Introduction to Coverlets

Samuel B. Musselman, No.768 1849 Tied Beiderand Coverlet
Woven in Hilltown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Introduction to Coverlets
Coverlet was also called a Coverlid or Civerlet
The coverlet was a top-most bedcovering and was woven on a loom.
A coverlet has:
         A center field pattern which often repeats many times.
         A border pattern(s) on the sides and foot.
         Often fringe on the foot or the sides and foot.

The coverlet may be woven full-width in one piece, half-width in two pieces with a center seam or third-width in three pieces with two seams.  The pieced coverlets were woven in one long strip then cut, hand sewn selvedge to selvedge and hemmed at the top.

But remember there are exceptions to every rule.
         Some coverlets have no fringe.
         Some coverlets have no borders.
         Some coverlets have borders on both sides, the head and the foot.

The coverlet  being a top-most woven bedcovering should not be confused with the following related textiles:
         Linen sheets were usually woven plain weave and center seamed but have no borders and  no fringe.
         Woolen blankets were usually woven plain weave or twill, often with a narrow side border and center seamed but have no fringe.
         Counterpanes were defined as being three yards by three yards and often woven all white.  Note there were all white coverlets.

Joseph Klar 1843 Child’s Fancy Coverlet
Woven in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania

Geometric Star Work Child’s Coverlet

The child’s coverlet was woven half-width in one piece, usually with bottom and side borders and a small center field.  These coverlets would be used for a child on a cradle or trundle bed.  Many examples are recorded with client’s names.

Gabriel Rausher 1861 Weaver’s Sample
Woven in Delaware, Delaware County, Ohio

A weaver sample is woven with just borders and no center field.

For a look at an article titled Some Geometric Coverlets that appeared in our 2015 First Quarter Newsletter and was continued in our 2015 Second Quarter Newsletter click here.

A Coverlet Bibliography is provided.  Most of these books are out-of-print.  Some are still available new.  You need to search used book sites to find many of the out of print books. Click Here to see the coverlet bibliography.