HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CURTAIN FABRIC
By Nick Thomas, 3 December 2020
Finding the perfect pair of curtains for a room can be the make or break at the end of the decorating process. Not only do your curtains serve a purpose as a focal piece of a room, but they can also be costly, so it’s important to get them right. Here at Alexander Maverick, we want to help you find a solution to your interior woes, so we’ve created a guide to choosing a curtain fabric and the best way to measure your windows in preparation for hanging them.
What is the best fabric for curtains?
Let’s begin with fabric. Finding which curtain fabric is best for you is highly dependent on what you want to get out of your room. Suppose you are focusing on creating a light and open aesthetic, or perhaps simply want show curtains. In that case, you will want to investigate the qualities of different fabrics to ensure you aren’t disappointed. All fabrics have their benefits and downfalls, but being aware of these will help you make an informed decision about which will best suit the needs of your space.
Velvet curtains are the perfect addition if you are looking to make a statement within your room. Velvet hangs in a natural and flowing manner, meaning that you often don’t need to bother with curtain ties if you don’t want to add these as a feature in your room. Velvet curtain fabric is great for retaining the heat in a room so that you can create a cosy atmosphere. However, one of the downsides of using velvet fabric is when exposed to natural light, it has a tendency to fade, so be aware of this when deciding where to hang your curtains within the room.
Although you may think lace curtains are an impractical addition to your room, they are ideal when it comes to layering your window. If you want to hang curtains and are looking to retain some privacy, lace curtains allow a huge amount of light in, while creating a stylish boundary between the inside and outside of your home. Lace curtains can be added to the inside of your window frame as an alternative to blinds or shutters.
Pure Linen Curtains
Linen comes in a variety of weights from light and sheer qualities through to thick and heavier properties. Each will give a different look and feel but all offer a natural charm. Alexander Maverick offer a medium weight pure linen in both a natural and off-white base colour and is ideal for window treatments throughout the home. Linen is a naturally durable fabric which will help with the longevity of your curtains so that you don’t find yourself looking for new curtains time after time (which could become a costly venture). With linen’s durability comes a stiffer handle to the fabric, which can often mean it takes longer for the curtains to settle when hung. Linen will eventually soften with every wash, becoming less likely to crease. However, to avoid shrinking your linen curtains, be sure to take them to a professional dry cleaner.
Linen Union Curtains
Linen union is typically a fabric made with both linen and cotton. The cotton element gives the fabric a softer handle than our linen and is less prone to creasing. Linen Unions come in a variety of weights and different proportions of linen and cotton. To retain the natural look of linen fabric, with the drape and softness benefits of cotton, go for a blend that has a higher proportion of linen.
Cotton fabrics offer excellent drape, softness and print with clean bright colours lending them perfectly to patterned curtains. Cotton curtains can add freshness to a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom and are also ideal for children’s rooms. The lighter weight of cotton curtains means they would need to be lined. They are also easier to sew than other fabrics mentioned, making them an ideal choice if you are planning a DIY project.
Silk makes luxurious curtains which fall effortlessly in any room of the house. If you decide silk is the perfect fabric to create your curtains, avoid hanging them near radiators, as you may find that they shrink. Silk is also susceptible to discolouration and may become brittle if exposed to sunlight, so be sure to choose wisely where you hang your silk curtains.
Here at Alexander Maverick, we have a guide that offers some insight into what fabric and designs we have available. Our Print Base Guide offers essential advice that we recommend you consider when it comes to deciding what fabric and print will create your dream curtains.
Patterned curtains are perfect for setting the tone of your home; whether it be chevron or stripes, you can transform a whole room without having to redecorate your walls or change your furniture. By keeping your decor simple and curtains bold, you can evolve the aesthetics of a room by a simple change around of curtains. Alternatively, if you love a pattern clash, purchasing a pair of patterned curtains is a great way to create a unique and funky interior scheme.
Eyelet Curtains or Pencil Pleats?
Firstly, let’s start off by defining the three types of curtains headers.
Eyelet Curtains: Eyelet curtains are circular holes at the top of your fabric which are designed to be placed onto your curtain pole. Eyelet curtains are regarded as a more modern style than pencil pleat curtains and don’t require gathering; therefore, you won’t need as much fabric. They can also be simpler to make if you’re planing a DIY project.
Pencil Pleats: Pencil pleats will be attached gathered according to the width of your windows and require hooking the curtains to the rings on your pole. This process means they aren’t as easy to hang as eyelet curtains but can offer a smart and sophisticated appearance in any room. The gathering of pencil pleat curtains will mean you need to consider using more fabric which should be taken into account throughout the measuring process.
Pinch Pleats: Pinch pleats are often used on higher-end fabrics as they create a more tailored look. Pinch pleats are perfect for patterned fabrics meaning that a smaller portion of the pattern is gathered in the fold.
How to measure for a pair of curtains
Knowing how to measure accurately for a pair of curtains is imperative so that you aren’t caught short when it comes to the final hanging process.
You will need to measure the full length of your curtain pole with a tape measure, making note of your final measurement. Be aware to avoid making the mistake of measuring around your window frame, as you will find that when it comes to hanging your curtains on the pole, they will be too short in width. You will also need to consider how much fabric you want, whether you are looking to gather your curtains (you will need a larger measurement) or have them fitted to the exact measurement. If you are in doubt, please speak to a professional.
Consider how you want your curtains to fall and whether you are looking to create curtains that sit above the sill, on the sill or below the sill. This way, you can work out the length of the curtains that you will need.
Choose the fabric that you wish to be made into curtains, and check it is compatible with your pole or window type. You will also need to be aware of pattern matching if you are creating your own curtains.
Send off your measurements for your made-to-measure curtains, or begin the pattern cutting yourself!
Here at Alexander Maverick, we have a handy chart that you can use when shopping for curtain fabrics online. Our repeat size chart shows the repeat width and height for each design at 100% scale. Be sure to browse our full fabric range to find the perfect print and material for your new curtain fantasy!