What is a Matelasse Coverlet?

February 19, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team

Dreaming of fresh baguettes, bottles of Burgundy, and strolls around the Seine? Whether you’re into Edith Piaf or Emily in Paris, you know that France holds an undying, undeniably romantic appeal. While we can’t all score an apartment in Paris, we can summon a bit of European elegance in our bedrooms at home with chic, high-quality bedding. 

Enter the matelassé coverlet, a style bed covering that features intricate fabric that’s woven on a French-originated Jacquard loom. Sleek, substantial, and requiring no inserts or filling, this style of bedding can lend your bedtime set-up a bit of je ne sais quoi.

To help you determine if a matelassé coverlet is suitable for your room, we’ll take a close look at how they’re made, how they differ from other kinds of bedding, and what kind of nighttime needs they cover. 

Light, cozy, and airy, our Matelassé Coverlet offers the perfect combination of texture for style and softness for comfort.

What Is a Matelassé Coverlet?

A matelassé coverlet is simply a type of blanket that features this woven, intricate fabric. Beyond that fundamental aspect, matelassé coverlets can be pretty diverse. They earn their stripes from their unique construction and woven nature, not because they must adhere to a particular style or pattern. 

While the matelassé coverlets of yore were rendered in ivories and whites and designed to please traditional tastes, today this fabric compliments a wide array of home decor styles — from country to contemporary. 

Some coverlets incorporate bold, Old-World damasks. Some feature cozy, cottage-ready florals. Some offer a contemporary, versatile feel — like ours, which trades old-school stodginess for breezy 100% cotton, a lowkey, fluffy woven texture, and three modern, airy colorways. 

What is Matelasse Fabric?

beige-brown-rose-colored-matelasse-fabric

Even for the most dedicated Francophiles among us, matelassé may not be the easiest to pronounce (nota bene: it’s “maht-lah-say”). It can also be tough to pinpoint what makes this fabric so sophisticated, so sleek, and so substantial. 

What is this enigmatic French creation? A tapestry? A quilt? 

While matelassé means “quilted” or “padded” in French, matelassé textiles contain none of the stitching or padding that’s customary of traditional quilts.1 Instead, matelassé fabrics attain their thick, intricate quality by unique techniques and innovative construction.

Here’s some key background information on matelassé textiles:

  • Matelassé is made on a Jacquard loom – Matelassé is frequently woven on a jacquard loom, a weaving machine with roots that trace to France at the beginning of the 19th century.1 This mechanized loom enables intricate patterns and tight weaves, which gives the fabric its weighty, substantial feel and striking visual interest. 
  • Matelassé is hefty – Matelassé fabrics may feel substantial, but that’s because the front and back threads of the fabric are interwoven — not because it has any additional insulation. Matelassé coverlets are not made up of various stitched-together layers, nor do they have any batting (filling).  
  • Matelassé textiles are monochromatic – Generally speaking, matelassé avoids excess flashiness or visual clutter by sticking to one solid color on the loom. Patterns and textures come alive in relief rather than through contrasting shades. 
  • Matelassé textiles tend to be made from cotton – Traditional matelassé textiles tend to be made from crepe or cotton yarns. Heavier cotton yards have sometimes been used to add a three-dimensional appearance to the fabric. 

Elegant and warm, stylish and sturdy, this fabric embodies the perfect mix of aesthetic interest and high-quality substance. It’s only natural that it’s prized in a range of high fashion and household applications — including in bedding. 

Matelassé Coverlets vs. Quilts and the Rest

neutral-colored-bedroom-with-plants

It’s clear that this French-inspired weave offers a refined twist on comfort. But how do matelassé coverlets stack up against the rest — pun intended — of the bedding lineup?

  • Quilts vs. Matelassé – Matelassé coverlets can be known for their quilted appearance, depending on their pattern. But they’re not quite quilts. So what is a quilt in comparison to a matelassé coverlet? Unlike matelassé coverlets, quilts depend on distinct layers of fabric (sometimes quite colorful) that are stitched together. For warmth, quilts rely on batting — a layer of filling that’s sewn-in for insulation.2 

Because matelassé coverlets gain their heft from their interwoven construction as opposed to supplementary stuffing, they can bring warmth without bringing extra bulk.  

  • Duvets vs. Matelassé– Duvet sets are made up of two pieces, the duvet cover and the down (or down-alternative) insert. These inserts — usually purchased separately — will provide essential warmth and structure, while the cover provides decoration and protection. Matelassé coverlets, alternatively, provide style and substance in just one piece.
  • Comforters vs. Matelassé – Like quilts, comforters are made by stitching together fabric around insulation. A comforter tends to be plusher than a quilt — brimming with insulating filling. They’re also bulkier than matelassé coverlets, relying on volume for warmth. 

Is a Matelassé Coverlet Right for Me?

How can you tell if a matelassé coverlet is right for your redesign? You might benefit from this classic style of bedding if you’re interested in:

  • A durable bed cover
  • Warmth without bulk
  • A low-profile structure
  • Monochromatic simplicity

Matelassé coverlets don’t require inserts, making savvy purchases for minimalists. Or at least those of us eager to strike some unnecessary items off of our shopping lists. 

Matelassé Made Easy With Casper

Eager to incorporate this elegant bedding into your boudoir? Up your coverlet’s staying power by seeking matelassé that’s made from strong, breathable fibers and rendered in versatile, contemporary shades. 

Our Matelasse Coverlet and Shams make stylish bedding a breeze with 100% cotton fibers and a light, fluffy woven texture. Imagine — all the warmth, durability, and elegance that makes matelassé such a moment, rendered in a classic, soft style that matches every moment. 

Sounds parfait? Perfect your bedding with Casper. 

Sources: 

  1. Britannica. Jacquard loom. https://www.britannica.com/technology/Jacquard-loom
  2. The Quilt Show. Batting. https://thequiltshow.com/quiltipedia/what-is-batting