What are Matelasse Coverlets & Bedspreads – Matelasse Bedding Explained

One of the questions we are often asked by our customers is what exactly is a Matelasse bed cover, coverlet or bedspread. Unfortunately several bedding retailers use the term incorrectly to describe specific bed sets, so it’s not a surprise that people are confused.

The word matelasse (pronounced mat·e·las·sé) comes from the French term “matellaser”, which simply means a quilted, padded or cushioned fabric. Today the term is most often used to describe double woven fabrics, often damask or jacquard, that are slightly quilted and that feature raised or puckered motifs on their surface. These mid to heavy weight fabrics are ideal for bedding ensemble because of their warmth, and are often stone washed for extra softness.

matelasse bedding swatch

Swatch of Matelasse Bedding Fabric - (Notice The Raised Design)

To produce this raised surface designs, matelasse fabrics are made of a double cloth construction, and created using two sets of warp and filler threads for an embossed pattern in one color that simulates a quilted effect, and most often made on jacquard or dobby looms.

Because of the more traditional feel and look of Matelasse fabrics, they are most often  used in classic bed cover styles such as bedspreads and coverlets, and often associated with historically or colonial themed bedding ensembles.

One of the best examples of a classic matelasse bedding collection, is the King Charles Matelasse bedspread bedding collection by the Historical Charleston Foundation. This wonderful collection of double woven 100% cotton Matelasse bedspread and bedding accessories is reproduced from a 19th century example featuring a classic matelasse tufted design throughout – and in a classic matelasse style feature four raised icons around the bottom edge of the bedspread; the sun, topiary, a pheasant and a pineapple and was based upon a 1820’s English design. Click here to learn more about the King Charles Matelasse bedding collection

King Charles Matelasse Bedspread

Classic Matelasse Bedspread - The King Charles Bedding Collection

The King Charles Matelasse bedspread bedding collection is actually created by the Historic Charleston Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the historical architectural and material culture the make up Charleston’s rich and irreplaceable heritage. Bedding and home fashions from the Historic Charleston Foundation recreate the timeless look and feel of Charleston’s decorative arts culture blending European, Caribbean, British and Asian influences.  Click here to learn more about the work of the Historic Charleston Foundation

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