Anyone else think of gingham when you think of springtime? Along with all the beautiful blooms popping up from the ground and brightening our days, this classic fabric also brightens up a lot of our spring closets. It might just be because I live in the south, but over the years I’ve heard people say that gingham is quintessential “southern style.” When I think about the fabric however, movies like the Wizard of Oz, and old Hollywood pops into my head so I wanted to dig a little deeper to find out more about the fabrics history. It is quite interesting! Here is a little history on this timeless, classic fabric, as well as some staple pieces that I love to wear to kick off this season.
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The History of Gingham
The history of gingham is quite interesting and goes back over 500 years, when the first gingham fabric was imported to Europe from India in the 1700’s. Instead of the plaid, or buffalo check that we know it as today, however, it was striped! In the mid eighteenth century mills began to weave the checkered, plaid that we know today. Here is a brief recap of this iconic fabric:
In the mid eighteenth century, Europeans began making their own gingham and weaving it into the checkered patterns that we know today. Depending on who you ask, you might get a little different story about the origins of gingham in Europe, as both England and Italy lay claim to milling the first plaids around the same time. The most popular color combo for gingham at that time was blue and white.
There was widespread use of gingham throughout the world due to it being inexpensive to produce, easy to wash, and because it was simple to design.
After importing the fabric to America for some time, Americans also began to mill the versatile fabric themselves and it became the popular fabric that we all love today. In the early 1900’s it was mostly used in children’s clothing because it was inexpensive and durable. Once produced in US cotton mills, it was seen as patriotic to help boost the economy, and it became popular for men, women, and children’s clothing, as well as home decor. During the depression and times of war in the 1940’s, it gained even more popularity because it was simple, affordable, readily available, and also quite durable. The wholesome fabric soon became associated with rustic American Living and authentic, country style.
Once the fabric became popular to use in American cinema, it really started gaining some traction. We all know the famous blue and white gingham dress from the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. After that countless other iconic women have been pictured in the fabric such as Kathleen Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Bridgitte Bardot, Jane Fonda, Jackie Kennedy, and Gloria Vanderbilt. One of the most interesting facts I read on famous women in the fabric was that Bridgitte Bardot caused a shortage of the fabric in France after she wore a pink gingham dress for her wedding.
One especially interesting fact that I learned while researching the history of the fabric was that Bridgitte Bardot caused a shortage of gingham fabric in France after she wore a pink gingham dress for her wedding.
During the 50’s the fabric continued to be a symbol of style and nostalgia. It became more popular to use in home furnishings to encapsulate Americana style. Moving into the 60’s it became very fashionable for youth to wear it as it was perfect for the mod/modern style of the time.
How I Wear It
I have several gingham pieces that I love to wear spring through early fall. Most pieces are casual because as a “jean girl,” I love pairing the classic print with a good pair of jeans. Especially white jeans in the summer!
Here are a few ways I wear my gingham:
Ever since high school I have been a fan of plaid pants! When I found my blue and white gingham capri pants, I just had to have them! They’re so classic, I know I will wear them forever.
some favorites I have found this season:
For the Kiddos
As a girl mom, I have fallen in love with this pattern even more than before. A quintessential fabric of youth, you can always count on the cutest styles for boys and girls for spring and summer to be a classic gingham. You name it, I have bought it in gingham, but I will spare all the pictures of my girls closets. Swimsuits, bubbles, smocked dresses, regular dresses, pinafores, shoes, shorts, bows… We have just about one of everything in gingham, except for underwear!
Earlier this year I found some pink gingham shoes at Walmart for my youngest and thought they were so cute, I had to snag them! Later on while I was browsing through some sales online, I found some matching pieces for my oldest daughter and for me as well! I can’t wait to twin with them this spring in our pink gingham.
Shop gingham for kids:
For the Home
Gingham is a classic, timeless print used in many styles of home. From classic, to shabby chic, farmhouse, and even to modern, gingham is so versatile to use around the house. I have re-upholstered a chair in a classic, large tan gingham, used it in the dining room with cloth napkins, and table runners, and even have red gingham tied into a lot of my Christmas decor, including my Christmas tree! Here are a few pictures of how I have used it around my home:
This ecru gingham chair was my first re-upholstery project that I tried, and I love how it turned out! One of my favorite parts is the little surprise that I sewed onto the back of the chair. You can check this project out HERE.
I love the cheerfulness that the blue and white gingham brings into my home in the spring and summer months. I was getting a little tired of my pink peony wreaths that I have had for a few years, but didn’t necessarily want to spend the money on something new, so I decided to add some blue and white gingham ribbon to them. I am just loving how it turned out, and the new life that it brought to my old wreaths. I had extra ribbon leftover after adding the bows, so I made some smaller bows for the lanterns on my front porch as well. It is going to look so cute once I get my urns filled this spring. Can’t wait to share more!
This was one of my favorite tablescapes that I have done over the past few years. The red and blue gingham looked so cute paired together for all the patriotic holidays! Now that I know more about the fabric, and that it is a patriotic fabric, I will have to make sure I do this every year.
Here are a couple pictures of what Christmas looks like around my house. I loved the red and white gingham so much, that after making the red and white table runner for my house, I found some red and white gingham ribbon to decorate my tree, mantle wreath, and front door wreaths with. I even sewed up some red velvet and gingham stockings to boot (pun intended).
Shop Gingham for your home:
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I hope you enjoyed it! Would love to hear your thoughts on the history of the fabric and what you love most about it. Leave me a comment below! And be sure to follow me on Instagram @ShipsHQ.