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Sandy Erdman: From tartan to buffalo, your guide to vintage plaid

October 29, 2018 GMT

Good, old-fashioned plaid has its season in fall and winter.

You’ll find it on blankets, throws and pillows, furniture, lampshades and dishware. I have always loved using plaid napkins with my white ironstone dishware for Christmas, because they’re homey, casual and give you that comfort of warmth. You can even find plaid paper napkins, and they don’t have to be ironed.

Red plaid and the tartan plaid also known as the winter lodge plaid first came into my life with my husband’s flannel and wool shirts. And so I slowly got into flannel and wool, and now the latest craze of buffalo plaid. I make my own collectible pillows — and not just from fabric found at fabric shops, but fabric found at auctions and flea markets, too.

Plaids and tartan are fabric that makes you think of coziness, comfy fall and winter days next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Plaid is also one of the symbols of the traditional Christmas and has been for as long as I can remember. It brings a festive spirit to any home to decorate inside and outside the home.

Collectors are scooping up old trunks, boxes and vintage suitcases. Plaid blankets and pillows are in high demand and often complement vintage beds, comfy sofas and dark stained furnishings. Plaid wallpaper from the 1940s and 1950s, once found in a young boy’s bedroom, is now used for decorative accents. If you happen to find a vintage plaid blanket with a hole, collectors are not passing these up, but scooping them up, making a shawl or unique pillows. Look for vintage throws, shirts and jackets by Pendleton Woolen Mills that start in price around $40 on up. A 1930-1940 Woolrich can go as high as $400-$500 in great condition.

Where to find vintage plaid

Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques Antique Mall, 912 Whitewater Ave., St. Charles, is where owner Sarah Kieffer told me, “Plaids are great, Sandy! I have some nice vintage Pendleton wool plaid shirts in the shop for men, they are around the $30 range. I also have many different plaid wool and other blend blankets that range in price from about $25 to around $45 for the Woolrich or Pendleton brands. I sell these primarily in the fall and winter months to both collectors and to others. They blend so well for the house and look great in most themed rooms and make for a warm and cozy feel.”

At Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Sugar Loaf Road, Winona, owner Brenda Jannsen said, “It was amazing to find how many plaid items we have. Our dealers are using plaids to add charm to their displays. They have everything from tablecloths and runners to stuffed pumpkins and pillows to children’s furniture and a plaid-covered toy box. And more plaids are coming into the mall in signs, coasters and more.”

New Generations of Harmony Antique Mall, U.S. Highway 52, Harmony, is where Joan Thilges, owner, said, “We have a variety of plaid wool blankets at the mall ranging from $10 to $20. One of our Farmhouse-style vendors has several great buffalo plaid pillows at $12.99 each. We also have a great red plaid Woolrich jacket at $85.”

The Cottage Cupboard, 570 Franklin Street, Winona, will be open Nov. 15-17 for its Winter Cottage Cupboard Occasional Sale. Owner Carol Loshek said, “I am just getting started on a few items such as the plaid pillows at $8. A moose in a sign. And we have more plaid items by various artisans coming in as we get closer to the sale.”

The Rusty Bucket, 175 East Third St., Winona, is where owner Shayna Dais told me, “The girls have, for the occasional sale, Nov. 3-4, some pillows in wool brown plaid, some burgundy and cream check, one pillow in green and black check with a big leaf on it. A nice stool with some plaid and more.”

The Barn at Bugle Plain is beginning to look festive with the beautiful items vendors are creating for this event at their seasonal store, 4731 Minnesota Highway 247 NE, Elgin, Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3. That’s where you will find vendor Cheryl Jensen Woodward, Junk Devotion, who told me, “Many items with plaids are at this sale and my stools and benches were so much fun to repupose with the plaids and are selling in a price range from $25-$50. A vintage to new collectible.”