They've long been overshadowed by quilts, but overshot coverlets deserve their own place in the sun. The nubby-textured textiles, loomed from wool and cotton into arresting geometric patterns, first migrated to America from Europe in the 1770s. Later, industrial mills replicated the handcrafted heirlooms, and today these versions are plentiful at antiques fairs and on Etsy.
While flawless finds are rare, the fragments are just as impactful. Luckily, these fabrics can be upcycled into a myriad of household accents with just a few simple steps. We have several ideas: Consider slicing out a long, undamaged section, for example, and hemming the edges—and voila, you have a statement table runner that you'll enjoy pulling out for a dinner party. Searching for some other project inspiration for the home? If you're limited on scraps, try making an art display trio with squares or rectangles of all different sizes; simply apply a sealant on the edges you cut, dab fabric glue onto white backing, frame, and hang.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with using these blankets as intended—as actual bed coverlets. Should you score a piece of overshot fabric that's large enough to decorate your bed (and in mint enough condition to display), replace your winter quilt with this lighter iteration when the weather warms. Or, attempt our Envelope-Backed Pillow Cover, which calls for this fabric. However you decide to use these visually dynamic cloths, with our easy ideas, you will be able to weave some style and history into your home in no time.
You don't need to go to great lengths to make this stunner of a runner. Just cut a 14-inch-wide undamaged section from a ripped or holey blanket, hem the edges, and your table is set. Chairs reupholstered in a mix of motifs will also bring graphic punch to the scene.
A neutral nook gets a big dose of patterned pizzazz with these pillow covers. The largest is an envelope-back style fashioned from a vintage overshot blanket, and the others are from Family Heirloom Weavers, a third-generation mill in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, that creates high-quality, machine-washable reproductions.
Shop Now: Pine Cone Bloom Pillows in (from left) Brown/Black and Navy/Red and Tennessee Trouble Pillow, in Navy/White, $35 each, familyheirloomweavers.com; Interior Define Ines Bench in Oat Performance Pebble Knit, $595, interiordefine.com.
Prized for their lightweight warmth, durability, and artful color combinations, overshot blankets decorated beds from New England to the southern seaboard states during the 1800s. Come springtime, you can carry on the tradition. This antique cream-and-dark-peach coverlet lends springtime, you can carry on the tradition. This antique cream-and-dark-peach coverlet lends instant character to a sleek canopy bed, and a modern lumbar pillow in an equally bold motif bridges the past and the present.
Geometric grids are the hallmarks of overshot weaving, so why not display those details like artwork? In this grouping, minimalist frames focus attention squarely on the intricate lines. To make your own, trim a fragment to the desired size and apply liquid seam sealant along the edges to prevent unraveling. Dab fabric glue on the back of the material—at the center and corners—to hold it in place.
Shop Now: Blick Wood Gallery Frames in Natural, from $25 each, dickblick.com; West Elm Multi-Mat Gallery Frame, 16" by 20", in Wheat (center), $95, westelm.com.
Another striking idea for overshot scraps: Jazz up plain canvas totes. Snip a rectangle of material slightly larger than your carryall's middle section, hem the raw edges, and adhere it with iron-on fabric fusing. That's what we call personal style for the long haul.
Shop Now: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Open-Top Bags in Natural, from $25 each, llbean.com; Muuto Dots Large Wooden Coat Hook in Mustard, $37, finnishdesignshop.com.