Tartan Designer: mirroring and symmetry


Tartan designer settingsThe great majority of tartans have setts that use a reversing or mirrored symmetry. This means the sequence of colour bands runs one way, then pivots and repeats itself in reverse. The pivot colours at the ends do not double up. So a threadcount described as 2Green-4Red-6Black would actually be woven as 2Green-4Red-6Black-4Red-2Green-4Red… and so on.

For simplicity, these are conventionally described only with the first part of the threadcount, along with a note that the tartan is symmetrical. This is the normal way that most tartans are designed. So our systems automatically create and display this pattern.

However, a small number of tartans are designed to be non-reversing. We do not recommend asymmetric setts unless you are sure you know what you are doing. A symmetric pattern will normally result in a more visually pleasing and traditional tartan. But if you do wish a non-reversing result, you can enable this via the Settings (cog icon).


Tartans are traditionally symmetrical, so that the same threadcount is used for the fabric warp (lengthwise threads) and weft (cross threads). We strongly recommend you stick to this for tartan design.

However, for advanced designers our online designer will also let you work specify the warp and weft threadcounts separately, so that you can have an oblong effect instead of a square check, or even have different colour shades on the warp and the weft. You can enable this via the Settings (cog icon).

Categories Help Centre Creating designs
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