Have you ever heard of ticking fabric? It’s a material that often goes unnoticed, but it actually plays a big role in fashion and décor. Ticking fabric has a rich history and practical uses.

In this post, we’ll explore all the details of ticking fabric – where it comes from, what makes it unique, and how you can use it in your sewing projects. So, let’s dive in!

Close up of red ticking fabric

What is Ticking Fabric?

Did you know that ticking fabric has been around since the 18th century? It’s known for its durability and classic stripe pattern. The name “ticking” comes from the Greek word “thike,” which means “case” or “cover.”

It was originally used to make mattress covers and pillows because it could withstand wear and tear. Nowadays, ticking fabric can be found in all sorts of fashion and interior design.

If you’re looking for a classic and timeless fabric, ticking might be just what you need! It usually has thin and evenly spaced stripes in different colours, which tend to be more muted. While blue and white are the most common colours, plenty of other options are also available.

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Materials Used For Ticking Fabric

In the past, ticking fabric was made from strong cotton that lasted a long time. Nowadays, though, all kinds of materials are used to make ticking fabric.

  • Cotton – Classic cotton ticking is popular for achieving an authentic, vintage look.
  • Polyester – Polyester ticking fabric is a practical choice for upholstery and outdoor applications due to its enhanced wrinkle resistance and longevity.
  • Blends – Some ticking fabrics blend cotton with synthetic fibres for added strength and durability while retaining a natural feel.

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Characteristics Of Ticking Fabric

  • Durable – Ticking fabric is durable and tightly woven. It is typically made from a blend of cotton and polyester, giving it a soft feel and resistance to wear and tear.
  • Distinctive style – Ticking fabric has a distinctive striped pattern of narrow lines in alternating colours.
  • Breathable and hypoallergenic – making it popular for bedding.

Uses for Ticking Fabric

Ticking fabric is versatile and can be used in all kinds of sewing projects. There are a bunch of popular ways to use it, and here are just a few examples:

  • Upholstery – If you’re looking for an upholstery option that can withstand everyday wear and tear, ticking fabric is worth considering. It’s a durable choice, particularly when it comes to chairs and sofas. It’s one of my favourite fabrics to achieve an English cottage look.
  • Cushions and Pillows – Ticking fabric’s classic stripe pattern adds a timeless feel to your pillows and cushion covers. It’s great for indoor and outdoor use, so you don’t have to worry about it not standing up to everyday wear and tear.
  • Curtains – If you’re looking for a fabric that’s both cosy and strong, ticking fabric is a great option for curtains. Its understated stripes can easily match many different types of home décor.
  • Bedding – Ticking duvet covers and pillowcases evoke the bedroom’s cosy, English cottage charm. Its natural breathability ensures a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Table Linens – Consider using ticking fabric for tablecloths, napkins, and table runners for a charming table setting. It adds a touch of timeless chic to your dining experience.
  • Fashion – Ticking fabric’s robustness makes it a unique choice for clothing items like jackets, vests, and skirts. Its classic stripes can create eye-catching patterns. A handmade quilted jacket made from ticking fabric would be so scrumptious!
  • Accessories – Incorporate ticking fabric into other sewing projects, such as tote bags, aprons, or decorative accents, for added durability and longevity.

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Sewing Tips for Ticking Fabric

Ticking fabric is a durable and versatile material, but working with it effectively requires some specific techniques:

  • Cutting – Use sharp fabric shears or rotary cutters to ensure clean, precise cuts. Learn how to cut fabric.
  • Seams – Ticking fabric is tightly woven, so standard sewing machine settings work well. Use a moderate stitch length, typically around 2.5mm. Ensure your machine’s tension is set correctly to avoid puckering or stretching. Learn how to thread a sewing machine.
  • Finishing Seams – Due to its tendency to fray, finishing seams is essential. Consider using techniques like zigzag stitching, overlocking (serging), or French seams for a neat and durable finish.
  • Pressing – Ticking fabric can tolerate heat, so use a medium to high iron setting. However, always test on a scrap piece first to avoid scorching or melting. Press seams open for a crisp finish.
  • Needle and Thread – Opt for a universal or denim needle, as the ticking fabric is often heavier than regular cotton. Use a strong, all-purpose thread for your sewing projects to ensure durability.

Caring For Ticking Fabric

To maintain the quality and longevity of ticking fabric items, follow these care instructions:

  • Cleaning – Ticking fabric is relatively easy to clean. It can be machine-washed in cold or lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach, as it can weaken the fibres.
  • Drying – For best results, air drying is recommended. Ticking fabric can shrink in high heat, so if you must use a dryer, choose a low-heat or air-dry setting. Remove items promptly to prevent wrinkles.
  • Stain Removal – Tackle stains promptly to prevent them from setting. Blot liquid stains with a clean cloth, and gently scrape off any excess material for solid stains. Use a safe stain remover for coloured fabrics and follow the product’s instructions.
  • Storage – When storing ticking fabric items, fold them gently to minimise creasing. Avoid placing heavy objects on top of them to prevent flattening or distortion of the fabric’s pattern. Store items in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.

By following these sewing tips and care instructions, you can enjoy the durability and timeless charm of ticking fabric for years to come.

To Sum Up

To sum up, ticking fabric is a fantastic material that can adapt to various uses and has a rich history and charm that never fades. Whether you want to cover your furniture, create stylish clothing, or add a charming vibe to your home, ticking fabric is a lovely choice.

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