Ticking is a striped utility fabric that was used in the manufacture of mattresses and pillows. Originally a cotton or linen textile that is tightly woven for durability and to prevent down feathers of down filling from poking through the fabric. Sometimes it was used in backing for quilts or lining for furniture. The fabric often came in an ivory or white base with stripes of a neutral color such as blue, or grey; but red was also historically a popular color.
Ticking used to be considered unsightly and was merely a base to be properly covered by bedsheets and pillow cases. Today, Ticking Stripe has become popular as a fabric pattern for shabby chic, vintage, rustic, and contemporary country and farmhouse styles. Because of the raw manufactured feel, it is also used in industrial decor.
Some modern Ticking Stripes are still woven while others are printed on lighter weight fabrics. Modern versions also come in a variety of colors including red, aqua, and black though most still retain the neutral white or beige background.