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The Appeal of Vintage Chenille Bedspreads

Updated on February 3, 2013
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A Little Bit of Chenille History

Chenille sometimes may refer to the yarn or fabric used to produce a textile. Often the term is used to describe a vintage type of fabric used to make a bedspread. These vintage bedspreads are commonly recycled into stuffed animals and throw pillows. The word chenille is French and it means caterpillar. An apt name for a yarn that is quite soft and fuzzy. Chenille yarn can be traced back to the 1890's but it was not until the 1930s that the bedspreads and shams became popular. The term chenille instead of bedspread stuck and often the fuzzy bedspreads instantly come to mind when the word is used. Today chenille yarn is commonly used to produced the tufted varsity letters seen on "Letterman jackets" popular among sports teams in high school and college.

Chenille hand made items are often seen in online art shops like Etsy and the chenille bedding is auctioned online at Ebay. Products range from baby blankets to bibs, throw rugs to furniture covers, and from bath robes to scarves.

What to Look for When Buying Vintage Chenille

The best way to find variety is to shop online. However, shopping online presents some issues. Can the seller be trusted to send you a product that matches the item's description. Always ask the seller questions when in doubt. If they do not answer or answers are vague then move on. It is hard to tell in pictures online if there are stains on a chenille bedspread or perhaps even tears or wear. Make sure the online posting shows more than one picture and that the item is described in length.

Tags are important on vintage chenille bedspreads. If you are looking for a certain maker, be sure to get a picture of the tag from the seller. Common vintage chenille bedspread makers are Cabin Crafts, Morgan Jones, Bates, Cottage and Hoffman.

Cabin Crafts

Sellers of chenille bedspreads were often small home based businesses. Families were trying to eek out a living during the Great Depression. Cabin Crafts became the first truly industrialized maker of chenille bedding. They put Dalton, Georgia on the map and turned to making carpets when chenille bedding fell out of fashion in the 1960s. The bedspreads produced by Cabin Crafts still had a homey charm to their styling. Often 'wave' patterns are prevalent on a Cabin Craft bedspread.

Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones had already established factories by the late 1800's. They had an edge over the competition because they had buildings to produce the chenille bedding when the craze caught on. Despite being a larger industrial chenille bedding manufacturer, Morgan Jones produced quality chenille bedding that is highly sought after by vintage bedspread collectors. Morgan Jones made a couple of popular patterns that are ideal for a collector. Look for their "rosebud" and "popcorn" patterns.

Bates

Well known for their "George and Martha Hobnail" bedspread, the Bates Mill started in 1850, still produces chenille bedding today. The Bates Mill has a story similar to Morgan Jones. Bates had a jump on the competition because the company already had a production area when the chenille fad began.

Cottage

Cottage chenille bedding is literally the cottage industry that sprang up before the larger companies like Bates and Morgan Jones was involved in creating chenille bedspreads. These desirable spreads were being homemade in houses in Northern Georgia. This industry can be credited to Catherine Evans who devised the craft to help families feed themselves during the Great Depression. A common design on cottage spreads is a peacock. These chenille bedspreads were sold by the side of the road. The myriad of displayed chenille bedspreads on the roadside influenced the name of a stretch of highway 41 to be called "Peacock Alley". These spreads that started the craze will not have a tag and can be recognized by their hand made qualities.

Hofmann

Hofmann is one of the chenille bedding companies that did not survive until this day. Hofmann chenille bedding is sought after for its quality. A Hofmann tag generally reads " W. Hofmann Textiles Inc. Englewood NJ". The pattern most sought after is white tufting on a pastel colored background.

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    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR

      Corey 

      5 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Moonlake,

      Maybe you find a rare gem after checking the tags!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I didn't know all of this about chenille. I have a few bedspreads made out of chenille, will have to check the tags. Voted up and more on your hub.

    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR

      Corey 

      6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Rusti Mccollum,

      Thank you. I love teddy bears made from chenille and a blanket would be fantastic. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 

      6 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      my aunt made me a scarf and matching hat out of chenille. I love how soft it is. Great hub.I think a blanket would be heaven. Thanks for sharing this. I found it very interesting.voted up

    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR

      Corey 

      6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      KoffeKlatch Gals,

      I love the feel and the look of it. Something about it just says 'welcome to granmother's house" and that feeling is a reassuring sense of comfort and safety. Thanks.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love the feel of vintage chenille. It is so soft and cuddly. Great information.

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