Have You Checked In? It’s all about Gingham

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this and it might be one of those micro trends that is about to build but have you noticed a proliferation of gingham? Just me?

Society of Wanderers Fuchsia Gingham Pillowcase Set via antipodean dream
society of wanderers fuchsia gingham pillowcase set via antipodean dream 

This cotton check material – which, for those of us who grew up in the 70s was ubiquitous – is creeping back into pictures and shoots and suddenly, after years (and years) of stripes feels rather new and fresh. Even though it’s just coming back round.

gingham linen tablecloth by rebecca udall
gingham linen tablecloth by rebecca udall

Some of you may remember the French actress Brigitte Bardot wore a pink gingham dress to get married which sparked such a rush it led to a gingham shortage in France. The original influencer! And of course Dorothy was wearing blue and white gingham when she went to meet the Wizard of Oz.

Its origins are unclear – it maybe indeed be French (from Guingamp in Brittany, a bit like Denim from De Nimes) or some say it could be Dutch.

gingham ruffle cushion by alice x casa pa boy
handmade gingham ruffle cushion by alice x casa pa boy

Weirdly, despite its name, wherever it came from, being synonymous with checks, it started out as a stripe.In the mid 19th century it was woven in the Manchester textiles mills which is where the check, usually blue and white, first began.

It was popular because there is no right or wrong side as the fabric is dyed before it is woven and this makes it very economical to sew with. You can read more about it in this very detailed post here.

The fashion sites have been talking about gingham for several months making clear the difference between the small checks that are true to the style, and a larger check, which also began to emerge following the runaway hit that was The Queen’s Gambit (have you seen it? You MUST. I don’t often lay down rules but you mustn’t miss that and no you don’t need to understand, like or even play chess to get into it).

handmade gingham cushion from att pynta
handmade gingham cushion from att pynta

If you caught last week’s episode of Interior Design Masters, you might have clocked the rather fabulous checked polo neck that the former model and design director of Soho House Linda Boronkay was wearing. I’ve checked, by the way (haha) and it’s sold out. But it was from Nanushka if you want to see more.

And of course we know – all together now -what starts on the catwalk will end up on the cushions… or, ahem, tiles.

aged checker tiles from tonsoftiles
aged checkered tiles from tons of tiles 

So are you in or out? It’s one of those classics that is having a moment so you don’t have to worry about it going off. Or out. At the moment it looks more modern with a floral print than a stripe. But you can use both.

I’m not ready to wear it again yet but I am eyeing cushions with a very beady eye.

What do you think? Unlike brass which is expensive and hard to change (taps etc) this feels like something easy to get on board with.


And now I’m off for my vaccine, best birthday present ever (vaccine today, birthday yesterday).

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Yes, when faded and incorporated into soft bedding goods (duvet, pillow covers, etc.), maybe for tablecloths depending on setting, definite no to cushion ruffles (but that’s more an aversion to the ruffles than the gingham!!!). I like its relaxed feel, but it also tends a bit “country” for me, so I’d use it sparingly and with purpose. Love the blog as always, and happy vaccine day (plus belated birthday!)!

  2. Gingham always seems very country deco to me. I think ticking is a far more versatile heritage fabric. Ticking can be used in any decor, from traditional to modern and plays well with many other fabrics.

  3. If we can disassociate from past images of gingham dressed country fairs and picnic hampers; gingham could be a choice fabric for urban home decor – curtain or blind in bathroom; fabric lampshade; summer fabric shoulder bag; gardening gloves?

  4. I like the idea of a cushion or something on end of bed. Most importantly Happy Belated Birthday and congrats on a getting your vaccine.

  5. I’ve always liked gingham and have a few items in the house. What I really don’t like is anything which is fake-aged like those tiles in the last picture.

  6. For some reason I always associate Gingham with a dress and bolero ensemble that I wore as a child!! Or tablecloths in French Restaurants. Other than that, Nope !!! 😂

  7. Never went away for me. Two vintage square tablecloths are in daily use, one green and white and one red and white. Inherited, and easily more than forty years old!

  8. I love gingham in clothing and furnishing, (even though I usually dislike anything “70’s” having been a child of that decade) and have made a tablecloth and pillowcases from Volga linen gingham fabric. It reminds me more of a classic French farmhouse look. I wouldn’t go for a full gingham bed but mixing in a couple of pillowcases like in the photos looks fantastic I reckon.

    Congrats on getting your vaccine but aren’t you too young?! My husband has just left to get his but I’m still waiting at a youthful 51!

  9. Out for me unless I could patchwork it with some floral pattern? Happy birthday for yesterday and more importantly, happy vaccine day!

  10. I’m in – I have pale blue-and-white (what else?) gingham on some bedroom chairs and am about to re-cover a headboard with black and white gingham. Who would have thought I was trendy?!
    Happy Birthday – your green-hating-reader shares your birthday week – mine was on Monday!

  11. Hmmm..maybe a very washed out gingham. For napkins. That blue and mustard ruffeled cushion is the ugliest thing I’ve seen in a while. I’m more into ticking at the moment – trying to find some bedlinen, Any leads?

    REading teh updates is becoming my regular morning routine now – thanks!

    1. The Secret Linen Store, Piglet in Bed and Toast have nice ticking bedlinen. Toast is the nicest IMO but the price put me off so I bought from Secret Linen when they had a sale. Your comment about the cushion being the ugliest thing made me laugh!

      1. Thanks for leads! I had a look at Secret Linen Store and it’s a bit spendy ATM, but have bookmarked those suggestions. I really like this blog and my comments are sometimes blunt, but I figure KWS would prefer feedback than not.

  12. I could be tempted with a cushion for my kitchen chair. Not sure on the bedding – maybe for summer. I’m more likely to prefer a summer dress.

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