Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's This About French Ticking?!

My friend Wendy Lewis and I were chatting the other day. Wendy is the owner of Textile Trunk, one of the largest importers of Antique European Fabrics in the US. We got to talking about Antique French Ticking (isn't it fun to have friends you can have long conversations with about French ticking!). Anyway, I said "So I guess French Ticking is really coming back into style, eh?" (trying to sound so cool and 'in the know') Wendy gently replied "Oh, Gina, French ticking has NEVER gone OUT of style. Why just about everyone wants French Ticking fabric - especially in the Spring!" "Yes", I said quickly (and with a slight English accent, so I would still sound hip and stylish) "It's simply a classic, Darling!" We both had a good laugh!
And of course when I really thought about it - French Ticking IS a classic. Perhaps that's why we see it everywhere, year after year! So, I decided to look back in my inspiration files. Both photos above are from an older Country Living issue. Blue and white is the most classic ticking. I love the straight lines of this slipcover - no ruffles - good choice. I suppose Ticking is so popular in the warmer climates (and in Spring) because it has a certain crispness and lends itself well to beach decor. In this photo from Coastal Living, we see blue ticking slipcovers again on the dining chairs.
The photo above from Cote de Texas, we see yellow ticking on the banquette. Even in this more rustic setting it adds a certain freshness.
French ticking originated as a utilitarian fabric used to cover mattresses, pillows, and daybeds. An extremely durable fabric it was originally woven to withstand heavy use and had a traditional heavy weave and straight line pattern. According to Wendy, antique pieces can still be found as early as the 18th century. In this room above from Country Living we see the ticking on the pillows and on the box spring. I really like how this looks - subtle but a very nice touch.
(cote de texas)
Here you see more contemporary ticking used as a duvet cover. In both examples you see that the fabric looks as wonderful mixed with beadboard and painted furniture as it is does mixed with denim and sisal.
French ticking is the perfect compliment to sisal and sea grass and lends itself wonderfully to classic coastal decor. I adore this room from Coastal Living! Notice the wood stump table, rattan coffee table, hanging lanterns and mirror. What a beautiful room for a beach house.
(cote de texas)
The classic ticking colors are red and blue - These pillows are a great addition to this sofa!
Faded blue ticking looks simply perfect in the Swedish style home. Here in a popular shot from Veranda, Shannon Bowers sits them on her gorgeous Gustavian bench.
(living etc)
Antique French ticking also looks divine on antique french furniture. I just adore the look and feel of this piece.
(cote de texas)
A French sofa with antique French ticking. It looks so soft and pretty.
(mary makarie)
The ticking on this chair looks new - but the floral fabric looks antique - An interesting mix
This iron daybed looks so sweet covered in ticking. Notice how perfect the stripes run on the sides of the cushion. Very well done.
(things caught in Michael's eye)
Here small antique pieces of French ticking are used in a patchwork design to cover this settee. It looks marvelous in this loft like setting.
(Country Living)
French Ticking in a child's room looks sweet and inviting. (peak of chic)
But, it is not just used just in coastal, beach and informal settings. Here designer Carolyn Roehm, drapes a bedroom and French ticking takes on a much more luxurious feel.
(cote de texas)
A bit more serious and formal,you can see that this table draped in French ticking, becomes more sophisticated. Used as a wall treatment and drapery fabric, this room from Peak of Chic, shows how French ticking can stand up to the most elegant architecture.
But, for most of us, just a few pretty pillows mixed in with what we have will do.
Here antique pieces are patch-worked into beautiful works of art. Note the ticking bench cushion as well. (eurolinens)
Here is another antique ticking pillow. This one is so pretty - the patching technique allows you to hide any stains and use as much of the remnant piece as possible.
I had to include this wonderful design from Freckles and Bird in the UK! What a fun pillow!
If only I could sew! You can find ticking in any fabric store, but for something really unique and beautiful check out Wendy's antique French pieces - They are so gorgeous. This is just one of many she has listed on her website, Textile Trunk- click here
I guess its pretty obvious that French Ticking is as popular as ever and here to stay. It works in almost every decor and setting. So next time someone asks you what you think about French Ticking you can say, "Oh Darling, it's a CLASSIC" (just try to use your best English accent!)


  1. I have really enjoyed this post about French ticking....the photos are spectacular and worth several good long looks.....I love French ticking but I think my budget will only support ticking I can find in a fabric shop here.

  2. I adore ticking! Thank you for sharing all of the beautiful eyecandy!

    -Andrea V.

  3. French ticking is a classic! Love the Union Jack pillow!

  4. I love french ticking! I definitely need more of it in my life...

    (and I thought it was coming back too...=)

  5. I enjoyed this. I have always loved the simplicity of ticking. There is an ease to it and it suits our New England cape. I have blue on blue ticking striped slipcovers-usually put on in the fall- then white for the warmer months. I love some of these tickings that you have here. Now I have to go check out your friends site-more fun! Thank-you!

  6. I've always loved French ticking and have been carrying around a swatch for months trying to decide what to upholster or slipcover with it. Problem is I could do virtually everything with it! Great post.

  7. You certainly found some incredible images Gina. I prefer the faded ticking but do love it all. I've made a few pillows using tan and white ticking and I love them!

  8. Growing up we called this Mattress ticking...really French ticking sounds so much more refined. Great examples of really pretty finds.

  9. I have remnants of vintage French mattress ticking, and I am wondering how to price them for my etsy site. Any one out there, have any idea?

  10. Great post! I love learning about new ways to use fabrics and styles... wall treatments was a new one!!

  11. I love this collection of beautiful photos and fabrics :)

  12. God, I love this to death. I had an appt. today with a client and chose ticking for her curtains
    white/with a muddy gray/brown line in it. soooo excited. white slips, brown/gray velvet pillows.

  13. Wonderful pictures with inspirations. The old mirrow at the 1st is gorgeous.


  14. I agree, it will never date. I cant live without ticking and especially paired with crisp white and grey.
    Great post!
    Ness xx

  15. I love french ticking and think that it is timeless, it has a certain charm...


  16. I think what you were saying is somewhat true about the ticking I noticed the last couple of years mainstream is using it more. I also agree it is always in. I had a blue and white ticking striped sofa for years. I got a new sofa and tried something new and I have regretted it. I want my ticking back and I plan to get it in the near future. So fresh and crisp and very durable , everything a fabric needs to be for me. I loved this post but it is making me want my sofa back, Kathysue

  17. Love French Ticking. Just bought 2 pillows from Euro Linens at the antique fair on Sunday - faded grayish stripe. Giddy excited about these things!

  18. Oh I love ticking! I just bought a quilt that's backed with ticking that's the side I'm showing.
    Great post! ☺ Celeste

  19. It's hard to believe that a style of fabric can have such a huge impact on the look of a room. What a great collection of images.

  20. As you know Gina..Ticking and I are the best of friends. Lovely post and I agree that Wendy is the best! kelley

  21. It seems like French ticking and slipcovers go together and I loved seeing the different approaches to the slipcover as well as the different ticking patterns. Fun post

  22. Gina- You are a woman after my own heart. I wish someone in my life understood why I am so obsessed with ticking stripes. They are so great. I have a chair and ottoman at the upholsters right now being recovered in the best ticking stripe. I will post it as soon as I get it back so that at least someone will really appreciate it.

  23. Ilove your post,and the use of this great fabric.It remembers me my childhood with all the mattresses covered with this fabric. In Argentina is named "coti" or "cotin"; I believe after the french name Coutil.
    Wonderful post! Julia

  24. Love these pictures and stripe pillowcase is alwayss my heart :)
    Wonderful post.

  25. Oohhh, I LOVE the ticking - especially on the sofa & dining chairs :)

  26. Sure seems like any striped faded fabric now defines "french ticking". A striped slip cover just looks sloppy in my eyes.

  27. I just purchased a blue and white ticking slip cover. I love ticking! I actually had a green and white ticking couch and loveseat before Katrina. I can't begin to tell you how upset I was to see my furniture after being submerged for two and a half weeks. Ugh!

  28. I love it too! Am thinking of covering a new sofa in a kid, pet resistant solid and doing coordinating pillows in the real stuff - antique French ticking. Loved your article and photos!

  29. Gorgeous lovely post! I linked this to my ticking fabric project post too, it's a keeper!


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