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
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 Chambrai, France , 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. India
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.
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.