April 3, 2011

Mate`las`se´    (må`lå`sã´)

a. 1. Ornamented by means of an imitation or suggestion of quilting, the surface being marked by depressed lines which form squares or lozenges in relief;as, matelassé silks.

The French word, matelassé means “quilted,” “padded,” or “cushioned,” and in usage with fabric, refers to hand quilted textiles. It is meant to mimic the style of hand-stitched Marseilles type quilts made in Provence, France. Matelassé fabric can be either hand-stitched to create the decorative features of the fabric, or woven on a jacquard loom for the appearance of quilting. Matelassé fabric is a heavy, thick textile that appears to be padded, but actually has no padding within the fabric.

Matelassé fabric is commonly made in 100% cotton, but can be found in cotton/polyester blends and chenille as well. Designs range from simple, graphic square designs, or fancier floral motifs. Matelassé fabric can be very elegant, but is also favored for its comfortable, casual design that seems to improve with every washing. The textile is a favorite for shabby chic and French provincial décor for nearly every room of the house.  I’m crazy about it on a bed, so comfy!

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