In days gone by, bedding was made at home. Homespun sheets and hand-stitched quilts were much-appreciated and highly-valued wedding gifts that were used for decades.
Mattresses were utilitarian items, usually constructed in one of two ways. In the most common type of mattress, the ticking fabric was stitched into a large pillowcase-like covering and then stuffed with straw or other filler. A more simple mattress was made by tacking a single layer of ticking to a board, allowing enough 'give' to be able to stuff straw between the fabric and the board.
Since northeastern France has cold winters, the bedding of the region included cozy feather beds and all sizes of feather-filled pillows. The mattress tickings from this region are well-known for their deep cherry reds and the combinations of reds and rose shades. The broad-striped patterns were generally intended for the large featherbeds, while more intricate stripe patterns were milled for use in pillows, bolsters and various sizes of duvet.
If you'd like to have an Alsace red ticking fabric for your home or for a project, please visit my flagship website by clicking here: www.french-treasures.com.
The first picture below shows a stack of tickings from last fall's shipment (all sold.) Below that are several examples of red ticking fabrics from the Alsace region.