Sunday, February 5, 2012


As I have stated in a previous post, my first passion is Fabrics. And one of my absolute favourites is SILK!! I won't go into a detailed Textile Class right now about Silk, but I just wanted to arm you with a little info on this fabulous fibre.

There is nothing as beautiful as Silk Draperies. 

Especially those that have been done just right!  To me Silk Drapes are like a ballgown for the windows- a little overly dramatic, maybe,  but that's how I think of it.  The way that silk hangs:

the way the light catches on the fabric, the way it feels.........  Can you tell how much I LOVE it?  Silk has been highly prized for thousands of years.  Really, do we have to wonder why?  A little silk worm spins a very fine thread, that thread is collected and processed and Voila- Fabric!  So amazing!!  Not that Simple but so very amazing!

When Silk Drapes are done correctly there is nothing like it on the planet!  And when I mean done right I mean the following: Style, Cut and Construction.  Here is an awesome example of just that:

   Here is a close up of those gorgeous drapes:

Just from the photo (especially the close up), I can see the level of detail that went into these drapes.  When a Silk Drape is constructed correctly they will ALWAYS be lined.  Not only does this help the drape to hang correctly, but it also protects the drape (somewhat) to sunlight, protects it  from heat (somewhat), gives a consistent colour when observed from the outside (all draperies should look consistent when viewed from outside), and helps to give the drape "body".  When I say body I mean it gives the fabric a bit more "beef", be a little more sturdy if you will.  One of Silk Draperies' worst enemies is the sun.  The UV rays and the heat produced can completely destroy the fibre.  Hang an unlined silk drapery in a very bright location and within a year it will have faded and will have fallen apart.  Sad but true.  YOU SHOULD NEVER, NEVER hang Silk Drapes in a South facing window.  This includes Southwest.  This is due to the fact that this type of sun is the most intense and damaging.  The only way to slow the ravages of the sun is to use Blackout Lining, and Interlining.  Only by this, will this slow the progression.  If it were me, I wouldn't hang Silk in a harsh lighted window- you have spent so much money and you don't want to ruin your investment.  Even when you line and interline the drape, the leading edge of the drape will still be visible to the suns rays, your edging will take a beating!
When I talk of Interlining I mean this is an extra layer between the main fabric and the Lining.  Think of it as a Fabric Sandwich: Fabric, Interlining, and then Lining.  Why would you want to line and interline your Drapes?  Well to begin, it helps to further protect the drapes from heat and UV.  Another reason is to add "body" to the drape.  In the close up in the above pics, I can tell that Interlining was used.  This is why the drapes look so "plump".  Interlining gives drapes the "ballgown" look they can achieve.  In addition, interlining helps the drapes to hang beautifully.  A good Interlining will also provide added protection from heat and UV.  Most Interlinings used to achieve this "ballgown" look is called "bump cloth". 
Bump Cloth is a very lofty fabric much like heavy Flannel.  It really gives a lovely weight to drapes:

So for those of you out there brave enough to make your own Silk Drapes- PLEASE......  Use Lining and if you can Interlining.  It will be completely worth it in the end.  I know it is a little more effort but you have already spent a small fortune on the Silk fabric-  you might as well go all the way.  If you do, they will last for years to come.
For those that wish to purchase custom drapes, I hope that this little bit of knowledge I have given will do you well in the future.  By knowing just the few things I have spoken of it will help you make better decisions: 
1. Always have Lined Silk Drapes.  If you can get Blackout Lining that's even better.
2.  Do not put Silk Drapes in a South facing window -if possible!
3.  If at all possible, buy interlined Silk Drapes ( I know it can be expensive).  They can be Interlined with a special Interlining Fabric or use Bump Cloth for an even better look and better protection.

If you are going to buy Silk Drapes at a store or online then please make sure they are at least Cotton lined- Cotton holds up well.

Here are some places you may want to look at for inspiration and purchasing:

InVu (Canada)

You can always go the route of Custom Drapes but I realize that for the majority of consumers this is way out of range- I too am on a tight budget!  You may be able to find cheaper alternatives to Silk such as Faux Silk- which most likely will be made of Polyester- most times they are more than 1/2-3/4 of what you would pay for real silk.
 Here is a little inspiration and eye candy.  Enjoy:


I believe that the Wall colour for the above photo is BM Amherst Gray HC 167

This above photo is just like a ballgown- I know that this kind of "puddling" is not for everyone- but boy is it beautiful to look at!

Miles Redd- Elle Decor

One last thing- I may have mentioned in a previous post- REMEMBER:  Drapes are lined, Curtains are unlined.

I hope this has enlightened and been helpful.  Happy shopping!
Have a great day!

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