What is a Coverlet?
In this collection, coverlet is defined as a decorative, woven bedcovering. Sometimes called coverlids or kivers, these bedcoverings have been present in American homes from Colonial times through the Colonial Revival. Coverlets were usually woven from a combination of linen or cotton and wool. They can be broadly divided into two categories based on design and loom type: geometric, and Figured and Fancy. These textiles were at their height of popularity in America from the 1750s through the 1870s. There was a resurgence in popularity at the turn of the twentieth century as Colonial Revival design developed. Hand-weavers in the US continue to weave from old geometric coverlet patterns, and contemporary computer-driven looms have made it easy to reproduce Figured and Fancy designs.
This project was made possible by a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.