Designing a tartan can be great fun and extremely fulfilling and
most new tartans fall into the Personal category
or the Name category.
Personal tartans are those designed for the sole
use of the owner and can't be woven for other people of the same
name unless they have the owner's permission. The fact
that they're Personal should be indicated in the
name of the tartan. i.e. It should not just be the
MacBreeks Tartan but the Ian MacBreeks tartan, or
as we enter it into our industry-standard database - MacBreeks,
Name tartans are the same except that the owner
has given permission for anyone of the same name to wear them and
the tartan would simply be MacBreeks.
So the first question to ask yourself is "Do I really need
to design a new tartan? Isn't there one there already for my
surname?" Some people make the mistake of thinking that
because their name is McBreeks instead of
MacBreeks that they can't wear the MacBreeks tartan . . .
. the two names are the same! McBreeks is just an
abbreviated form of MacBreeks just as is M'Breeks
and you don't need a new tartan just for a slight spelling
variation. If of course your intention is to design a new tartan
for you and your family's private use - regardless of how you spell
your surname - then you can forge ahead with a clear
This section takes you through the definition of a tartan,
explains about threadcounts, colours, how to actually go about
designing your tartan and then some tips on getting it woven.
PS - If your first flush of enthusiasm wears off, then
there are other ways of acquiring your tartan.
1. Most weavers have their own design departments and will
undertake the task for you. However . . . to get the design work at
no charge you may have to order at least 30 or 60 metres, so give
thought to what you might need. See more advice at Getting it
2. There are independent designers around - indeed we at
the Scottish Tartans Authority are frequently commissioned to
undertake major new designs. We and other independent designers
will obviously charge for the service but you may consider it a
worthwhile option if you only want a small amount of your tartan
woven for a kilt or indeed, you intend using your tartan in a form
other than woven..