Plaid, Bad and Dangerous to Sew

maine_tartan.jpgBack in 1964 Sol Gillis of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia designed the tartan you see to your left for the State of Maine; Jane Holmes, a Mainer (? Maine-liner?, Maineite? …), claims she got the rights to the design in 1993 and has been ordering the cloth from Scotland since that time. But now L.L.Bean is selling an “American Tartan Shirt” with that very design, and Ms Holmes is not best pleased. She’s sued L.L.Bean, which claims that the design is now in the public domain. (See the CBC story.)

dirigo_tartan.pngIt seems that the fact the copyright to the state tartan is, or may be, held privately doesn’t sit well with some in Maine, and so the Maine Dirigo tartan, which you see on your right, was designed by the St. Andrew’s Society of Maine. There was a private member’s bill [PDF] in the state legislature to have this design made the Official State Tartan, but that seems not to have gone anywhere.

The L.L.Bean shirt is still for sale in wrinkle-resistant cotton at USD44 in the tartan design you see below.


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