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A 1940's USDA circular promoting home production of cotton mattresses. Materials needed to make a mattress included "10 Yards--8 oz. Ticking," "50 Pounds Long Staple Cotton," "Mattress Roll Needle," and "Thread for Making Roll." The ticking is shown most clearly in the lower left corner of the photograph.
An antique settee reupholstered in ticking fabric.

Ticking (fabric) is a cotton or linen textile, tightly woven for durability, and used to cover mattresses and bed pillows.[1] It commonly has a striped design, in muted colors such as brown, grey or blue, and occasionally red or yellow, against a plain, neutral background.

Although traditionally used for mattresses and pillows, the material has found other uses, such as serving as a backing for quilts, coverlets, and other bedding. Ticking is a tightly woven fabric, originally to prevent down feathers from poking through the fabric.[2] It is sometimes woven with a twill weave.

Ticking is no longer restricted to a utility fabric, and has found uses in interior decorating styles intending to evoke a homespun or industrial aesthetic. Modern uses for ticking include furniture upholstery, cushion covers, tablecloths, decorative basket liners, and curtains. Occasionally, lighter weight percale cloth is printed with a striped pattern made to resemble ticking fabric, and used to make garments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Operath, Larry (2006). Textile. Lotus Press. p. 161. ISBN 9788189093624. 
  2. ^ Shaeffer, Claire (2008). Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide. Krause Publications Craft. p. 497. ISBN 9780896895362.