What’s the difference between a quilt and a coverlet?
That’s a query we encounter from time to time here at InnStyle, and it’s certainly a fair enough question. Let’s start with a general description of a quilt, which, traditionally speaking, is essentially a cover that can be used in many different ways.
A quilt has a layer of batting — or padding — which is placed between two layers of fabric and then stitched into a specific pattern or design to hold the layers in place. Batting (or padding) is a soft, bulky assembly of fibers that provides loft and a layer of insulation.
There are actually two different types of quilts. One type of quilt uses a single piece of fabric for the top layer. A piecework quilt, meanwhile, joins smaller sections of fabric together to create its top layer. The underside of a piecework quilt will generally be a one-piece (solid color) fabric.
Pieced quilts are made from fabrics that may have been used previously as clothing, upholstery, drapery, bedding, or any other fabric that’s no longer being worn or used in its original form. Some quilters will purchase bolts or yards of fabric, and then cut that fabric into smaller pieces to create a quilt of their own design. This style of quilt often makes an interesting cover for a bed, couch, throw or chair.
Coverlets can be a solid, a print, a stripe or one of many types of fabrics including Matelassé. Most Matelassé products are of a heavier cotton fabric (although some are made with a cotton/polyester fabric) which can give the appearance of padding, although they’re not filled with batting of any sort. This look is meant to mimic the style of hand-stitched quilts made in France.
Specialty jacquard looms or quilting machines are used to give a Matelassé fabric a unique appearance of intricate designs, raised patterns, indentations, and the padded look often associated with quilts.