A strong, closely woven cotton or linen with a fine stripe running through it, used for covering feather cushions and mattresses. Its characteristic tight, herringbone weave repels feathers that might poke through.
It is not usually pre-shrunk, and is also available in plain colours, although this can’t really be called ticking. Use for curtain linings, and for curtains, cushion covers, and upholstery, as a lining for boxes, suitcases and slipcovers.
Commonly in black and white, ticking is now woven in many colours and weights. These colours have made ticking it very much more useable and versatile – from the mattress to the bedvalance to curtains, loose covers and cushions.
For us it is our first port of call for curtain linings, because it’s soft, durable, it’s lovely to see from the inside – but isn’t strong enough to be distraction, or an eye-sore from the outside. When a curtain flips around, or you’re sitting in the window seat behind, or you walk past the window outside, o r notice the edge of curtain framing an open door it’s really uplifting to see another lovely fabric. Actually it’s as much about noting the care that has gone into the back of the thing, as well as the front. One of the things we always do it to make avery fine piped edge at the leading edge – it is this sort of detail that makes a work stand out front the rest.
A ticking curtain lining belongs as much to the exterior of the house as to the interior, so the choice must work with both. If it doesn’t, however well it looks inside, it isn’t the right one. In the country we can use ochres, or sea greens or pinks or any of the lovely soft colours, because they go with the stone or the foliage or the paintwork or the landscape outside. In the city, with a completely different environment – the soft taupes, stones and greys look good from all angles.
As loose covers ticking is just that bit more practical than plain colour, and most tickings have been made for durability and are machine washable. Curtains too, have just that little bit more interest than a plain without being at all overpowering.
By taking ticking and designing with it – cutting it on the cross, the bias, for border, hems, headings, ties, etc. it becomes a whole different proposition, one with very long legs.