Tactile Arts

Headshot of BedTimes Managing Editor Beth English
Beth English
Managing Editor

We had two sewing machines set up on a long table, beside the wall of windows. My daughter, who is a Girl Scout, was there, along with another member of her troop, that girl’s father and my mother-in-law.

The object? To begin their Girl Scout Silver Award project. They had made plans with the local science center to sew covers for animal carriers. During programs at the science center, smaller animals are taken out of their carriers as volunteers talk about the special characteristics of each animal and children are allowed to touch it. Gently. The other animals remain in covered carriers until it’s their turn. It keeps them calm and keeps children focused on one animal at a time.

It’s a great project for my animal-loving daughter and her friend. I, however, had one small problem. I don’t really know much about sewing. Fortunately, the other adults in our party had plenty of experience. Before I knew it, my daughter was pinning pieces together and whizzing them through the machine like a pro. It turns out, she loves sewing.

What a fantastic skill for her to learn. My mother knows how to sew. In fact, she frequently made her clothes and some of mine when I was a child. My mother-in-law sews beautifully. When I was expecting my daughter, she sewed curtains, a crib skirt and crib bumpers in a fabric I loved.

With all this emphasis on sewing in the past few months, I was interested in reading Gary James’ article on zippered covers. My appreciation for the skill involved has skyrocketed. As always, learning about the trends within the industry is fascinating. In addition to the rise of boxed beds that make wrinkle-free fabrics more appealing, changes in business models are equally interesting. Several ticking suppliers are becoming one-stop shops for mattress manufacturers, offering everything from fabrics, tapes and handles to presewn and engineered covers to inventory management. Some are catering to promotional customers. Most offer solid expertise in design, helping manufacturers choose designs that reflect their brand and emphasize the technology in the mattress — a matter of form and function.

Many say they watch apparel trends to garner ideas, but there’s no consensus on what’s trending in covers. Some say producers are more open to bolder colors and patterns. Others say consumers are looking for elegant, understated designs. Yet others say the look of the day is luxurious or tech-savvy. So, there’s a little something for everyone.

I hope this issue has a little something for everyone, as well. We all can benefit from learning something new. It might be time for me to try my hand at sewing.