Friday, October 18, 2013

DOREEN TELLS US ABOUT COVERLETS

 Above are pictures of the Jacquard Loom and a few pictures, of my friends, Jacquard woven coverlet with the name and date of 1833 woven in the corner.
                                                
Coverlets are a woven bedcover. Unlike a quilt which is made from cloth that is sewn and pieced together, a coverlet is woven on a loom. Early coverlets woven in the 1700’s were mostly geometric patterns, but in the early 1800’s the Jacquard Loom was invented which simplified the process of weaving complex patterns in a short amount of time.

Professional weavers -who were men owned these jacquard looms, and they could weave intricate patterns like flowers, trees, stars, eagles, and even words. It was common for a jacquard coverlet to have the weavers name and date woven in the corner. Sometimes the name of the person who commissioned the coverlet was added. When you see a ladies name woven in the corner, it will be the owner, not the weaver.

Most coverlets were made from wool and cotton. The wool for these coverlets was often spun and dyed at home and then delivered to a local weaver who made the coverlet. The wool was usually dyed a dark blue from indigo or red from madder (indigo and madder are both plants), and the cotton was the un-dyed natural color. Because most looms are narrow, coverlets were often made of two woven panels and joined with a center seam. The cost was about $2.00 - $4.00.

After the Civil War, weavers could no longer compete with the cheap yarn goods being imported, so that was the end of the coverlet business.

Doreen

THANK YOU DOREEN FOR SHARING THIS WITH US.





17 comments:

ga447 said...

Thank you for this information, it was very interesting and a piece of art.

Vickie said...

Thanks Doreen. I liked this post. What an awesome coverlet your friend owns!!

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Everyone,
Thank you for the compliments and thank to you Doreen for putting this post on for us.

Marilyn

Anonymous said...

Thanks Doreen! Great post! Looks like a beautiful coverlet! Wonder if anyone makes them anymore? Blessings, Carol

Countryside Reflections said...

Hi Carol. Yes there are still weavers who will make coverlets. Of course they are very expensive. i'm sure antique jacquard looms can be found too, but now we have computer controlled looms that will weave intricate designs.

Before the jacquard looms were invented most coverlets were woven with a geometric design called overshot. You couldn't write words or make shapes like animals, but the designs were beautiful. The looms weren't fancy or complicated, in fact I have several looms that can weave overshot. But a bed covering is a very large and time consuming project. Not too many weavers will take on a commission like that.

I'm always amazed that coverlets from almost 200 years ago can still be found. The one in my pictures was purchased by my friend at an auction. Most old coverlets are stained and worn with holes in them, but the one she purchased was in very good condition. I think she also has two more in her collection. If the name of the owner was woven in the corner, it's fun to research their background.

Doreen

SueAnn said...

Hi Doreen! I never knew why the weaving went away..other then I just thought, with all the factory type, and like you said, the goods coming from over seas, but I never thought it impacted that much..shows you what I did'nt know!!
I have seen many coverlets at auctions. and have bid on a few, in not so great shape- but the material was a value to me..did'nt win any tho...
You mentioned overshot...I wonder...did that relate into material for clothing? You will read about materials used for dresses, pre 1900, that were "over shot", but I never saw actual photos, or pictures of the fabric...was any of this type weaving, used at all for dress making fabrics?
Wonderful post.....

New York State Of Mind said...

What really got me is that coverlet making ended after the Civil War. I had no idea.

Marilyn

Countryside Reflections said...

There is a lady at the Alling Coverlet Museum that buys damaged coverlets and saves the usable areas to make small keepsake pillows. She cuts out the good parts and makes pillows that are about 8"x10" to sell in their museum store. I bought one to keep as a souvenir when I was there a few years ago. I should have taken a picture for Marilyn to put in this post. So even damaged coverlets have a use.

I'm sure that the clothing industry has borrowed the name overshot to describe a fabric. I don't know whether it has anything to do with a woven overshot pattern though. Overshot got it's name because some of the weft threads (the ones that run horizontal from side to side) float over certain warp threads to create a pattern, thus overshot. You can see this technique on the back of jacquard and damask fabric. Jacquard is another word that the clothing industry borrowed from a weaving term for their fabric. The jacquard loom is a mechanical loom that got it's name from Joseph Jacquard who invented it in 1801. I guess they're similar because they're both a loose complex design weave, but that's where the name came from.

Doreen

SueAnn said...

That would make sense then, the over shot in fabric- the idea of it taken from the weaving..you read about a fabric, "overshot with silk, or gold, or silver...", and that must be the technique, tho not a woven technique per se...interesting.
I am glad she is using bits and pieces of old coverlets, I have done the same with old quilts.....
Thanks, Doreen!

Lowell & Faye said...

Marilyn,

I'm 75 years old and I have a coverlet that I received upon my mother's death in 1983. It had come to her from her mother, my grandmother, who died in 1946. I don't know who had it before that time, probably her mother or mother in law. From your description, the coverlet must have been made before the Civil War. You've piqued my curiosity, so I'm going to have to do some investigating.

Lowell

Lowell & Faye said...

Well, I guess I wasn't paying attention. My comment should have been addressed to Doreen. Forgive me, Doreen, but I always use the excuse that I'm old or it must be the medicine I take. So please accept whichever excuse you would like.

Lowell

New York State Of Mind said...

Don't worry about Lowell. None of us are getting any younger. I am going to be 65 next month.

Marilyn

Countryside Reflections said...

Hi Lowell, it depends on how the coverlet was woven. If it is an overshot weave coverlet, it could have been made anytime, since a regular loom can weave that pattern. But if it was done on a jacquard loom that professional weavers used, it will probably be dated mid 1800's or earlier. Jacquard patterns are very intricate, usually with the center of the coverlet being one pattern, and then a large boarder around the edges being another. They were fancy designs like trees, flowers, eagles, people.

Have you looked carefully at all four corners to see if there is a date, name, or initials?

Yours can also be a newer one that was mass produced in a factory. Only the jacquard coverlets that were HAND WOVEN are the early ones, where the professional weavers couldn't compete after the Civil War.

Hand woven coverlets usually have a seam down the center where it was woven in two pieces and hand seamed because the loom wasn't wide enough to make it in one piece. If you look closely you can see the seam.

Doreen

New York State Of Mind said...

Thank you, Doreen. I knew you could help Lowell out.

Marilyn

Lowell & Faye said...

Doreen,

Even with your explanation, I don't know if the coverlet is overshot or not. I don't think so. It has a rather complex design and has a differently designed 7 inch border. What is dark blue on one side of the coverlet is a natural light color on the opposite side. Does that mean it's overshot? It definitely has the seam down the middle.

I wish I could include a picture in this comment. If there is a way to do that, I don't know what it is.

Countryside Reflections said...

Hi Lowell. You're welcome to e-mail me a picture at doreen@CountrysideReflections.com and I can look into it. An overall picture of the whole coverlet and a few closeups would be good.

Doreen

Lowell & Faye said...

Doreen,

Thank you so much, but it'll have to be tomorrow or the next day. We have grandkids visiting now and don't have the time to take the pictures, upload them to the computer etc.

Thanks again,

Lowell