few seconds for the video to load… D.C. Dalgliesh Ltd, of Selkirk, Scotland, is the world’s last artisan weaving mill specialising in tartans produced the traditional way. We present a unique video tour of the mill, showing every step of the highly skilled and labour-intensive process that results in tartan fabrics that are (More...)

What is tartan? What makes it unique?

A tartan (or ‘plaid’) is a simple criss-cross coloured pattern, which is normally woven. Each tartan is defined by its “sett“, a sequence of coloured lines called its “thread count“. A tartan’s thread count is normally (but not always) mirrored… i.e. 12 yellow, 16 red, 10 blue - 10 blue, 16 red, 12 yellow. And the same sequence (More...)

What is the Scottish Tartans Authority?

The Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) holds the world’s largest archive of recorded tartan patterns. Scotweb is honoured to be authorised to give you access to the full STA collection, which we have combined with our own unrivalled database of weaver-produced tartan fabrics. Together these offer you a unique facility to reliably research your historic tartans, and then find materials (More...)

Where can I find more in-depth information about kilts & tartans?

Scotweb’s MD, Dr Nicholas J Fiddes, has written a free illustrated e-book, as a gift to help kilt lovers everywhere. In simple non-technical language it covers every aspect of buying a kilt, choosing your tartan, and accessorising an outfit for every occasion. As a Governor of the Scottish Tartans Authority, and founder of the world’s first (More...)

Why do colour shades of tartans vary?

The colour of tartan fabric can often vary (sometimes greatly) from what you expect compared to a previous sample of the ’same’ tartan, or what you’ve seen on a computer display. There are many reasons why this will always be so, some of which we explain below. But first, we need to question some expectations, (More...)

What’s the best material and weight for my needs?

We supply a very wide range of fabrics, so we can’t answer every question here. If in doubt, our customer service team is trained to advise on every need, so please just ask! Meanwhile, here are some broad pointers. Materials This depends mostly on your use. For garments, most people prefer natural fibres, such as wool or (More...)