What is the difference between flannel and plaid?

The main difference between flannel and plaid is that flannel is a type of fabric while plaid is a type of pattern or design.

Most people confuse flannel with plaid because most flannel materials, especially flannel shirts, are plaid. Hence, most assume these are the same, but they are not. Flannel is a soft woven fabric, while plaid is a checked pattern.

Key areas covered

1. What is flannel - definition, characteristics 2. What is plaid - definition, characteristics 3. Relationship between flannel and plaid - overview of the common characteristics 4. Difference between flannel and plaid - comparison of key differences

key terms

Fabrics, flannel, plaid Difference Between Flannel and Plaid - Comparative Summary

What is flannel?

Flannel is a soft fabric, usually made of wool or cotton, and lightly milled and raised. It's a warm and comfortable fabric. Because of these properties, most of us use it for winter clothing. This fabric can be brushed or left unbrushed for extra softness.

Flannel is widely used in bedding, blankets, sleepwear, and tartan clothing. As mentioned above, plaid patterns are the most common designs in flannel. Flannel fabrics are also available in a wide range of solid colors and patterns.

Difference between flannel and plaid

Figure 1: Flannel fabric with a check pattern

There are different types of flannel such as baby flannel, Ceylon flannel, cotton flannel and diaper flannel. Baby flannel is used for children's clothing, while diaper flannel is used for making cloth diapers. Ceylon flannel is a mixture of wool and cotton, while cotton flannel is a cotton fabric that has been roughened on one or two sides.

What is plaid

Plaid is actually a pattern or design that you see on fabric. It's a classic made of fabric. In a checkered design, you will notice stripes of different widths that cross each other to form squares. In other words, it's a fabric with a criss-cross pattern made up of vertical and horizontal ribbons of color. These strips or ribbons are of different colors. You can see this design on anything and everything from linens to pajamas and shirts to wrapping paper.

Key difference - flannel vs. plaid

Figure 2: Checkered fabrics

Most importantly, we can notice this pattern in many fabrics such as flannel, seersucker, and gingham. However, flannel is the most common plaid fabric used. Plaid has its origins in Scotland , with tartans and kilts. For this reason, we sometimes use the words plaid and tartan interchangeably. In one such case, plaid refers to a checkered pattern on a twill fabric, typically made of wool.

Relationship between flannel and plaid

  • Many flannel fabrics have a check pattern. This is why most people confuse flannel and plaid. It is important to remember that these are not the same.

Difference between flannel and plaid

definition

Flannel is a soft fabric, usually made of wool or cotton, and lightly milled and raised, while plaid is a pattern of squares and lines on fabric.

nature

While flannel is a type of fabric, plaid is a type of pattern or design.

Pattern vs. fabric

Flannel can be available in solid colors and different patterns, while plaids can be available on different types of fabric such as gingham and seersucker.

diploma

Flannel is a soft woven fabric, while plaid is a pattern of squares and lines on fabric. Hence, the main difference between flannel and plaid is that flannel is a type of fabric while plaid is a type of pattern or design.

Reference:

1. “What is checkered? {Plaid vs. Check vs. Tartan}. " Sewing instructions, September 25, 2020, available here . 2. "Flannel". Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, January 28, 2021, available here .

Image courtesy:

1. “Flannel fabric red” by Lisa Zins - (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 2. “Plaid Fabric Photo” (CC0) via Stocksnap.io

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.