What Curtain Fabric To Choose

16427213_1181795025260903_1906443613162295143_nHello everyone.

This is probably the most common question I have been asked by clients over the last 20+ years. Obviously there are several factors that effect your selection. If you are someone who prefers to look for your own fabric or just simply want an idea of what is out there, then this post is for you.

1.   COLOUR

Colour, the first question. What colour?

There are several ways to tackle this. You can match up with existing item/s in the room. You can choose either a complimentary or a contrasting colour. You can select a colour based on the type of room using colour theory. 

Yellow = A thinking colour, great for offices and places of activity.

Green = A relaxing colour, it is a calming shade. This is why you see it in doctors and dentist waiting rooms and on surgeons gowns. 

Red = A strong, warm colour not fantastic in huge quantities in a room you wish to relax in, can have a tendency to make people feel uncomfortable.

Blue = A cold colour, not advisable to use in north facing rooms or dark rooms, as it can make you feel colder than the room actually is.  

There are so many other parts to colour theory, that involve many factors, one of which is balance. This is largely related to the “Golden Section”. In basic terms the balance of 3, or 3 to 1 ratio. If, however you want to get technical = \varphi ={\frac {1+{\sqrt {5}}}{2}}=1.6180339887\ldots .

Simply put                                                                                                                                        For example if you are painting your walls and you want to use 2 colours, never paint 2 in one colour and 2 in another. It will never look right. I recommend you paint 1 in one colour and 3 in another. Or paint the alcoves in one colour and the rest in another, or paint the fire place one colour and the other walls another and so on. Selection of fabric can control this especially if the window takes up a big space.

Some people like the curtain / blind to blend with the wall, others like them to stand off / contrast with the wall. Some companies specialise is certain colour combinations. This factor is a personal design choice or style.

 Pattern

This is the big one. There is a plethora of choice out there, so what I am about to say only skims the surface. Some companies focus one a particular style and or pattern. Most companies have a mix of patterns across their portfolio.

Here are some of the basics.

Stripes = Great on blinds and windows you want to make look taller. The wider / bigger the blind / cutain the wider the stripe needs to be, please don’t put a pin stripe on a patio window, the chances are it will send your eyes funny.

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www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint Harlequin fabric blind on an Evans Rail

Checks= Checks work on blinds and curtains, please be aware though that if the pattern runs out on the fabric, it always stands out more on a check.

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www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint

Florals = These also go in most places, it is a style choice though. Modern florals and traditional ones are available. Closed pattern or open with lots of gaps. It is up to you what you can live with.vvsyqlphsjeahxfo.JPG_640x480_q85
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Designs by Kelly White at www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint 

Plain= This works pretty much anywhere. You can make them more interesting by using contrast leading edges, borders and trims. A designer can go over choices with you.

 

 

Designs by Kelly White at www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint

Add In Fabrics= So you already have a pattern in a room?  What to put with what?

Stripe= Never use more than one type of stripe please, it very rarely works. However if you have a floral settee you could use a stripe on the window and cushions.

Check= Same rule applies as above. Checks are great as they go with anything. There are so many out their, modern and traditional. They are a great add in fabric.

Floral= Mixing florals can be tough but there are collections out there that do it for you, this can be very handy. You can find large and small florals in one collection in the same colour way.

Traditional  / Modern = This all boils down to a clients personal preference, existing furniture and type of house. You do not have to have a fussy fabric for a traditional design or a completely plain one for a contemporary design.

 

Designs by Kelly White at  www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint

Company

Some companies specialise is a style, pattern, colour combination or even price range. It can be difficult to find the fabric you love only to discover it is out of your range or you feel it is more than you want to spend. These following companies are the tip of the iceberg and what I would class as the most well known of the companies.

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Harlequin fabrics ( www.harlequin.uk.com )= This company do a wide selection of patterns but largely focus on contemporary design. Florals, stripes, checks, you name it, they do it and they do it well. Middle to upper price range.

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Romo Fabrics ( www.romo.com ) = This company do a mix also, however they are the ones I tend to go for if I need a stripe or check. They also have a great range of contemporary linen florals that drape really well. Middle upper price.

 

Sanderson ( www.sanderson-uk.com )= They have some contemporary designs but their strength lies in their traditional William Morris prints and weaves. These are beautiful, they are very good at re colouring them to make the colour pallet more relevant to today, as well as having traditional tones. Middle upper price.

 

Prestigious Clarke and Clarke ( http://www.prestigious.co.uk  & http://www.clarke-clarke.com/ )= These are companies that focus on good price points with crowd pleasing designs. They have a nice mix of patterns but stick largely to a more affordable price range.

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Fibre Naturelle (http://www.fibrenaturelle.com/ )  = This company I would go to for rustic weaves.

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Moon (www.moons.co.uk )= Brilliant for wool checks.

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Voyage (http://www.voyagedecoration.com/ ) = Weaves, embroidery a bit of affordable bling. They also have some great country prints. Middle upper costs.

Evolution

James Hare ( http://james-hare.com/ )= Silk

 

Designers Guild ( www.designersguild.com )= Unusual and vibrant colours and strong patterns. Upper price range.

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Scion Fabrics ( www.scion.uk.com )= Modern, fun almost Scandinavian in style affordable and good quality.

Drape / Fit For Purpose

This area I would recommend you get professional help with. It takes a certain level of experience to understand from a small piece of fabric how it will hang / drape. And if the type of cloth fit for purpose, for the room it is in. There is an earlier blog that goes some way to assist you in this area by listing the properties of some of the most well known fibre types. Only your designer / seamstress can guide you, however,  to how a particular fabric will work for you, the window treatment and how it will hang.

Fabric fit for purpose

Upholstery fabric has a martindale test. The Martindale is a unit for quantifying the abrasion resistance of textiles, especially when used for upholstery.

Soft padding
[Martindale]
Hard padding
[Martindale]
Private use 10,000 15,000
Office use 25,000 35,000
For public transportation 30,000 40,000

This is the official info. I personally would not touch an upholstery fabric less that 20/25000 rubs for domestic. 40+ for contract. The fire certificate is also different for domestic than contract. make sure you get a certificate. Contract is a higher rating and needs to be what is called crib 5.

I would not advise a Backcoated fabric treated for upholstery to be used on blinds or curtains as it has a tendency to be quite stiff, this can ruin the way the fabric hangs. The fabric can struggle to lay flat on a blind and skirts out on a curtain. The treatment also makes it tough to sew. Some people have chosen to use it but in the knowledge of the possible aesthetic results.

Often fabrics have on the back of the sample or book what their use is. There will be a picture of a curtain or settee for example.

There are also different fabrics for using in the gardenYou can also get indoor and outdoor foam.

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Designed by Kelly White at www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint

                                             I hope you have found this blog helpful / informative. If you have any questions with regards to this or any other post, even if it is just what the fabric is that I have used, please do not hesitate to contact me on this site or on www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint .

Thank you for reading.                                                                                                              Best regards

Elsie Wolfe                                                                                                                                   (Kelly White)

The Silk Road

E.D Wolfe

                  Hi all. Silk is probably my most favourite of all the furnishing cloths. Unfortunately it is one of the more costly, tricky to work and live with due to its properties (see blog FABRIC FLARE (the basics)  Published on 3/27/2015).

                   From its texture to its luxurious sheen. Even the silk that doesn’t have a sheen has a drape that I go week at the knees for. 

                   This post is going to explore the application of silk in interiors.

Enjoy the read

E.D.Wolfe

THE SILK ROAD

This was the original trade route through regions of Asia.

Silk_route

Extending 6,000 kilometres (4,000 miles), the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

han-dynasty-silk

For more than two thousand years the Chinese kept the secret of silk altogether to themselves. It was the most zealously guarded secret in history. Next to the protection of tea cultivation.

According to well-established Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti (also called the Yellow Emperor), was the first person to accidentally discover silk as weavable fibre.

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One day, when the empress was sipping tea under a mulberry tree, a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel. The empress became so enamored with the shimmering threads, she discovered their source, the Bombyx mori silkworm found in the white mulberry. The empress soon developed sericulture, the cultivation of silkworms, and invented the reel and loom. Thus began the history of silk.

Whether or not the legend is accurate, it is certain that the earliest surviving references to silk history and production place it in China; and that for nearly 3 millennia, the Chinese had a global monopoly on silk production.

The major silk producers are still in Asia, accounting for 90 % of mulberry silk and 100 % for non mulberry silk, but also silk is produced in Brazil,Bulgaria, Egypt and Madagascar . The main raw silk producers in the world are China and India, but also Brazil and Thailand have their share of silk production.

If you want to learn more about the history of silk go to http://www.texeresilk.com .


Silk is a wonderful looking fibre it has its ups and downs.

  • Strong filament.
  • Elastic and resilient.
  • Refracts light, lustrous appearance.
  • Insulates.
  • Easy to die.
  • Watermarks easily.
  • Rots in sunlight.
  • Fades in sunlight.
  • Creases.

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This was a raw silk by Swaffer http://www.swaffer.co.uk/ that is sadly now no longer in production.

Curtains By E.D.Wolfe

Interlined and lined, double pleat with contrast leading edge and “pin trim“. (A pin trim is when you insert a piped trim between a leading edge and the main cloth then pull out the cord. Giving you this lovely thin contrast)

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As you can see, great for blinds and curtains. It was wonderful to work with. At first glance it looks like a thin linen, but when you touch it, it is wonderfully soft and supple. My workroom made a comment of how fantastic this fabric was to work with.

HOW TO WORK WITH SILK

When working with silk it is strongly recommended that you hand stitch where possible, it makes for a far neater finish especially the hem. Also with interlining being required you would have to hand slip the sides and hems to stop puckering and tension issues.

Why Interline?

Due to silk being a light weight fabric that is also susceptible to fading, interlining is required to add weight to the curtains and blinds and an extra barrier against the sun damage.

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   Whiteheads Silk 101 http://www.whiteheadshome.co.uk/

Without interlining the silk would appear thin and limp. And to be honest they look awful in my opinion.

I would never personally recommend silk used in an area that got a lot of sun, eg:- south facing room and or window, conservatory and I would never recommend it was used on upholstery, it would not last five mins. I have seen it used on the odd chair for pure decoration though.

When manufactured correctly they look beautiful and can be used to manufacture many styles, modern and traditional.

When making throws with silk I would line and at least lightweight interline. Do make clients aware that it is a decorative item only,it will not stand up to even medium wear and tear.

You have to really watch manufacturing with silk velvets, they can be very slippery. It takes a highly skilled seamstress to handle this type of cloth.

http://www.sweetpeaandwillow.com/

http://www.sweetpeaandwillow.com/

One of these fabrics is a silk,viscose velvet. It has so much movement you cant make it into blinds and the curtains have to be pooled because it relaxes so much. It is however one of my utmost favourites. Intaglio Collection by James Brindley

Intaglio-Cashmere

Intaglio Cashmere. http://www.jamesbrindleyfabrics.com

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Three Designs above by www.darleydesign.co.uk in Stellar by James Brindley

I have even put lining on the back of silk to turn them into cushions for extra strength.

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Cushions from http://www.notonthehighstreet.com

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James Hare Silk www.jameshare.com

They also look great with trims.

Amy O'Riely 1

Curtains Manufactured and Designed by http://www.foxridgeinteriors.com/

Unfortunately I would advise against cleaning interlined silk curtains most times the results would be dreadful. They also must be kept out of damp areas such as bathrooms, mould loves silk.

There are several different types of silk and they all vary in appearance, quality and benefits. Some have short filaments and some long strong ones. All are beautiful.

Charmeuse, Chiffon, Crêpe de Chine, Dupion Silk, Fuji Silk, Habotai Silk, Noil Silk (raw silk) and Tussah Silk (or shantung). 

Companies are using silk mixes at the moment to reduce the down sides to silk but keep the luxury. In fact there are quite a few combination fibre fabrics that are very convincing faux silks.

Inedit2

http://www.casamance.com/

Inedit1 INOUI Casamance

 INOUI by Casamance

 73% VISCOSE, 17% SILK, 10% WOOL

The choice of silk these days is amazing. Printed, plain, embroidered, shiny, shot, matt. There is a silk for every occasion.

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Harlequin Fabrics Saphora . Double pleat interlined 3 inch kick onto floor. Master Bedroom

http://www.harlequin.uk.com

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Plain Silk curtains and Pelmet. Designed By Uber Interiors

www.uberinteriors.com

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Curtains Manufactured and Designed by http://www.foxridgeinteriors.com/


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Great embroidered Voyage silk. I made some great dining room curtains out of this a year back, they looked wonderful.

www.voyagedecoration.com

You sometimes have to watch the embroidered silks. If there is a lot of embroidery on them they tend to have ripples between the stitching. This will not necessarily disappear during manufacturing. It can be a problem when making curtains with a pelmet. You make the pelmet and due to the pulling of the cloth in manufacturing the ripples are smoothed out, however they will have remained in the curtains, thus the same fabric can take on a different appearance textually. (Something clients need to be aware of).

I designed a pelmet curtain combo a few years back. The pelmet was a gradual bow curve. In this case the ripples came in handy because when you curve a pelmet it ripples the fabric. With the ripples already being there, there was no issue.

GP and J Baker silk embroidered curtains and pelmet fully lined and interlined.

GP and J Baker silk embroidered curtains and pelmet fully lined and interlined.

www.gpandjbaker.com

I hope you have enjoyed our brief romance with silk?

Till next time.

Thank you

E.D.Wolfe

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