When considering sheers for window treatments it is often worth bearing in mind that there are many double-wdth sheers available from many suppliers including, of course, ourselves. Double width sheers are worth special consideration as they offer:
1. Cheaper make up costs as there can be less work involved in using a wider fabric;
2. The ability to improve the overall aesthetic look – as there are fewer seams; and
3. The ability to be railroaded (ie made up with the pattern going the ‘other’ or the ‘wrong’ way. A width of 300cm or thereabouts is often sufficient for many drops (lengths) and this can eliminate the need for any seams.
If you are unfortunate enough to have created beautiful curtains that are plagued by static problems then please read on.
Fortunately static is rarely noticed when curtains are hung, this is partly because of the chosen combination of materials and partly also because the weight of the material overcomes the weak power of static electricity. However if you do have this rare problem then you have already invested a lot of time, effort and money into buying curtain material and having them made up and hung. Do you have to start again?
Before answering that dreaded question it is important to understand what causes the problem in the first place. There is little point in re-making the curtains if the same problem is going to happen again.
Static is a natural phenomena. The main way in which static is created is when two materials are rubbed together causing an excess electrical charge on their surfaces. It is not, however, caused by the friction itself and it is not caused because a material is synthetic/man-made.
All materials differ in their propensity to cause static. It takes the properties of TWO materials to cause static; one must be good at giving up ‘electrons’ and the other good at receiving ‘electrons’. The better that each of the materials are at giving/receiving ‘electrons’ then the more static there will be. For any scientists reading, you might remember that this is measured by The Triboelectric Series.
On the Triboelectric Series; hair, wool, glass, nylon and fur are good at giving up electrons. Whereas silk, paper and cotton are at the other end of the scale and are bad at giving up electrons. Conversely; wood, metals, polyester and styrene are bad at attracting electrons whereas at the other end of this side of the scale polyurethane, polyethylene, vinyl/PVC are good at attracting electrons.
Thus a combination of PVC and hair would produce the most static whereas cotton and wood would produce the least. If you think about combing your hair then this should ring true.
Polyester is very similar to gold, platinum, brass, silver, nickel and copper in its static generating properties. Whereas, cotton is one of the lowest materials on the scale.
So the first lesson, bearing in mind the above, is that the choice of materials ie the curtain and the lining are critical. Also any surface that the curtain comes into contact with is important. So the second lesson is to consider the location.
Let’s turn now to how the curtain is made up. An experienced, professional curtain maker should know how to avoid the static problem.
Taking an example of a mixed composition fabric. Let’s say 40% cotton, 40% viscose and 20% polyester. And let’s also say that the material is loosely woven and has movement. Looking at such a fabric an experienced curtain maker would say that the fabric ‘needed taming’ and that a light cotton inter liner should be used. In addition to that the following details should be followed:
• The interlining should be locked in with 3 inch stitches. This should not be knotted;
• At the leading edge the interlining should be serged and locked in;
• The hem should be herring bone stitched. The stitches should not be too large and should not catch the face fabric; and
• Because of the nature of the fabric, the hem should slightly break on the floor.
These are not generic solutions to all curtain static problem. But they should be considered by the curtain maker.
So we have seen that: the choice of material; how the design works when hung; and how the curtain is made up, all have impacts on the creation or dissipation of static.
Some farbics beautifully arranged from our Spring 2015 Collection. A vey nice (we think) staged image in a set full of light diffused from some white souble-wodth sheers. 3 differing and contrasting cushions arranged off-centre on white contempoary seating
Here are some additional pointers to consider when you are making a curtain using a velvet. Remember that a velvet is just a type of fabric and the fibre(s) that the velvet is made from is important.
So for example, we would always recommend that you line a curtain. This gives a superior appearance but also reduced the amount of light going through the fabric hence limiting as much as possible the effect of any fading.
If the velvet has a pile that can be flattened in one direction then we would recommend that you have the pile going downwards for SHINY velvet fabrics and PATTERNED VELVETS.
If however you make up the curtain with the pile upwards then this will deepen the colour so you could make the curtains this way for cotton velvets and Trevira Velvet and Mohair velvets.
These are general guidelines and it is not necessarily wrong if you make up the curtain ‘the other way’ just so long as you understand the implications to the finished look and performance of the material.
You’ve just ordered a new velvet and unrolled it to admire your purchase. But how do you re-roll it?
When you roll almost any fabric you should have the face on the inside. With a velvet this is the pile so you have the pile on the inside.
Some, but not all, velvet piles stand straight up others will ‘lay down’. for the former it does not matter which way you then roll the fabric (provided the pile is on the inside). However for typically longer pile which lays down (ie you can brush it flat with your hand in one direction only) then you should roll the fabric down the pile as you return it to its roll.
Sanforising is a finishing technique for already woven fabric.
Interior Designers do not need to know the detail of exactly what happens. So, in brief, the process is usually associated with cotton fabric and often also with shirting fabric. The idea behind sanforising is to pre-shrink the fabric. Clearly any shrinkage after the fabric has been made up may cause problems and Interior Designers DO need to be aware of that!
When sanforised fabric is subsequently made up into curtains or used on upholstery the naturally occurring effects of fabric stretching are reduced, but like many natural fabrics some further shrinkage could occur.
As a general rule: more tightly woven fabrics tend to shrink less.
The sanforisation process involves stretching and heating damp fabric over a series of rollers
BS5867 part 2 type B is a contract standard for fire retardancy for CURTAINS.
As an interior designer you do *NOT* need to understand the details of the test nor the performance criteria that needs to be achieved.
However interior designers are responsible for the project/installation and because this is a serious are concerning fire risk you DO NEED to:
– Be certain what standard is required for your project/installation;
– Know that you are specifying fabric that meets the appropriate standard; and
– Prove that the fabric you have installed is up to the job.
So here is what you need to do to achieve that, essentially what you need to do to do your job and to ensure you have covered the bases of your responsibility.
1. Determine the fire retardancy standards that need to be adhered to. This may involve contacting the local fire officer. Determine what documentation you need to provide them.
2. Liaise with your fabric supplier to determine if the fabric either:
– inherently meets the standards; or
– requires treatment.
3. On purchasing the fabric, specify the treatment required. You would say to the fabric company “Treat the fabric to the contract curtain standard BS 5867 part 2 type B, and provide me with documentation showing this has been done”.
4. What you have done now is to specify what standard of treatment has to be undertaken. By doing that there is no guarantee that the fabric will pass the appropriate test even though it has been treated to a standard where it should pass the test. Normally you will receive a document saying that the fabric has been treated to the standard. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT HAS PASSED THE STANDARD. You need to determine if you want your specific batch of fabric to be specifically tested (after treatment). For larger projects, this will almost certainly be prudent to undertake. You will need to purchase additional fabric prior to treatment and engage the services of a fabric testing factory (not treatment factory). At the end of that process, you will receive documentation stating that the fabric meets the required standard.
Finally! Our summer collections have been decided and we will begin to introduce the new designs and colourways throughout the remainder of this year. We have been inundated with new work in the first part of this year causing our blog posts to be curtailed and our ‘spring’ collection to nearly be an autumn/fall collection. Not that we really do seasonal collections in any case.
I will return later in another post to KOTHEA’s awesome sales figures for the financial year just finished. Most surprising, especially considering we are in the midst of a recession. We had our best ever year and by quite a large margin.
We expect some coverage of the new collections in World of Interiors and Elle decoration but, again, more on that at another time.
Where can you see our collections? Well, we are as elusive as ever but we are starting to digitize some images to our flickr feed (click the images on the right or here). The flickr update is ongoing, there is information on flickr now but some of the images are not final and some images do not have full associated descriptions / product details but we are woking on that this week. Our usual clients will receive the new collections in due course starting in late summer; if you need them more urgently for pressing projects of course we will be happy to oblige. Please get in contact in the usual way.
Curtain fabric from KOTHEA provides the most beautiful and opulent textures and colours combined with technical characteristic making the fabric directly suitable for curtains because of its light fastness or suitable when interlined. KOTHEA never compromise on elegance in design throughout their extensive range of collections that encompass many silks and sheers and other beautifully coloured fabrics. Much more information can be found about our products and company elsewhere here in The Fabric Blog.
Try searching for particular technical characteristics like ‘light fastness’ or ‘ the specific type of product like ‘silk’ or ‘curtain fabric’ or ‘double width sheers’.
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