Chenille Bedspreads

Chenille Bedspreads bring a sense of nostalgia and old-fashioned style to your home. Cozy in the wintertime, light in the summertime, a traditional chenille bedspread transforms your bedroom into a peaceful oasis, evoking beautiful memories of home and family.  Full, Queen, and King sizes available:

Reproduction chenille bedspreads are rising in popularity along with a continuing fascination with midcentury America.  Let’s take a look at current trends in retro chenille:

Old Fashioned Solid White Chenille Bedspreads

The Grandmother of all chenille bedspreads is the old fashioned white chenille bedspread reminiscent the candlewick style of colonial America.  Fortunately, these remain popular and you can shop a wide selection on Amazon.  Available in Full, Queen, and King sizes:

Top Rated Solid Color Chenille Bedspreads

If you want to add more color to your bedroom there are many solid color options available.  Here are some of the best available on Amazon:

Why is it called a ‘Chenille’ Bedspread?

When we talk about chenille bedspreads, we are typically referring to a cotton bed sheet where cotton loops of yarn have been raised through it and then cut, creating that fuzzy caterpillar effect from whence ‘chenille’, caterpillar in French, gets it’s name.  So we just call this chenille.

However, there are a couple of variations of chenille bedspreads called needletuft and hobnail.

In a needle tuft spread, the loops are raised way up like they are in standard chenille but the loops are not cut.  Needle tuft loops were very often used in creating floral patterns.

Needletuft Chenille Bedspread

Fuzzy tufts of needle tuft chenille.

Just as with needle tuft spreads, the loops of hobnail chenille are not cut but the loops are much more compact.  Hobnail most closely resembles chenille’s candlewicking predecessor.

Bates was the primary maker of hobnail chenille which they used for the Martha and George Washington pattern spread.

Hobnail Chenille Bedspread

Small tight tufts of a hobnail chenille bedspread.

Retro Chenille Brands

As discussed in the history of chenille, chenille bedspreads were home made in the earlier part of the 20th century. These hand made gems are now referred to as cottage chenille bedspreads (because chenille bedspread making started out as a cottage industry).

As chenille bedspreads became more popular, large manufacturers like Sears and Montgomery Ward began mass producing them.  However, there are 4 major brands that are most prevalent in the collectors’ market today:  

Vintage Chenille Bedspread Brands:

None of these vintage manufacturers remain in business today.  However, Bates carries on as a brand for Maine Heritage Weavers.

Maine Heritage Weavers Chenille Bedspreads

Maine Heritage Weavers is the family owned enterprise carrying on the Bates Manufacturing (established 1850) tradition of quality chenille and candlewick bedspreads.  All of their bedspreads are 100% cotton and made in the USA!

The patterns and styles employed in these bedspreads look these same as they did 100 years ago. If you’re looking an authentically traditional chenille bedspread, Maine Heritage Weavers is the way to go.  All bedspreads are available in Full, Queen, and King.

They are most known for their all white Abigail Adams and George and Martha Washington chenille bedspreads like these:

Walter Drake Chenille Bedspreads

It’s fitting that an old fashioned mail order company like Walter Drake continues to sell old fashioned chenille bedspreads.  Walter Drake was founded in 1947 in Colorado Springs and has sold a wide variety of products, including bedspreads, through their catalogs over the years.

Fortunately they are still in business carrying on the great American mail order tradition.  If you never heard of Walter Drake, just ask your Grandma.  Here’s a sample of their current offerings:

Patchwork Chenille Bedspreads

Chenille bedspreads were not originally made in the patchwork style but the shabby chic craze gave some bedspreads makers the novel idea of modeling chenille bedspreads after an old fashioned quilt, another great American tradition.

Full, Queen, and King patchwork chenille bedspreads on Amazon:

If so inclined, you can make your own chenille patchwork quilt out of vintage chenille remnants, here’s how it’s done:

Chenille Bedspread Traditions

Perhaps the most famous pattern found on a vintage chenille bedspread is that of the peacock, a southern symbol of hospitality and good housekeeping.

Another popular pattern was that of the wedding ring which was often given to newlywed couples as a symbol of their union.  Remember that Catherine Evans gave a chenille spread to her sister-in-law as a wedding gift.  The heart pattern was also a variation on this.

Other patterns that emerged evoked scenes of the country side where many of the cottage spreads were made, such as flowers, flower baskets, rosesrosebuds, and daisies.

Patterns that represented people were that of the cameo and also the cowboy.

A prevalent style put out by the main makers was the popcorn chenille bedspread.   Just like the name implies, there were rows of little chenille tufts on these spreads that resembled popcorn.

Chenille Bedspread

Vintage chenille bedspread incorporating classic popcorn puffs arranged in a floral design.

A style that was pretty much in a category all unto itself was the George and Martha Washington chenille bedspread.  These spreads were all white and were tufted in the hobnail style.

Bedspread Boulevard

In midcentury America, Hwy. 41 from Chattanooga, TN to Calhoun, GA was often referred to as “Bedspread Boulevard” because local weavers of chenille bedspreads featured their creations along shop fronts or even in their front yards along the highway.

As bedspreads with colorful peacocks were the most popular, this thoroughfare later become more well known as Peacock Alley.

If you were travelling in this area sometime between 1930 and 1970, particularly in the hamlet of Dalton, GA, you may have seen something like this:

 

Are you looking for true vintage chenille bedspreads?  Check out these links for the latest listings: