What’s in a Name? Coverlet vs Quilt

“It’s not a rug!” that is the typical response I give after many visitors of the Gallery tell me what a wonderful rug collection we have. Coverlets, while woven in the same way that some 19th century rugs were, have an entirely different purpose. Now, I can understand the confusion, when I first started working at the Gallery two years ago I didn’t really grasp the concept of what a coverlet was. I thought all blankets were the same, until a very kind fellow work study explained it to me. So, in the spirit of one of our future exhibits, I’ll describe the difference between a coverlet and a quilt.

Simply put, a coverlet is a synonym for a woven bedspread. Easy right? A coverlet is woven on a loom, such a Jacquard loom.

(Image from blog.student.uny.ac.id)

(Image from blog.student.uny.ac.id)

While a quilt is sewn using either a sewing machine or by hand. Now, I’m going to borrow a definition from the Merriam Webster dictionary because I couldn’t say it better myself a quilt is :”bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (as down or batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs.”

Essentially, a coverlet is a (woven) bedspread and a quilt is a type of coverlet, except with fluffy stuff inside and tied shut with thread of some type.

(Image from MerryMayHandmade)

(Image from MerryMayHandmade)

I hope have helped clear up a few discrepancies with definitions regarding the fiber arts. Please come down to visit us, and see for yourself what a wonderful woven coverlet looks like.


  1. Thanks for the post. I understand basic difference of bedspread
    VS QUILT . Again thanks for this post.

    1. I’m glad it was helpful! Let us know of any other topics you’re interested in hearing about.

  2. I would like to have just a bedspreads

    on my bed if possible.

    1. Not a coverlet? I can see why, they can be quite heavy!

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