There are a number of fabrics that are commonly used to make curtains and drapes. The fibres that are used to manufacture the material determine how well it will wear and wash and how well it will hang at your window or door. The yarns used to construct the fabric can be man-made or animal or vegetable in origin.
One of the most useful fabrics in the interior designer’s resource toolbox is cotton. It is a vegetable fibre and in it’s simplest form it is known as calico. This is a medium weight cotton that is unbleached and plain woven. It is relatively cheap and has a matt finish so it can be used extravagantly to create window treatments that are dramatic and strong. It should be noted, however, that cotton tends to shrink so it is well worth washing your cotton fabric before you make your curtains. Another natural and basic cotton material is muslin. This is a very fine and loosely woven form of cotton. Like calico it is relatively cheap and can be used extravagantly to create lavish and unusual decorative window dressings.
Gingham is another lightweight cotton fabric that is woven into a checked pattern using threads of two different colors. It has been a popular fabric in the kitchen for many years and is now moving from its traditional location into other areas of the home, the sitting room, the dining room and even the bedroom. Madras cotton can create a more sophisticated look. This fabric consists of checks woven from many different colors and is often employed as a counterpoint to patterned or plain materials.
Glazed cotton, also known as Chintz, has been popular for a very long time. It derives its name from Indian chintz prints that were finished with a glaze. It has a shiny, attractive finish that is suitable for curtains in any room. Chintz is constructed from a fairly lightweight cotton but it is woven tightly to ensure that it takes glazing and dyes very well. There are two different glazing standards, heavy and light each with their own distinct properties. The heavy glazing gives a crisp shiny effect whilst the lighter glazing gives a soft sheen.
Easy care cotton, as the name suggests, is easier to care for than standard cotton. It is cotton that has been given an easy-care polished finish. It is silky and soft to the touch and washes and drapes very well indeed. It is much easier to care for than other forms of cotton curtains and drapes.
Satin curtains are made from pure silk, which is relatively expensive. This led to the development of cotton satin which is a more practical and cheaper alternative to satin. It is closely woven and has a very soft sheen, not unlike silk surprisingly. It is hard wearing and available in different qualities and weights. A heavy version will make fantastic curtains that will look elegant and sophisticated in any suitable room.
Whichever form of cotton you decide to use for your curtains and drapes it will not let you down.