Australia is celebrating Tartan Day today, recognising the importance of tartan within the Scottish community. Other countries around the world, most notably Scotland, Canada and the U.S., celebrate Tartan Day on the 6th of April to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which called for Scotland’s Independence from England. However, Australia’s Tartan Day marks the Act of Proscription being repealed on the 1st of July 1782. This Act banned Scottish people from wearing what was then deemed ‘Highland clothes’, which included tartan. If they were caught wearing these clothes, they risked imprisonment. Today though, the many events held for Tartan Days across the globe are used as an opportunity to celebrate Scottish culture.
For many reasons, Tartan holds an important place in the hearts of Scots. The woven material is thought to date back to the 3rd or 4th century in Scotland but could have possibly even been used thousands of years earlier in other countries. Come the 18th century, certain weaves of tartan were given names that represented Scottish clans and local towns as a bit of a marketing ploy, but since then, these tartans have actually become associated with their namesake clans.
Even now, tartan is still an important fabric in the world of textiles, used to create a wide range of items, most particularly clothes. They are still used to make the traditional Scottish kilts, but one of its most common uses is in school uniforms. Many of our students wear tartan skirts every day during the school year, and just like the Scottish clans, the tartans our cherubs wear create a sense of belonging and community at school.
We can pass on this rich history of tartan to our cherubs by having them use tartans in our textiles classrooms. A fun tartan project your textiles class could participate in is making tartan scrunchies using the fabric of your school’s uniform. Follow this super simple step-by-step Tartan Day scrunchie project.
Step-by-Step Tartan Scrunchie
- Material. See if you can source fresh fabric from your school’s uniform supplier, or alternatively, ask current and former students to donate their unneeded school skirts.
- Thread. Try to use a colour that is similar to your school uniform.
- Fabric scissors.
- Sewing machine.
- Dressmaker pins.
- Safety pin.
- 5mm elastic.
- Cut the elastic to a 20cm long piece.
- Cut a strip of fabric measuring 7.5cm by 55cm and fold the shorter sides in 0.5cm, forming a crease on each end.
- Fold the strip of fabric in half, matching the long sides.
- Use a dressmaker pin to pin the elastic to one of the short ends.
- Sew across the short end of the fabric, leaving a 0.6cm allowance for the seam. Pivot once you reach the corner and sew down the long side.
- Backstitch or lock the stitching along each end of the seam.
- Pin the safety pin to the loose end of the elastic and turn out the fabric so that the elastic is now on the inside.
- Pull the loose end of the elastic out from inside the fabric, pushing the fabric and bunching it together as you pull out the elastic.
- Sew the loose piece of elastic to the other end of the elastic.
- Feed the now stitched together elastic into the open end of the fabric, sew a seam and backstitch to secure it.