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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Over-drapery Materials

Over-drapery Materials
Over-drapery Materials
In draperies by far the largest group is the cottons. Beginning with calico sized, plain-woven cotton with the pattern on one side these prints, which seem subdued, are fine for country homes. Cretonne was originally the French version of calico, and it is made with a heavier yarn. Usually cretonne, which is the same material as unglazed chintz, has larger designs than the unglazed chintz. Because of its lack of glaze, it gives a pleasantly subdued look to the print; in antique floral an authentic look, in modern designs perhaps a more subtle one.

Chintzes are cretonnes glazed with a dull or high gloss. This gloss is acquired by a wax glaze or a starch glaze, (both of which come out in the laundry) and, today, by a chemical, durable glaze. Choose this type of finish for long use. Glosheen is the name of mercerized cotton with the satin weave reversed. This gives a permanent sheen, too.

All the printed cottons lend themselves to a wide variety of colors and designs, varying from those reminiscent of the past such as toile de Jouy to the free contemporary patterns by modern painters.

Familiar shirting and dress cotton fabrics are highly suitable for informal interiors. Among these are chambray (originally used in Chambrai, France, for sun- bonnets), a fabric woven with a colored warp and a white woof, resulting in a changeable colored surface. Percale, which is highly recommended as a summer curtain or drapery material, is a cool, crisp-looking fabric similar to chambray but finer. Originally hand blocked in India, percale has a dull finish, and comes in plain solid colors and printed patterns. Gingham, another plain-weave cloth, has figures made from yarns which are dyed before weaving, and is woven in stripes, plaids and checks.

Over-drapery Materials
Over-drapery Materials
A fabric borrowed from working-day life is denim, made in lighter weight for draperies, and in a variety of colors and patterns. This long-wearing, sturdy, fabric dyes to vivid colors and is always stylish. Of firm, twill-weave cotton, it often has a whitish tinge obtained by using white woof yarns with colored warp yarns.

Another suiting material that is very smart for draperies is gabardine, which is a tightly-woven twilled cotton, rayon or wool, with a marked diagonal raised weave on the right side.

Homespun is the designation given loose rough fabrics imitating tweedy materials formerly loomed at home. The homespun look is obtained by using unevenly-spun fibers of cotton, rayon or wool. Monk's cloth, a heavy basket- weave cotton fabric, usually seen in its natural off-white or beige color, is used too, to achieve a homespun quality.

Pique, a heavy cotton with a corded surface is highly suitable for summer draperies, as it launders well and wears well.

Among those materials which have a lustrous appearance, and which may be made of cotton, rayon, silk or synthetics, you will find poplin, a fine, durable fabric which drapes beautifully and resembles broad-cloth. Made with a plain weave it has fine cross ribs made by using warp threads finer than the woof threads.

Rep, which is heavier than poplin but quite similar, has a more distinctive surface texture produced by heavier woof threads than warp threads. It is produced in silk, rayon, mohair or cotton yarns in plain or printed fabrics. Jaspe is a mottled looking rep, made by having a series of faint, broken stripes woven into it.

Faille, a popular drapery fabric, has a rep weave which gives a heavy corded surface to what is, in reality, a soft, slightly glossy silk, rayon or cotton fabric. Faille drapes and tailors well.

Over-drapery Materials
Over-drapery Materials
Ottoman is a heavy corded silk or rayon with larger, rounder ribs than faille. The ribs, or filling, of the cloth are usually cotton, but they are completely covered by the silk or rayon warp. Moire, another rep fabric, has a heavy watermark impressed by engraved rollers when the material is damp, and this results in the material reflecting light differently on the crushed and uncrushed parts. This pattern is not permanent except on acetate rayon. Bengaline is similar to faille, too, but heavier, with a fine weave.

Satin, of silk or rayon, another glossy fabric, sometimes with a cotton filling, has a smooth, lustrous face and dull back. The luster is obtained by the weave, and the finish produced by running it between hot cylinders. Made in many varieties and qualities, it can be screen-printed and antiqued, and makes a soft, rich material when quilted.

Taffeta, which is also effective when quilted, is smooth on both sides, usually with a sheen on the surface. Of silk, rayon, cotton or synthetic yarns, it may be woven in such a way that its colors seem changeable, its texture crisp.

Certain fabrics have an almost undeviatingly formal manner, and among these are the heavy brocades, brocatelles, and "pile" fabrics like velvet, velour, etc.

They should only be used as side drapes, or in cases where no light is wanted.

Damask, a firm glossy-patterned fabric with a Jacquard weave, is woven so that the right side usually has satin face designs that are reversed on the other side. Damask is similar to brocade, but flatter and reversible. It may be o linen, cotton, rayon or silk.

Brocades, which have been having an influence on wallpaper designs, have subdued patterns made of mixed yarns against a plain background. Satin weave, an allover pattern resembling embroidery, marks this fabric, Brocatelle is a fancy damask, with stuffer threads under the raised design making a thickness that looks like heavy-handed embroidery.

A variation on the plain weave in which an additional warp thread is looped on the surface and then cut, produces velvet. Velours is a further variation on velvet, in which the additional thread is made in a plain or twill weave of a different color. Plush is another kind of caught pile woven from mohair. Velveteen is a cotton fabric with a short, close pile made to look like velvet.

Toweling materials also sometimes are appropriate as curtains, when a coarse fabric with a rough, irregular surface is required. Crash is such a fabric. Usually of cotton or linen, it is obtained by weaving uneven yarns. 

Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains

Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Another returning vogue is lace, especially with a renewal of home fashion interest in Victorian styles. But the newer lace curtains have more delicate designs than the older styles. Although lace is available in a great variety of patterns, familiar laces for draperies include "antique lace," which is hand-made bobbin lace of heavy thread with large, often irregular, square-knotted net on which designs are darned. It is the imitation antique lace, which is the fabric sold for draperies. Battenburg lace, a coarser form of Renaissance lace, made by hand or machine, of linen, braid or tape and linen thread brought together to form various designs, is machine-made for draperies. Brussels lace is now being made by machine in delicate patterns. But the more contemporary lace fabrics have sheer ground areas, clearer designs, and free placement of design motifs.

Fish net, cotton or linen twine knotted together with big open loops, is often recommended by decorators for seashore or country houses, for covering big open window spaces, or as a wall drapery, where it can provide a pleasing pattern of white threads against a vivid background. To provide privacy with fish net it is necessary to have overlapping lengths. For some reason an illusion exists that this is an inexpensive window treatment; actually fish net, obtained from commercial fishing supply houses at best, is relatively expensive.

Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Ordinary net, usually in beige colors or tan, is often sold as a dining room or living room curtain material and is considered durable, although in actuality its shrinkage rate is high. Breton lace, net which has designs embroidered on it with heavy, often with colored, thread, is also sold. Tambour curtain fabrics (embroidered on a drum-like device) and filet nets from England, Switzerland and France are available, and provide a filmy glass curtain through which soft sunlight filters.

Just announced is a method of weaving nylon on looms, and lace curtains of nylon are said to be light in weight and easily laundered. After the water has drained off, the curtains may be hung back on the rods to finish drying. A light pressing is only necessary at the hems.

Gauze, a thin, sheer-woven cotton fabric similar to cheesecloth, is made in different weaves of silk, cotton, rayon and synthetics. Theatrical gauze, now being produced in charming pastel plaids of green, pink and white, yellow, white and rust, hunter green, and chartreuse and white, among other color combinations, can be used for play rooms, dining rooms, or any room where a subtle, gay touch is wanted.

Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Fabrics for Lace and Nets Curtains
Another nylon fabric now available is a gauze of such transparent delicacy that a hundred yards of it weighs less than five pounds. Remarkably strong and dirt-resistant for all its sheerness, it is described as ideal for casement curtains, as it lets in a slightly softened light, while from the outside the close weave reflects the light and reveals nothing.

Serim, a lightweight, stiffened, coarse gauze, with an open weave, usually in ecru or white, used to be preferred to net and marquisette, since it had less tendency to shrink on washing but, as explained, this need no longer be a prime consideration, since you can get other materials which will not shrink. The rule still holds good, however, that for fabrics which are not shrink-proof, the coarser the mesh, the more chance of shrinking. Some fabrics with a coarse mesh will shrink so much at the first washing as to be practically useless.

Dotted swiss, a sheer, crisp, cotton fabric with either embroidered or raised polka dots on a plain weave, is effective for informal curtains, and for bedrooms, kitchens, etc.

Glass curtains that are more opaque include the already-mentioned handkerchief or finer linens, cam-brics or lawns; natural silk, which is naturally creamy-white or yellow, depending on its source, or dark tan if from a wild silkworm; pongee, which is a thin natural tan-colored silk with a rough, knotty weave, or shantung, which is much like pongee and was originally woven o wild silk in China but is now often mixed with rayon and cotton. All of these silk or silk-based materials have a natural resiliency and do not crash easily. There is also madras, familiar in a heavier weight as men's shirting material, which is a woven cotton fabric with a stripe, a corded or a checked effect. Nylon and other rayon fabrics that resemble silk closely can be had too, and rayon dress fabrics in interesting prints may make unusual-looking curtains. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains

Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Glass curtains, or thin sheer curtains, have come to be more and more popular hanging alone, with no over draperies. New concepts in light and space have inspired spider-web techniques in gauze with the merest suggestion of plaid; strong glass fibers spun into shimmering fabrics, woven into curtains that seem to shed dust and soil, that launder ready to hang without stretching; soft glowing weaves of acetate rayon, remarkably sturdy for all their look of delicacy; gossamer wool, nylon and vinyon weaves. These sheers are screens that, when used as casement cloths, cut glare from strong daylight, providing a decorative yet unobtrusive accent. They maintain that look of maximum space and close contact with the out-of-doors that modernists treasure.

What are some of the familiar types of materials you encounter when you go to buy fabric for sheer or glass curtains? Most prevalent are the marquisettes in silk, cotton, rayon, nylon, glass fiber, or any similar yarn, square meshed or open meshed, open weave, lightweight fabrics. The newer nylon and fiber glass marquisettes may be more expensive than cotton or rayon, but their makers claim better lasting powers, explaining that they make for economy in the long run since they need less frequent laundering than ordinary marquisette. They won't shrink, and consequently need no alterations. Also, since they won't absorb moisture, they won't wrinkle or rot.

Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Ninon, in both cotton and rayon, differs from marquisette in that it is heavyweight (rather than light-weight), closely-woven, (rather than loosely- woven), filmy, and extra fine. Ninon is a type of voile, a plain weave in a cotton or rayon, usually fine and sheer, although it is available in many grades from coarse-open to fine, veil-like material.

Choosing between these two materials in draw draperies for large window expanses in modern rooms can be of more importance than it would seem at the first consideration. If your room is based on rough textures, earthy colors, with an emphasis on natural woods, potteries, and California styles, the filmy smoothness of nino might look just a trifle wrong; whereas it would be just the thing far preferable to marquisette in a room with sleek surfaces, the Far Eastern touch, lacquered ebony, polished brass, spun aluminum, and shining taffeta, or upholstery with metallic accents, taffeta or satin. And again, when choosing between a voile and a marquisette for a glass curtain, think how it will look paired with the over- drapery. A filmy smooth, translucent voile would conceivably look better next to a more formal rayon faille; a marquisette better next to a chintz.

Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Fabric for Glass Curtains or Thin Sheer Curtains
Grenadine is a fabric similar to marquisette made of silk, mixed with cotton. Loosely woven, it is fine, more transparent than marquisette and made with a dot or figures.

Muslin is a glass-curtain fabric, with an old-fashioned charm that is being brought back by decorators, especially in Dutch curtains for den, kitchen and dinette. Muslin is a firm, plain-weave cotton cloth ranging in weight from thin batiste to heavier sheetings such as percale. Lawn is a sheer muslin, slightly stiffened, with the pattern printed on.


Organdie, which is a sheer stiffened muslin, holds ruffles and flounces better than most sheers, and is a favorite for achieving a fresh, crisp, feminine look, for little girls' rooms, for cottage interiors, for pretty boudoirs. Used as a trimming with eyelet embroidery on chintz it is dainty and appealing. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials

How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials
How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials
The fabric department of your department store with its vast assortment of materials, colors, weaves, and patterns competing for your attention, is apt to prove bewildering unless you understand something about fabrics before you go out to buy them. With some knowledge of fabrics you are not so likely to be swayed by bargain prices or tricky patterns, and to buy something that is not really what you had in mind. A good precaution is to get a swatch to take home and to place it near your other furnishings to see how it goes with them.
If you like it is much when you get it home, it will probably continue to satisfy you.


How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials
How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials

How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials
How to Purchase Curtains Fabric and Materials
In purchasing curtain materials it is necessary to consider their durability, texture, color, design, and how easy they will be to care for. Sometimes the cost of the fabric itself is not large, but the trouble and expense of making it up warrants getting a fabric that will wear, even at a higher price. The new synthetic finishes that make fabrics shrink fast, colorfast and sun fast, glass and plastic fibers, and plastic sheeting materials, have gone a long way in disposing of many of these difficulties. But often a room calls for a traditional material, and in such a case durability is a consideration. If you find you have fallen in love with an expensive chintz or print that you just can't afford, get a plain material that correlates well with it and use it for trimming, or for a valance or cornice covering. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to Choose Color for your Curtains

How to Choose Color for your Curtains
How to Choose Color for your Curtains 
Still one problem remains in deciding on style that of color. Since light and shade change color, it does not pay to be overly fastidious about the degrees of color used, but the choice of a hue is important, since this alone can change the architecture and the mood of your room. You can, for example, make a small room appear larger if you use different values of one color with a pale tint on the walls, a darker tone for the rug and a tone somewhere in between for the draperies. Also, red, orange, yellow and red-violet are "advancing" colors and tend to bring walls forward, making a room smaller, whereas cooler colors, blue, blue-violet, yellow-green, and green seem to recede, and give an illusion of space.

Monochromatic rooms are pleasant and fashionable, and in addition they make spaces seem larger. In any color there is a wide range of tints and shades. Tints' have white mixed with normal, pure colors, and 'shades* have darker tones by means of black mixed into the pure hues. Also, you are closer to the mono-chromatic idea if you use the secondary colors that are next to the primary colors on the spectrum. That is, with blue have green and violet-blue, violet and yellow-green. With red have yellow-orange, orange-red and red-violet. Depend on accessories for your vivid splashes of contrasting color.

Contemporary rooms favor large areas of white, natural color or gray in walls and fabrics, with patterns in color laid over this as a background. If you find a fabric in a. color scheme that delights you, you can build your room around the colors in it.

How to Choose Color for your Curtains
How to Choose Color for your Curtains 
Colors are said to produce certain emotions and reactions, although this, of course, depends on what colors are matched, and how they are used. Red, for instance, is considered the most lively color. In its very vivid forms it is effective in small amounts to add sparkle to a room. Tones of red that fit in with modern nature colors and can be safely used in large quantities are terracotta, shell-pink, rust and tangerine. Yellow in its paler, muted forms in glass curtains gives bright cheerfulness to a room, as does orange. Yellow glazed chintz can be attractive, but in rougher materials, gold, beige, and other off tones are better. Green is considered very restful, the opposite of red. Green becomes the basis for a group of correlated earthy tones, when olive green is the basic color, and primrose yellow, cucumber, pale chartreuse, sage, paleceladon, Lincoln green and scarab green are used. Blue was for a long time avoided, as a cold color; but now blue is once more important, especially in rooms where elegance is desired, as in Regency and Directoire, and is used with white and gold. Dusty colors, that have gray mixed in them, and gray itself, bring an element of peaceful repose into a room; and grays and near-black colors such as black plum, smoke gray, and black are used with china white, sky pink, tangerine, pearl gray, mocha and pomegranite for sophisticated interiors. Black abstractions on white or neutral ground are seen more and more in draperies.

Numerous nontarnishing metallic yarns, some glinting subtly, others bright and shining, are now avail-able, ranging from metallic lame to nubby materials with gold and silver highlights in the weave.

Provincial and Early American rooms use toile de Jouy fabrics in single colors of blue, green, faded blue, wine, red or amethyst on off-white back- grounds. Butternut is another provincial background color, successful with the painted woods, fruit woods, and generally lighter furniture of this type of room.


You have a greater opportunity to use color at your windows than in the past, since fabrics are easier to wash and clean, and easier to keep clean. This fact also makes it possible to use white in a carefree manner. While decorators have cut down the palette for any one room, they have not become afraid of color. Dyes are increasingly varied, and it is possible to find very pure bright colors and subtle tints and shades in fabrics, ranging from gossamer gauze to sturdy duck 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Decoration and Curtains Styling

Decoration and Curtains Styling
Decoration and Curtains Styling
Your decorative scheme is bound to influence your choice of fabric and the way you drape your windows.

Today it becomes increasingly difficult to label a room as Modern, Provincial, Directoire, or anything else. Modern rooms, no matter what the period is, have in common a smoothness and directness that separates them sharply from the cluttered rooms of other periods. Modern colors give them a contemporary feeling, no matter what the source of design. Some of the loveliest rooms combine the best in furniture and accessories from more than one period. You too, in all probability, have not felt that it was necessary to stick slavishly to any one period or style. It is much more likely that your home has taken its cue from the part of the country in which you live, whether you live in a city apartment or country house, and from your family's tastes and needs.

Nevertheless your window styling can pick up whatever style idea is dominant in your home, and in each room. Let's take the living room first.

Suppose you have a modern room. Limitless pos-sibilities emerge as to pattern or fabric and color, but in draping you are more or less confined to straight hanging draperies and glass curtains. You will want to avoid ruffles, shillings, festoons, and fancy tiebacks. If you have Chinese modern furniture, for example, glass curtains of raw silk shantung and draperies of solid-color damask with a weave that brings lines that resemble bamboo to the surface are possibilities. Or if you live in the Southwest, or in the country, and have a Modern room in which natural colors and textures predominate (such as exposed stone walls, great fireplaces, rush matting, bamboo blinds) you will want one o the modern hand-blocked or screen painted fabrics, perhaps in a Peruvian, Mayan, Guatamalan, or some other primitive print in one color against a natural ground. If your room is a more sophisticated kind of Modern, as in a city apartment, you may want one of the exciting abstract Modern designs. When tiebacks are necessary, use chunky pieces of brass, clear plastic, or simple wood, and avoid anything gadgety or fussy. In Modern fabric patterns, look for something simple that is, at the same time, not obvious a pattern that, because the artist has been clever, does not seem too repetitive.

Modern in feeling, but at quite the other end of the scale, is the classic style, in which the patterns suggest Grecian urns, classical columns, and figures. This style calls for delicately-draped hangings, swags, or festoons, falling in soft folds down the sides and some- times lying along the floor. They can be created in sheer materials and in richer brocades and hammered failles.

Decoration and Curtains Styling
Decoration and Curtains Styling
If your room is Provincial, ruffles are very good, of course, and they can be deep, wide and plentiful. Sash glass curtains on a brass rod are attractive in a Provincial room, echoing the brass accents of accessories. There are very many attractive small-patterned fabrics on the market for Provincial rooms, in toile de Jouy and other documentaries and in Americana. Large curving cornices padded and covered with fabrics of the same pattern are attractive.

For formal rooms of period style, as Italian Directoire, Empire, Louis XV, or Georgian, draperies may be looped back in a more elaborate manner, and richer smooth-faced fabrics such as pure silks, antique taffetas and damasks may be used, as well as the newly fashionable laces and nets. Windows for these rooms are lavishly covered by lightweight glass curtains topped by contrasting valances which sweep across wide areas, or for narrow windows are made up of crisscrossed asymmetrical fabric lengths. Over-scaled brass or dark mahogany rods with minaret ends give an impressive air to these treatments.

If your family uses the living room for quiet evenings at home, for reading, sewing, and other activities of this nature, avoid patterns and colors that are too gay or lively. If on the other hand, you do much entertaining, and your living room is more formal, you can afford more exaggerated draping styles, and bolder, more dramatic color.

In the bedroom, patterns and colors should be restful. Here, of course, you will want to choose draperies that are most attractive to the member of the family whose room it is. Sturdy .cottons, ranging from sail-cloth and duck to monk's cloth, can be used in children's rooms, and in your son's and daughter's rooms where modern prints will be appreciated. Your teenage daughter may prefer a room which is more of a study and entertaining area, decorated in simple Modern styles with abstract-patterned draperies, to the conventional young girl's frilly room. Your own room may be as soft and inviting and luxurious as your wish can make it, with lustrous rayon satin or taffeta draperies to match quilted flounced spreads and dressing table.


Kitchens, as always, can be curtained informally with sash curtains, Dutch curtains and short, straight- hung curtains of lightweight materials, with gay trimmings. Kitchens are becoming less clinical, and now Provincial small-patterned drapery curtains will go with pine-panelled walls, and candy-striped chintzes, semi-abstract fruit and flower designs, and other bolder patterns and fabrics are used, particularly in a kitchen which has a dining space. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to Window Architecture

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to Window Architecture
How to Choose Curtains Styles According to Window Architecture
The window architecture itself has much to do in determining treatment. Your window may be an important decorative asset, if it is a picture window, a whole window wall, a bay window, or a corner window; you will want to make the most of it, and yet at the same time not have it stand out so vividly in the room that it is a disquieting factor. The windows must seem a natural part of the room's architecture.

On the other hand you may have two or three windows that by themselves do not seem important architecturally, but that will seem much more important and make your room smoother if you pull them together by your window treatment (that is with a cornice for the group, or a swag or valance tying them together, and by hanging your over draperies as though you were dealing with one window, with a panel at each end).

But also you may have problem windows where, for example, heights vary, or framing styles differ, giving your room an uneven appearance. Or in an older house the architect may have used a definite style, such as a Palladian window, which would give your room a perhaps unwanted classical atmosphere. In such cases it is quite possible to disguise the architecture, and with rods and fabric to transform the dimensions of the window.

The single two-sash window is today, and has always been, the most common type. The sash window may be long and high and narrow, and this may seem to give your room a smaller appearance as it will make the walls seem higher. In this case you will want to make the window seem wider by extending the top frame with blocks of wood and then hanging your draperies and curtains from rods that extend the full width of the extended frame. A deep valance or swag will also cut down the apparent height of your window.

If, on the contrary, the window is wide and low, and seems to make your room too large for its low walls, heighten the frame with a board which you can top with a valance board, and hang your draperies as though they began at this point. Still another way to increase height is to hang your valance board just below ceiling height. A short festoon draped over a pole, combined with filmy, deep-pleated glass curtains, will also give an illusion of height.

In addition to the sash windows are bay windows, which are two or more windows placed at angles to each other. Perhaps the most pleasing and uniformly successful way of treating this window style is to drape it as a single unit and have a continuous valance extend all the way across it. When there is too much wall space between the windows which form the bay, treat each window as a separate unit; but be careful not to have too mucli fabric in this space. Rods can be purchased which curve to conform to the curve of the bay. Another bay-window treatment is to have double sash curtains at each window with a continuous valance of the same material over them all.

Dormer windows, rising from a gable in a slanting roof, may be found in many extension attic-type G.I. houses, and may be treated quite informally. Simple ruffled window curtains of muslin, organdie or some other sheer material are always appropriate. Sash window curtains help a bedroom window under a sloping room to seem larger, particularly if used as glass curtains with ruffled tie-back draperies.

Double-sash windows give one a better chance to exercise imagination and ingenuity. Consider them as one unit, with valances or cornices helping to increase the illusion. The glass curtains may be caught together in an hour-glass shape with a bow at the center, although this treatment is apt to be more distracting and over-elaborate than it is pretty. Or the over draperies can be looped back over Venetian blinds, Japanese blinds, or a wide painted shade. Any number of decorative treatments come to mind.

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to Window Architecture
How to Choose Curtains Styles According to Window Architecture
Corner windows may seem to offer problems, but actually they make very attractive window treatments possible, and give a great feeling of space to the room. Again, they are most successful when no drapery is hung in the corner and they are treated as a single unit (which they actually may be in modern homes and apartments). Blinds with lightweight curtains hung over them to soften the light with draperies at the side are always effective. Another way to tie such windows together is to obtain the feeling of a continuous drapery with festoon valances and long side panels. Or you can outline the entire window with a frame of double ruffles. Corner windows lend themselves to draw draperies.

Casement windows are those windows which swing on hinges at the sides, opening out like doors. They can be single or double, and open in or out It is customary to curtain them with casement cloth, shirred on rods at top and bottom, but you may also wish to provide them with a pair of traverse curtains. A French window, or a door hung as a casement but extending to the floor, may be treated in the same way. Cranes or swinging rods are practical for casement draperies, as are traverse curtains.

It is only since the 1930's that architects have placed great emphasis on using natural ventilation (or heat from the sun's rays ) . Architects then turned the rooms in the house that were most frequently used to the south, and the south wall was in effect one huge window. This idea has become increasingly popular, and today most new homes feature at least one large "picture" window, while windows throughout are larger. In the most advanced modern homes whole sides of the house are virtual sheets o glass.

Actually, a true picture window is a large window with an uninterrupted frame of glass, with no muntins (or crossbars that break the window up into small panes). This is preferable because a view improves when seen through an uninterrupted expanse in which the frame of the window frames the view just as it would a picture. But the term has come to mean any very large window. In both window walls and picture windows the glass may be fixed so that the window never opens, and ventilation comes from slats beneath the window.

Most popular draperies for large windows are the traverse or draw types. These range from fine-count marquisette (44 x 30 threads per square inch) and shimmering glass-fiber yarns to stately floral-print failles and finely-textured satins. Drapery materials should not be too heavy or bulky, so that they may be drawn back and forth easily. Sturdy traverse rods help make these draperies practical. Draw draperies are particularly suited to bedrooms because ventilation, light and privacy are very important in these rooms. In bedrooms it is more necessary that the draperies rather than the glass curtains be of the traverse type.

It stands to reason that if you have a large window you have a good view, and you will not want to obscure it with curtain fabric hung over any portion of the glass. Have your draperies hung at the sides, like portions of the frame, ready to be drawn when you choose. One way of treating a picture window with east or west exposure (where glare is not so great a problem) is to frame the window with a rodless valance on all four sides that is, with shirred and ruffled material attached to parallel rods or one rod, or with a backing of pleated heavier material such as mattress ticking tacked to the frame.


Exposure is important, as glare and light vary, depending on the way the window faces. A southern exposure, which affords heat and maximum light, is favored in modern homes, and glass curtains are important with this exposure as an aid to cutting glare. If your materials are not sun fast, it is wise to line draperies hung at this exposure, as the lining may be renewed thus adding years of service to the fabric. Soft mellow tones may be selected, as the sunlight itself adds brilliancy. For northern exposures warm tones of yellow, orange, and brown are the best choice, especially in bleak northern parts of the country. Light filtering through warm-toned glass curtains may cheer the darkest corners. East light is colder than west light, and warm colors should predominate. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to House Architecture

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to House Architecture
How to Choose Curtains Styles According to House Architecture
The architecture of your house will have a lot to do with your decision on window treatment, as you will want to use your draperies and curtains to bring out the best qualities of the architecture from the exterior as well as from the interior, Thus, white ruffled tied-back organdies and other sheer materials are still, perhaps, the most effective curtains for a Cape Cod Colonial house. But today many young couples who really want modern small houses are forced to accept the modified Colonial types, since in most sections of the country small modern houses are not yet within reasonable price brackets. It is possible to give such a home an intriguing modern appearance with, for example, vivid plain fabric draw- draperies across a breezeway, a modern print at the picture window, and so forth. But caution should be used in combining decorating styles as expressed by your curtains, and architectural styles. Certainly it is incongruous to hang looped-back damask draperies in a ranch style house, just as it is inappropriate to have ruffled organdie in an Italian villa.

As far as possible, without making the interior dull, it is a good idea to make the curtains alike in both shape and general style, since it is distracting to see in one facade looped-back, straight-hanging, Dutch style, and various other treatments. If your styles do vary from room to room, however, use glass curtains of the same color throughout the house, and this will help achieve unity on the exterior.

How to Choose Curtains Styles According to House Architecture
How to Choose Curtains Styles According to House Architecture
From the interior, too, the window treatments should have a certain amount of uniformity, especially in those houses where rooms open into one another, or where there is a dining area as part of the general living space, as in many new, small homes. This is especially true of the ranch type house, where all the rooms are on the same floor. It does not mean that you need use the same print throughout, or the same fabric or color, but there should be a correlation of materials and textures, and a blending of colors. If, for example, draperies are featured in the living room, of linen of smoke gray with chartreuse and hunter green leaf patterns in the print and a chartreuse moss fringe, the adjoining dining area can have plain smoke gray linen drapes with chartreuse fringe, or chartreuse draperies with gray fringe, and possibly a valance and tiebacks that repeat the leaf pattern.


Casement cloth, or glass curtains, as mentioned, give the house not only uniformity from the outside, but also on the interior. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Deciding What Style of Curtains You Want

Deciding What Style of Curtains You Want
Deciding What Style of Curtains You Want
Deciding what style of curtains you want is not too easy if you want to be sure of having at the same time the most functional and the most attractive draperies or curtains possible. You must answer these questions first:

1) Do you have a pleasant view from your window, one that you want to bring into the room, make a part of the decoration?
2) What style of architecture is your house?
3) What style of architecture is your window?
4) What period or decorative effect is your room, and how much does the furnishing of one room depend on that of another?
5) What exposure does your window have? (This question influences your choice of fabric and color.)

The question of outlook is fundamental. Primarily what one remembers about a window is what it looks out on, not how it is draped. If your room looks out on a beautiful private garden, you can afford to have glass curtains that offer a minimum of privacy, a maximum of bringing nature into the house. If your windows look out of a front yard and a quiet street, lovely in themselves but not too private, you can still have glass curtains which permit a maximum view of the outdoors and yet offer privacy from the person looking in.

Deciding What Style of Curtains You Want
Deciding What Style of Curtains You Want
Suppose, however, that you live in the country where the general effect is pleasant, and yet that ugly house across the street, the new housing development, or the neighbors' children's sandpile spoil the view. Or suppose you live in the city and have a view mainly of ugly roof tops, although you do get an expanse of sky and changing panoramas of sunsets and sunshine! In both these cases you will want a window treatment that offers glimpses of leaves or sky while obscuring details. Marquisette or net glass curtains will do this, as will Japanese bamboo blinds or Venetian blinds.


On the other hand, you may have a distinctly unpleasant view into a dark courtyard, or smack up against a neighbor's garage or house in the suburbs. Then you may as well decide to turn your window wall into an attractively hung and draped expanse. You may want to extend your draw curtains from wall to wall, and have them drawn open at night for ventilation, or you may want opaque glass curtains that let in light and appear pleasantly translucent in the day without giving a view, with the interest created by the over draperies

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Windows from the Inside Looking Out

Windows from the Inside Looking Out
Windows from the Inside Looking Out

Whether you live in a new little G.I. house of Colonial design, a California ranch house, an old Victorian home on a shaded village block, or a city apartment, you are probably more window-conscious than you ever were before. For today, as never before, architects and builders are providing us with houses that furnish more big windows. Across the country, home owners are remodeling their houses to provide for picture windows, corner windows, and other large expanses of glass to allow more sun and light inside, and to bring indoor living in closer contact with the out-of-doors.

If you are lucky enough to have this kind of window area in your house, you are probably concerned with the problem of providing the right curtains and draperies to obtain suitable privacy and still make the most of your windows. You want to frame your windows and make them an exciting part of your room, and yet you want this large space to be a pleasant drapery that you can draw across the window at night. Draperies and curtains on this large scale are expensive to buy ready-made, and hard to find in the right materials, colors and patterns for your room. Making them yourself will prove a satisfying experience.

And because you are more conscious of the more important windows in your home today, you are probably looking around with a new eye at your other windows. Once you have mastered the art of measuring, cutting, sewing and trimming described in this book, you will probably want to start improving all your windows, from the dormers in your expansion attic to the windows in your master bedroom, bringing to all your rooms the softness and pleasing privacy that only draperies afford.

Had this book been written as little as five years ago, there would not have been much to tell you that you couldn't have picked up from your mother or grandmother. But today there are many new things being made to beautify your windows, from glass curtains made of nylon and Fiberglas (mildew resistant, crease resistant, easy to wash and unnecessary to iron) to ready-made valances, complete with fluorescent light for illuminating the draperies and bringing out the beauty of their color or pattern.

In addition, styles in home decorating have changed or perhaps the word is "increased" since today besides the still lovely traditional styles, there is a modern and corresponding emphasis on newer colors and textures. Now decorators tell us that the large areas in a room, the walls, floors, ceilings, and drapes as well, must not be distracting colors should be neutral, and the most successful decorating is that which relies on the accessories and one or two carefully chosen spots in the room for vivid color. While this remains a matter of taste, no matter what period your room is decorated in, you will want to select modern fabrics that are dust-resistant and easily cleaned or laundered, and you will want to achieve enough skill with your sewing machine and scissors to get that clean-cut, authoritative, contemporary look to your creations.

You have probably discovered that a change of draperies adds new life to your house, changing its entire mood and atmosphere. Once you have learned what there is to know about such details as mitered corners and how to cut swags, you will probably want to do creative sewing the best way to style your windows for your room, whether it means a new kind of ruffle trim to match the flounce on your dressing table, or finding a somewhat different and original way to cover a valance board. You will want to change your window styling with the seasons, finding crisp sleek fabrics and treatments with restful, cool colors for summer, and warmer, livelier patterns and color and nubbier fabrics for winter.


And you may want to extend the techniques of window styling to other parts of your house, to curtains for exposed closet spaces, wall-to-wall curtaining for windowless walls that could use a fabric background. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Select the Height or Length of Curtains

How to Select the Height or Length of Curtains

How to Select the Height or Length of Curtains

You can only find a few plain rules to follow for selecting curtain height or length

The length or height of the hung curtain should be to the floor or the windowsill.
Anything in between looks rather odd.
There is a trend today of puddling curtains, this is where they are made longer than the height required and “puddle” on the floor, this requires a skill in fabric selection, so that they sit well. It is used commonly in living rooms and bedrooms.
With puddled curtains on a hand drawn track, make sure that the width of the curtain is not extreme as they become heavy and difficult to draw back. They are also prone to picking up all the fluff from your floor, so a little bit more attention is required to keeping them looking smart.
The top of the curtain (the heading), for all curtains can be at ceiling height, above or at the top of the window frame or flush with the window reveal.
It all depends on the space that you have. Do keep your choice constant in your home as it can look very odd if some curtain heads are fixed at different heights to others, especially when you can view through from room to room or worse, in the same room.

The finished length of ceiling to floor curtains should leave a 10mm gap, so that they don’t catch the floor and are easy to draw back, the gap for finishing at a windowsill only requires 5mm.
For safety reasons, never cover radiator heaters with curtains, look for another solution, either stop the curtains short of the heaters or use a blind as an alternative style of window treatment.

Consistantancy in design of the window treatments allows for a symmetrical form to be created here in this photograph. The head of the curtains are all the same height and the window swag and tail valance details are all the same and they are all held back at the bottom of the window sill which provides a regular frame for the windows and creates a flow and rhythm to the window treatments.