Friday, April 15, 2011

Curtains Fabrics

Curtains Fabrics
Curtains Fabrics

Curtains Fabrics

You have decided that your home needs new curtains or drapes and you are about to select the fabric. Stop! Learn eight important trade secrets from the professionals before you buy any fabric.
Good quality fabric is not cheap and once you have paid the curtain maker and fitter curtains can be quite an investment. To make sure you get the best curtains for your budget think about the following:
There are thousands of fabrics suitable for use in curtains but bear in mind the following when selecting fabric.
Is the fabric thick enough to keep the morning sun out of your bedroom or will the curtain need to be interlined at extra expense? Test a large sample of a fabric by holding it up to the sun. If you are thinking of quilted silks or similar fabrics hold them up to a strong light to check for production flaws between the two outer fabric layers – trapped threads can show up as annoying shadows.
How much fabric do I need?
It is always advisable to get professional advice on the quantity of fabric required, particularly where the fabric requires a pattern match allowance. It is also important to allow for fabric (from the same batch) for pelmets, valances, tie backs and matching soft furnishings.
Pattern Match
Is pattern match critical? Make sure that you allow enough extra fabric to accommodate pattern matching? Also beware that jacquard fabrics are prone to significant variation in pattern repeat dimension between batches because the repeat depends upon the tension of the fabric on the loom.
Colour matching
It is always advisable to use fabric from one batch for a job to ensure consistent colouration. Also be aware that manufacturers tend not to guarantee that colours will exactly match between sample books, swatches and the delivered fabric.
Nowadays with internet ordering it is inadvisable to rely on on-screen representation of a fabric sample. Most screen images will not match the colour of the fabric, nor will they show the full pattern repeat and of course the computer monitor cannot yet render texture, sheen or patina! The best place to decide on fabric is in a fabric shop with professional advice and appropriate lighting. Here you can feel fabrics and compare options side by side.
Sizing is most important for curtains that reach down to the floor. If they pool on the floor or only reach part way to the floor you do not need to worry too much about precision.
Full length curtains usually look best but obstructions under windows (e.g. radiators) are common. You can still have full length curtains even with radiators in place if you consider a curtain pole with extension brackets.
Certain curtain headings (e.g. pinch pleat) allow the vertical position of the curtain to be adjusted on fitting or after any subsequent sagging. Tab headed curtains or eyelet curtains have no such adjustment and so need careful fitting and selection of fabrics that will not stretch, shrink or sag.
For full length curtains, to get the most accurate measurements put the poles up first and then measure the precise curtain drop. Then get your curtain maker to use these figures.
Make sure you use a professional fitter who knows how to properly hang and dress curtains. Doing it yourself can be a false economy.
Since curtain material is mostly natural it can be prone to shrinkage and expansion. Some fabrics are sensitive to relative humidity and expand and shrink accordingly. Shrinkage is common during treatments such as fire retarding. If you are considering long (over 2.5metres) or heavy curtains get professional advice about your choice of fabric.
Do not cut
When you receive fabric always inspect it carefully. Is it the correct fabric? Is the quantity correct? Look for any flaws. Once you cut the fabric, the vendor/manufacturer will not accept the return of the fabric. If you need more, make sure you get the same batch code.
Finally, if you bear these points in mind you should avoid most common pitfalls and you will have a new set of beautiful curtains that really enhance your home.
By Bronia Suszczenia
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