Window Drape Fabrics
Find Your Perfect Blinds
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Last updated: Friday, April 11, 2008 | 8419 Views

When it comes to drapery, the fabric is key to its upkeep and style success. Whether you’re selecting ready-made drapes, having them custom made to your specifications, or getting out your sewing machine and making them yourself, you’ll need to select a drapery fabric that suits your room and your lifestyle without overwhelming your windows.

Since you have hundreds of different fabric blends to choose from, this process can be overwhelming. Choosing a fabric for your window drapes or curtains is a very personal matter, but it helps to understand the basics.

Rich silk fabrics, layered and adorned with complementary patterns and tassles create a unique and elegant window treatment.Overall Drapery Fabric Considerations

The first step is to consider your room and your windows. You may have an intense love for delicate lace, but so will your toddler.

If you consider who uses the room, their tastes, and their behaviors, you’ll come up with window treatment that suits the entire family.

Then, it’s time to consider the windows.

You want to make sure that your draperies and their fabric suit the windows. You may love velvet, but it will look incongruous when used in short curtains.

If your windows are small, then you may want to steer away from velvet, or consider making the drapes out of another fabric and trim them in velvet.

Next, consider the color, pattern, sheen, and texture of your drapery fabric.


For a child's room, you can select something fun in bright colors to match the theme of a boy or girl room decor.Selecting Drapery Fabric

Generally, you want to make a statement with one or two of these elements. For example, you might choose a retro fabric pattern in bright colors, or an unpatterned silk with a lustrous sheen.

The key is to concentrate on a few elements. Layering a shiny African styling fabric with a nubby lining in a jewel tone would be overkill.

If you plan to make custom curtains or have them made for you, make sure that the curtain fabric you select works well with the drapery style you intend to use.

You don’t want to select a dramatic and elegant fabric like silk and then use it to make casual café curtains.

The fabric and the style should work together to provide an overall vibe for the window treatment.


Drapery Fabric Types

The various drapery fabric options each have their own characteristics when it comes to both appearance and upkeep, so they’re good for particular styles of drapery.

    Texture, pattern and color in the fabrics you choose will combine to give your window drapes a distinctive look.

  • Cotton – Cotton offers ease of maintenance and a great variety of patterns and colors. It’s a versatile fabric that can work well in French country rooms (think toile prints) or to cover the French doors in a family living room. However, cotton doesn’t hold up well in a lot of direct light; it’s prone to fading. You may also have problems with wrinkling.
  • Linen – Linen is sturdy and wears well. Many styles offer subtle, nubby texture that looks great in neutral colors. If your room is awash in prints and you need something in a neutral color that isn’t boring, linen can be a terrific option. Linen can shrink, so you’ll need to account for that when it comes to cleaning the drapes. Many linens are also stiff, so if you’re looking for something that will puddle naturally on the floor, this might not be the best fabric option for you.
  • Rayon – Rayon offers a pleasing sheen and drapes well, but it doesn’t hold up under a lot of manipulation. Consider using it in stationary drapes and in formal rooms; you don’t want to be opening and closing it on a repeated basis. Make sure to get a treated fabric that is less prone to creasing and shrinking, two common problems with rayon.
  • Silk – When it comes to formal draperies with luster and opulence, silk takes the cake. Make sure to use it in formal rooms where it won’t be trampled on or handled a lot, since it doesn’t hold up very well. And never use it in bathrooms, kitchens, or places where it will receive a lot of direct sunlight; it’s prone to water spotting and fading.
  • Synthetics – Acrylic and polyester blends are some of the most affordable fabrics for drapery, and they wear well, making them good choices for casual, high traffic areas. However, they will pill.


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