I have always collected these heavy homespun FRENCH textiles mostly because of all the darning, patching & repairing that tells a history. I find it fascinating that people of yore took such time to make there bed linens, patched and repaired them often passing them on to the next generation.
Sailing Brittany's coast line this summer gave me a chance to look for more French mattress covers and learn a little bit about them. The Kelsch check were made in a region of Alsace. They are hand woven on narrow looms. Two panels are seemed together to make a top and bottom. These are of heavy linen and cotton and were mostly used as mattress covers. They tend to be really bullet proof, strong and thick. They make great cushions, covers for utilitarian house projects.
I also came across the Vichy Check made outside of Paris from the late 1700's to 1800's. This was the primary fabric for house hold use of the time. It was hand spun and woven of cotton and is softer then the Kelsch. They can be found in indigo blue's & reds that have faded to pinks. They are medium weight and used more for duvet covers. They always have wonderful monograms, darns, paths and repairs.
I have many for sale at www.worldsendny.com
Most of the stuff at worlds End is hand made & imperfect. You can see the makers human ness. A look that's hard to find in this day & age.