A Guide to Curtains
Linings & Interlinings:
When choosing curtains, whether they are ready made or bespoke for your specifications, the first thing to consider is their function. Are they for privacy, blackout or just to dress your window? Their function will automatically determine the type of lining required.
Firstly, lets clear up the difference between lining and interlining!
Lining – the outer fabric, at the back of the curtain and is used to hide the inner construction. Some linings will protect the fabric from the sun, reducing any fading, whilst others, such as blackout, are perfect for a bedroom. Interlining – is an extra layer of fabric placed between the main fabric and the lining. We recommend its use when specific fabrics, on their own look thin or lifeless – by adding an interlining, the fabric completely changes and the curtains become thick and sumptuous. Another reason for using it is for installation, preventing any window drafts.
Whichever lining/interlining you do choose, will have varying cost implications and although this may seem daunting, good quality lining/interlining can really make the finished look and effect how they hang.
Length & Width
Inside the reveal or outside of the reveal?!
Length: When looking at the length of what the curtains should be, there isn’t a right or wrong way to have them. It is either personal choice or a professional recommendation, on what would look best for the height or style of the window. Floor length curtains, outside of the reveal will always look classic and suit any window of any size. The curtains could either: - just hover above the floor (same applies to sill length curtains – they need to finish just on, for hanging purposes). This is a tailored and neat look, which will create complete blackout, if in a bedroom, and can help prevent drafts from windows. - pool on the floor. If you choose this option, have 7-10cm (minimum) extra length on your curtains, which will sit on the floor. Pooling creates a relaxed & romantic feel, and is very forgiving on uneven floor surfaces. Bear in mind that these extra long curtains may require more upkeep and cleaning.
Width: As a rule of thumb, to ensure curtains look good and have enough window coverage, you will require 2 to 2 1/2 times extra fabric on the window width. This will create the correct drape when the windows are drawn – if there is too little fabric in the width’s, you will get a gap in the middle when the curtains are closed or they will look stretched. It may seem excessive amounts of fabric and will inevitably effect the final cost, but having finished curtains that do not quite meet in the middle would be disastrous & very disappointing. However, if the windows are dressed (for aesthetic purposes only) the amount of fabric required is reduced.
There are a few curtain headers to choose from, which will suit most styles and tastes, such as formal/casual/contemporary…Headers are also very important to consider when deciding how far back they need to sit alongside a window – the more fabric required, the heavier the look and on a smaller window, this does need to be carefully assessed.
Pencil Pleat/Gathered header: The most common header choice, requires less fabric and is the most cost effective when making the curtains. Single pleat: this is a contemporary header, which is quite common. Double/Triple pleat: work great on a pole with rings and creates a fuller, heavier curtain. This header does require more fabric. Eyelet: perfect if you prefer a contemporary pole, without rings. Wave: simple and very effective. Works well with sheers too. Goblet: a much more traditional choice so not always people’s first choice, but is rather effective and makes a real statement. Similar to the triple pleat, this header does create a fuller curtain & requires more fabric.
There are many types of poles to choose & the one you pick should be based on taste, style to compliment the room and practicalities. Curved poles: bespoke poles that bend for bay windows, which can be made to order. Wooden poles: for a traditional look or for sending coastal vibes. Metal poles: a more contemporary look. Metal poles with a track: for those who dislike curtain rings . Tracks: this a very contemporary & sleek finish. We would recommend these if you would like a discreet finish or plan on hiding the tracks behind a pelmet.
Where should you hang a pole or track? Well this answer goes hand in hand with the length of the curtain – we always recommend taking the drop of your curtain, after a pole has been fitted. The options for pole location – External of the reveal. The curtains would hang above and either side of the window – the higher you go above the reveal, the more length required in the curtain. This look will give the illusion of a taller window…but don’t go too high, else it may look a little odd! We would recommend fixing a pole half way between the window & the top of the reveal, and having it 10cm either side on the width. Internal of the reveal. A Track can look very smart in these circumstances and creates a very neat look, fitting inside the window frame.
This is a handy tool when measuring your curtains…