Curtains

Beautiful Curtains handmade by Sarah Speak Soft Furnishings.

Curtains can create a great impact and be the focal point of a room.  They have always been seen as a more traditional window covering but they can also add a modern, finished look to a contemporary home using a beautiful fabric.   Sarah offers high quality, hand sewn, made to measure curtains which can be embellished with trimmings and contrast borders.

Sarah’s hand-made curtains have:

• Discreet herringbone stitches to the edges of the curtains to prevent them rolling
• Mitred corners and weighted seams.  Hand sewn double hems.
• Linings are chain stitched to keep the layers together and prevent them bagging.

Things to consider when choosing curtains

  • Fabric
  • Heading Styles and Linings
  • Interlining and Blackout Options
  • Track or Pole
  • Hang and Dress Requirements
  • Accessories like Tie Backs and Cushions

Fabric

The fabric you choose for your curtains depends on the size, style and aspect of the room and it’s windows.

For a relaxed informal look, cotton and linen suit most rooms. Heavyweight velvets and rich silks can create an opulent appearance and look great in period homes.  Avoid silk if the room is very sunny as this can rot.  Faux silks are a good choice as they are more durable.

Bright coloured fabrics and large pattern prints become a good focal point in a room and are great for more contemporary homes.  Subtle paler colours and smaller prints are better for shorter curtains and are a more traditional choice.

If you are wanting curtains for a very bright sunny room then choose a light coloured fabric as darker coloured fabrics can fade in the sun.

Heading styles

Curtains are attached to a pole or track in different ways, this is known as a heading.  Different headings will create different looks and effect how the curtains hang.  Most headings are made with buckram or a heading tape.  See page on heading styles. For the different headings please read my page on curtain headings.

Linings

One of the main reasons a curtain lining is used is to make your curtains more substantial so that they drape well.

So which lining do you choose cotton, polyester or a polyester/cotton mix?

100% cotton

  • Used by many professional curtain makers
  • Natural product
  • Has a solprufe coating which is sun resistant and prevents fading.
  • Creases and may shrink after washing

Polyester

  • Polyester is a synthetic man-made fibre
  • Extremely durable
  • Resistant to mildew
  • Crease resistance
  • Stains can be difficult to remove

Poly/cotton

  • Used by many professional curtain makers
  • Heavier and denser which gives a good drape
  • Crease resistant
  • Cheaper than cotton

There are also a bonded lining which is where the interlining is bonded to the lining.

Interlining

Is a soft blanket like layer of material that lays between the main fabric and the lining.  It is used not only to give curtains a luxurious look and feel but for also for insulation.   Interlining gives a curtain more impact. Interlined curtains also help to absorb more sound if you live on a busy road.

Interlined curtains cannot be washed and are considerably heavier than lined curtains.

There are different types of interlining available.

Bump interlining is the thickest and is 80% cotton which is loosely woven with synthetic fibres .  It is generally pre-shrunk as the cotton content can shrink in the changing atmospheric conditions around windows.  Bump gives curtains a good drape however this can be an unstable fabric.

Sarille interlining is a synthetic fabric made of polyester.  It is a stable textile which has rows of very small stitches.  It has tiny holes in between the stitches which trap the air making it a good insulator. Sarille does not shrink and has a fire retardent option.  It is available in different weights. The heavier sarille called Evatex works well with silk and very thin fabrics.

Domette interlining is a brushed cotton twill and is lighter and thinner than bump. It drapes well and works with most fabrics and is available in different weights.  It cannot be washed.

Bonded interlining is made from fusing standard curtain lining to sarille , this gives your curtain lining a fleece.  Bonded interlining gives curtains a fuller look and has thermal qualities.  It can be a little stiff and does not always drape well.

Black-out options

Black out and dim out linings are different.  Black out completely blocks out the sun and dim out allows most of the light to be blocked.

Black out lining is available in white and cream.  It is most commonly used in bedrooms to block the sun out or a street light.  It helps young children and shift workers sleep during the day.   It is commonly used in hotels and offers privacy.  Black out is draught proof so great for door curtains.  It is energy efficient and helps to keep heat in during winter and heat out in the summer.   The super soft blackout drapes well.

Tracks and Poles

Please read my page on Tracks and Poles

Hang and Dress requirements

For the best results it is important to have curtains professionally hanged and dressed.  The dressing of curtains ensures the curtains hang in even sized folds and are able to stack back from the windows neatly.  The curtains are tied in their folds with left over strips of fabric.  The curtains are left in the ties for a week, then once the ties are removed the curtains should hang straight without billowing in different directions.

Accessories

Tiebacks and accessories offer the finishing touches to curtains.  Fabric tiebacks embrace the curtains and have a D ring attached to each end which fixes onto a hook at either side of the window.  Ensure your tiebacks are fitted at the same level.  You can choose bead, rope or fabric tiebacks, there are so many beautiful trimmings available.

Hold backs are rigid pieces of metal or wood, some have large buttons.  They are fitted on the leading edge (front) of the  curtains.  You can update some plain curtains by using striking tiebacks or hold backs.

Voile curtains are made from lightweight cotton, or a cotton blend. For maximum light in your room but maintaining privacy choose a sheer voile curtain, this allows the daylight through. They are available in a wide range of colours, patterns and textures.  Voiles are a good way to prevent pollens entering open windows which is a consideration if you are a hayfever sufferer. Voile curtains are generally washable on a delicate cycle.

Unlined curtains are a good way to allow air and light to flow through.   Unlined curtains can be machine washable.

Sarah’s bespoke made to measure curtain service aims to work alongside you from the outset starting with a free no obligation home visit.  I can provide samples and give advice especially if you have a tricky window to dress.