Tartans: setts or patterns

Any tartan Family Name can have a number of different Setts (or patterns) sometimes associated with different occasions (though there is no rule limiting their wear to these occasions!). For example, many clans have a ‘Hunting‘ tartan and a ‘Dress‘ tartan in addition to their general clan tartan. But there are many more such variants, sometimes simply named after the year in which they were first produced.

A tartan’s ‘Sett’ is what makes it unique. This is the ‘thread count’ that defines it - the sequence and number of coloured threads which produces that tartan’s distinct look when woven in criss-crossing vertical and horizontal stripes. Legally, each different sett is a different tartan (which can then be woven in different colourways or shades, and in different materials).

In most cases there is no need to worry about which sett is correct to wear. Just choose the one that you like best!

Categories Help Centre Fabrics Help Centre Tartan Finding & selecting
Tags tartans patterns names setts