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The Retailer's Quick Guide to Ticking Stripes


The Retailer’s Quick Guide to Ticking Stripes


Ticking Stripes are to farmhouse, country and cottage decorating what oxygen is to astronauts or boots are to cowboys: absolutely, positively essential to the whole plan.


Generally speaking, people are opinionated about ticking stripes. A common reaction within the ticking stripe tribe is “I LOVE TICKING STRIPES!” A ticking stripe enthusiast is all in. These traditional, bygone days, more-innocent-times, thin lines always look at home on pillows, on beds, on windows, on tables…Wherever goodness, decency, and good old American values can find their footing, the ticking stripes are right alongside them. Ticking stripes are comfortably nestled into the home textile lexicon the way iced tea graces a Southern table – it’s there, and you’d miss it sorely if it were not.


The eternal question: Is a ticking stripe ONLY the thin line version, a very matter-of-fact but narrow definition (like Champagne is only from France, otherwise it’s “sparkling wine” etc.). Or, is a ticking stripe ANY generally acceptable vintage-looking narrow stripe that could have also be seen on a mattress cover?? Is it a single stripe – more like a cabana stripe in small scale – or is it the thin-thick-thin version that we use more often than not at VHC? Is it all small stripes? How many variations are there? Is there a secret book we can look at in some old mill for mattresses in New Jersey? If it was in New Jersey, would we go? (JK to any retailer or buyer from NJ!) The answers are not clear; it’s more like pushing fog, subject to interpretation and perspective.



Every product development round, we find ourselves saying things like “What about a ticking stripe?” in the same way an 8-year-old asks for ice cream for the 100th time in a summer – it just seems like a great idea, totally fresh, and always right, but still classic.


We have several variations of ticking stripes we have used as either accent or focal-point fabrics in many of our ongoing programs. Below are a few product or ensemble honorable mentions for VHC home textile enthusiasts to ponder:



Joanna is one of our new April & Olive © stripped bedding ensembles that prominently features a golden tan ticking stripe on the Euro, the bed skirt (dust ruffle to some of you 😊), and the back of the quilt and shams. There are 2 additional ticking stripes sprinkled throughout the pattern – we used the blue one very prominently in the 18” square pillow, and herein lies a discussion as to the actual definition of a ticking stripe. Depending on how sanctimonious you are, Joanna has 1 or 3 ticking stripes, you decide.



Kendra Stripe Black is a classic charcoal black on crème ticking stripe, and in our 2018 Annual print catalog, we put it next to Sawyer Mill, our iconic farmhouse patchwork bedding collection, for two reasons. 1 – it matches, and 2 – it’s in the Sawyer Mill quilt. Yes, Sawyer Mill has a plaid window treatment and a strip valance…but if you want to go full-on with ticking stripe curtains, swap those out for Kendra Stripe Black and you won’t be disappointed. The same iconic ticking stripe is also used generously in the new Sawyer Mill Star program.



You can also match Kendra Stripe Black with Farmhouse Star, as this Kendra Stripe is also a fabric in that long-running barn house star-inspired program. Isn’t this getting fun? For a very traditional look, pair Kendra Stripe Black with quilts in our solids collections. Or send us a picture with your own layered look and let us know how genius you are: Martha Stewart take note. For fall 2018 we are launching this charcoal ticking stripe on its own as a quilted coverlet, which will layer very nicely with Sawyer Mill, Farmhouse Star, or work great on its own with the Kendra Stripe Black window panels, since it’s the same fabric 😊.



Perhaps a little more on the true country side is our Kendra Stripe Green collection, which we pair with our Prairie Winds patchwork ensemble in ticking stripe bedding. These two ticking stripe ensembles from our April & Olive © collections are a farmhouse match made in heaven. For the clean cottage look, skip the patchwork Prairie Winds and go with something in our neutral solid quilt collection. See the April & Olive brand tab on our website for all the solid quilt and farmhouse offerings.



Kendra Stripe Red rounds out our Kendra collections and is also the backing fabric in our Ozark patchwork bedding collection. Red is also a country favorite, so all you red lovers can stand up and be counted here. We think Kendra Stripe Red works well though, as a pop in a farmhouse scheme – and we would love to see someone share some pics for this on our Facebook page! You’ve probably noticed that these popular ticking stipe curtains go with a lot of collections, so don’t be afraid to mix up the looks or get suggestions from your account manager.



If you are a purist, and ticking stripe means a blue on white, single stripe, dyed-in-the-wool classic not creatively interpreted but faithfully rendered…then our Cape Cod bedding and window collection is for you. It’s blue. It’s ticking stripes in blue. It has an East Coast name. Did we mention it’s a blue ticking stripe in the quilt and the window?




There are other ticking stripe items we sell, but we’ve already spent a good bit of time brushing up on this topic; if you do decide you love ticking stripes why not become a dealer and talk through the options with your account manager? Enjoy all the ticking stripes we offer, whether in bedding, accessories, table, or curtains, and in whatever color suits you. As long as it looks good, nobody will question where it came from. If they do, tell them to call VHC.