Choosing Fabrics For Your Curtains and Blinds

Choosing Fabrics

We will help you choose the fabrics best suited to the look and feel you are after, and for what works best on your windows. Here are a few of the things we bear in mind when making fabric selections with you.

1. Linens

Fabrics with a high linen content fabric will crease and move in everyday use and are therefore more suited to a relaxed look where creasing is viewed as an integral part of its look. 

If you love the slubbed look of natural linen but don’t like creasing, we can help you choose a linen union (50/50 cotton/linen) or a linen/polyester blend which will hold their shape better.

Interlinings are recommended to increase stability and for blinds where a smarter look is required.

2. Silks

Silks are beautiful and available in a myriad of finishes including intricately patterned damasks and slubbed plains. It is however very delicate to handle and we therefore only offer it on hand-finished curtains and blinds.

We advise against using silks on windows in direct sunlight, but for windows where silk is chosen we will strongly recommend blackout lining and interlining your curtains and blinds close to the edges to protect the fabric from light degradation. 

A border in a stronger fabric can be added, and roman blinds should be made in a waterfall or cascade finish so that the underhanging bottom fold protects the other folds from sunlight.

Further protection can be given by voiles or semi-sheer privacy blinds to filter light.

3. Velvets

Velvets are rich and lustrous and available in a variety of fabric compositions.

Whilst traditional cotton velvets offer depth and luxury they are more prone to marking and /or pile distortion in use. This is typical of the fabric and not an indication of poor quality.

Due to the readiness of velvet to “bruise” in make-up, we only offer it on hand-finished curtains and blinds.

When hanging your velvet curtains and blinds, we will not steam them as this could mark the pile. Any slight creasing from transportation for example will drop out over time.

To help make velvets more practical in domestic and contract settings, fabric companies are increasingly offering modern velvet blends with polyester in them which wear better, especially on upholstery. We can recommend which velvet is best suited to your requirements.

4. Wide-Width Fabrics

The majority of fabrics are woven to a standard width of 137-150cm which is then cut into drops of a specific length to be stitched together to create curtains.

Wide-width (or double-width) fabrics are woven to 270-330cm and are typically used to create the length on a floor-length curtain to avoid vertical seams. This is called “railroading” and is particularly useful for voile curtains where seams would be more noticeable.

Specific Fabric Care

1. Light Fastness

It is impossible to guarantee against colour fading regardless of fabric composition although if your window is south-facing we will caution against using silk which degrades more quickly in strong sunlight.

To help protect your curtains and blinds we always recommend linings, and for south-facing windows we will suggest the additional protection of voiles or semi-sheer privacy roller blinds to filter the strong sun.

2. Fabric Movement 

Over time fabrics can be subject to relaxing (dropping) or contracting – natural fibres more so than man-made polyester blends.

We are experienced in handling all types of fabrics and can advise on suitability of fabrics for any given window.

Fabric companies include an industry standard 3%-5% allowance for potential movement in use.

Please be aware that every combination of fabric, room temperature and humidity can create changes over time and are not the fault of the fabric or make-up.

Natural fibres may be more prone to movement, in particular fabrics with a high linen content. Interlinings are recommended to increase stability.