‘Matelasse’ is a French word that means “quilted,” “padded,” and “cushioned.” and when said with fabric, refers to hand-quilted textiles. It is a copied version of hand-stitched Marseilles type of quilts that were made in Provence, France. Matelasse type of cloth may be hand-stitched to give a decorative look to the fabric or maybe weaved on a jacquard loom to give an appearance of quilting. It is a dense, thick textile that appears to be padded, but in reality, it doesn’t have any padding within.
Matelasse Fabric is made up of 100% cotton but can be found cotton/polyester and chenille blends as well. Their designs may range from simple to graphical square to fancier floral motifs. Its look can be very stylish, but the people also favor it for its comfortable experience and casual design, which keeps improving with every wash. The textile is considered a favorite for shabby chic and French provincial decorative for every room of the house.
Matelasse Fabric is used in crib bedding and children’s bedding sets. This fabric became so famous that in the 1960s, Oscar de La Renta designed suits using this elegant fabric. There are a variety of handbags too available that are made using this unique quilted fabric. Matelasse fabric is weaved in intense colors with only the side pattern for decoration. Some creators design beautiful quilts in bold colors.
The bedding is usually made with a cutting edge, but also available in the simple hemmed edge. Antique and heirloom blankets made with Matelasse fabric can be purchased from antique stores and online by the collectors. Sewing experts can also create their Matelasse fabric bt just having some necessary skills. It can be made simply or have some design as the seamstress is willing to carve. There is no range in the quality of the Matelasse fabric. It varies from affordable range to costly range, depending on the design made, the material used, and the region.
What is Matelasse Cloth?
Matelasse or Marseille’s cloth is also known as woven quilting. Matelasse may sometime have simple patterns paired with specific designs. It ranges from heavy fabric to light fabric, which still is fluffy and soft by touch. Another material is quite similar to Matelasse known as ‘Cloque.’ Cloque is sometimes sold as Matelasse because it may become tough to tell the difference between them.
Matelasse is a fabric made with two or three sets of cotton. They weave together so that the cotton sets down. When the fabric is finished the cotton shrinks giving it a rumble appearance. Sometimes, bulky cotton yarns are used for stuffing yarns under the material to provide a 3D appearance to the fabric. The interlacing pattern is composite and resembles the appearance of stitching on a colored surface. There is no shrinkage of yarns sets in cloque. It is a flat fabric.
History of Matelasse Cloth
In the 18thcentury, quilted waistcoats were very popular, and Marseilles in France was famous for quilting. England was always eager to promote British goods to bring down or discourage imports. British controlled the imports of quilts through onerous taxes and import restrictions. Many societies came forward and announced rewards for anyone who can come up with an alternative to Marseille’s quilting. In 1740, a man named Robert Elsden came up with an invention for a technique to make a hand-quilted look on a loom. He was awarded by a prize, “Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture, and Commerce.”
The technique used by the Elsden’s was introductory. By working on it and making it viable, it was available commercially by the 1760s. It was later started selling in England by the name of “Marseilles Cloth.” It soon became prevalent, and merchants of England and American Colonies could choose from different patterns from the samples, some from which still exist in the museums. The fabric is used to make bedcovers, petticoats, waistcoats, and small items, too, such as pockets. The popularity brought wide acclaim, recognition, and awards.
In the 18th Century, Marseilles cloth consisted of two layers of fabric that were weaved together. The society advertisement then stated, it can be made with cotton, wool, or linen. Most varieties of these were decorative rather durable.
The English used to call it as ‘Marseille’s cloth’, while the French didn’t want it to compete with their prized hand quilting and named it “Matelasser.”
Slowly, Marseille cloth disappeared from the markets and fashion in the mid 19th Century. Still, it remained famous for bedspreads and furnishing. It was out of style because of some reasons such as light, pure, and less bulky fabrics that came in fashions in the early years of the 19th Century. There has also been a change in taste between underclothes and outer clothes in the early 19th Century.
There was again a change as the invention of jacquard loom revolutionized fabric manufacturing. In the present time, Matelasse is usually made on a jacquard loom, but there is no confirmation regarding the jacquard loom was first used for the manufacture of Matelasse.
The first half of the 19th-century Matelasse was a rare item as the fashion fabric. The magazines that were published represented it like, the reader is not familiar with the material. It was generally seen as the fabric for bedcover, and the example of it is available in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The jacquard manufactured Matelasse may not be available in the early 1870s, as its first fabric reappeared in fashion articles in 1874. It was marketed in the name of Matelasse in both England and France. The French dominated the fashion relating to the clothing and made it very popular in the 18th Century.
Matelasse is still available today, but its history will always be a memorable sort for the interested fashion experts. Matelasse was popular will always be famous for its soft clothing and everlasting expertise. The lightweight cloth piece of it is still used by many in European Countries.