TOAST Magazine

TICKING STRIPE

STYLE & STORIES

Ticking cloth is instantly recognisable. That’s because of its trademark pattern: a neat vertical stripe in a muted colour on a white or beige background. Why it employs this linear design is uncertain, but what’s even more curious is that its enduring popularity has more to do with its aesthetic than its function. You see ticking was originally purely utilitarian – it was never meant to be on show.

To understand why this is we have to go back about 1,000 years, to the bedroom and a time when mattresses and pillows were made of straw, or if you were very lucky, feathers. To stop the loose filling escaping, it was encased in thick woven linen or cotton twill that was often waxed or coated in soap to seal the fabric. A quick quality test involved holding it up to the light – if any passed through, the weave wasn’t tight enough. This stiff and sturdy fabric became known as ticking, a name that derives from the Greek work theka, which means case or cover. Softer more decorative layers would then be laid on top.

As the support act, rather than star of the show, ticking could easily have followed straw and feather mattresses into the history books. The fact that it didn’t owes a great deal to the work of influential American interior designer and socialite Sister Parish (1910-1994). She championed the humble striped cloth, using it for furniture upholstery and cushions in chic living rooms. The idea caused quite the stir, but soon gained popularity.

Since then, the term ticking has been relaxed and expanded to include many lighter-weight cloths printed with a striped pattern, allowing its classic clean-lined appeal to be applied more widely on everything from clothing to bed linen.

Words by Rachel Ward

Shop our ticking stripe Levantine Stripe Leila Dress and Levantine Stripe Kyoto Top. Or shop our more traditional organic ticking stripe bedlinen.

Keep up to date with our latest articles and news


Sub-Total: USD 0.00

VIEW SHOPPING BAG CHECKOUT
Close

Delivery to your chosen country

Choose your delivery country

Continue

The items in your bag will be transferred to the currency of your selected country. The items that are not available for delivery in your selected country will be removed from your bag.

Close

Welcome to TOAST

Your delivery country is currently

All prices are in USD
We offer flat rate delivery to Australia for USD 16.50

Shop
Continue

The items in your bag will be transferred to the currency of your selected country. The items that are not available for delivery in your selected country will be removed from your bag.

I would like to join the TOAST email newsletter to hear about new collections, offers, events, and editorial.