When having custom draperies made, the type of fabric you select will determine, not only how your drapes will look, but it will also determine how long they will last. Most people are more concerned about the look of the fabric, the pattern and the color, rather than what the fabric is made of. If you understand some of the positives and negatives of the most common drapery fabrics, it will help you make the best selection for your home.
Fabrics come in three basic types, natural, synthetic (man-made) and blends. Natural fabrics tend to be more breathable, while synthetic fabrics tend to be more durable. Many fabrics are made with a blend of synthetic and natural fibres thus having qualities of both. Drapes should always be lined and some fabrics need to be interlined to protect the fabric from the sun and extend the life of the fabric.
Polyester is a man-made fabric and one of the most common fabrics used for draperies. It has a very affordable price point and is often blended with other yarns to make blended fabrics. It is strong, crease and stretch resistant, does not absorb water well and is quick to dry. Polyester is also easy to clean. The only downside to polyester is that it tends to pill if it is rubbed excessively. Typically drapes are not rubbed like clothing or furniture.
Acrylic drapery fabric is lightweight and soft. Acrylic, like polyester tends to pill if rubbed excessively. It is a great synthetic fabric to blend with a natural fabric like cotton to increase durability. It is stain and sun-resistant which are qualities not found in natural fibers. Acrylic fabrics won't run or fade with washing.
Cotton is another very common fabric used in home decor. It is the strongest of the natural fabrics. It comes in various weights, colors and patterns as well as blends. Cotton is easy to clean although it tends to shrink, stretch and wrinkle easily. Cotton is a natural fiber so exposure to sunlight can weaken the fabric. It is not very durable so it is better to select a cotton blend for your draperies.
Silk is extremely popular for draperies because of the sense of luxury it adds to a room. There are various types of silk fabrics and most exhibit a luminous glow in many rich colors. Silk must be lined and interlined. This not only protects it from the sunlight which will rot the threads, it also adds fullness and richness to the finished look. You must consider what window you are putting silk onto as the life of the silk will not be as long if you allow the sun to shine on the fabric. Silk is a natural fabric and will last for many years if kept out of the sun. Silk is prone to water spotting and the price can range from medium to expensive depending on the type of silk.
Linen, another natural fabric, is light and casual with a fine luster. It is also a very strong fabric and is stain-resistant. Linen also wrinkles easily so if you don't want a real casual look, linen probably isn't for you. Linen can also be stiff and prone to shrinking. Linen may also be prone to sun rot. Linen blends are also available. Linen can also be very expensive.Check out our webpage for more information