Gingham Fabric Product Guide

Gingham fabric, recognized by its signature checked pattern of white interspersed with color, is a light and bright summer staple that has been around for centuries. The checks come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/6th of an inch to 1 full inch.

Originally, when it was imported into Europe in the 17th Century, it was a striped pattern. Somewhere along the line in the 18th century, mills in Manchester, England incorporated checks and plaids. These days you’d be hard pressed to find gingham that’s not a checked pattern.

Gingham is made from lightweight, plain woven cotton. The check pattern is woven into the fabric rather than being printed on, so the design is on both sides of the fabric. Poly cotton gingham is lighter and more semi-sheer than 100% cotton gingham. Both kinds are used for dresses, skirts, and shirts for adults and children. Gingham has many other uses including curtains, quilts, and crafts.

Gingham Fabric Product Spotlight Video

Gingham Uses

Check out gingham oilcloth which is a waterproof vinyl with a gingham look for kitchen seating, tablecloths, and placemats. It’s super easy to wipe clean.

You can also find the check pattern in designer decor fabric. Large scale checks and buffalo checks have a bold, more modern look that’s super trendy.


Make dresses, skirts, and tops with gingham. A general rule is that the larger the check, the less formal the article of clothing. Since it’s fairly thin, you may want to add a lining to certain garments.


Gingham drapery panels are perfect for a country inspired dining or living room. Gingham cafe curtains are popular for kitchens and casual dining. Adding a drapery lining will help keep the gingham from fading due to exposure to sunlight. For a quick and easy update, add a leading edge trim or hem of gingham to existing curtains.

Table Decor

Set your table with napkins and tablecloths made out of machine washable gingham.

Decorative Pillows

Make throw pillows that combine gingham, florals, and stripes for a French country look.


Cotton gingham is a great weight for quilts. The checks can be incorporated into the design or use it for the quilt backing.

Other uses include basket liners, tote bags, aprons, and crafts.

Perhaps the most famous use of gingham in pop culture is the blue gingham dress worn by Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) in The Wizard of Oz. This 1/4″ blue gingham is popular for Dorothy Halloween costumes.

dorothy-costume-gingham Judy Garland wearing a blue gingham dress in The Wizard of Oz

Gingham Care

If you plan on washing your gingham project, pre-wash the fabric before sewing because it may shrink.

Gingham is easy to machine launder with cool or warm water using a gentle cycle, which can help prevent wrinkles. Bleaching is not recommended. You can iron gingham fabric with medium/high heat and the steam setting on.

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Questions & Comments

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when hemming the small check fabric, I have a problem keeping the check in a straight line on the bottom hem how do you fix this problem?
jane d on Jan 12, 2018
BEST ANSWER: We suggest ironing the edge until you get a nice crisp straight line. You can always iron it flat and try again if it gets off course. At first we suggest not using steam to avoid burning your fingers, then use steam to really set it well before sewing.
A shopper on Jul 28, 2018
BEST ANSWER: It depends on how you dry it and store it. If you use a dryer and take it out right after it's done, then probably not. If you hang it or dry it flat, probably not. If you store it folded, you may have to iron out the folds. The poly/cotton blend is probably less likely to wrinkle than the 100% cotton.