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.
Hotels, Yachts and many public places have strict requirements for fabrics both for fire retardancy and wear, usually measured in the UK by an abrasion test (commonly referred to as Martindale or ‘rub test’). Some of KOTHEA’s Mohair Velvets are highly suitable in such environments with a certified Martindale of 100,000 – which is more than the usual contract requirement of between 20,000 – 30,000.
We have many velvets of differing compositions (Silk Velvets, Cotton Velvets, Linen Velvets, etc.) and we were interested to see how one of the velvets, at the very highest end of our range, would perform. So we used SGS to test one of our Cashmere Silk Velvets (75% Cashmere 25% Silk).
The tests were undertaken in accordance with BSEN14455 (based on BSENISO12947) and a result of 13,000 rubs was obtained, which considering the perceived delicacy of the product was fantastic. 13,000 rubs make the product suitable for light usage such as residential.
We are often asked to recommend fabric treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment companies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:
Just click the company name to take you to their web site. Please feel free to add comments to this posting recommending any suppliers you have used but any negative comments about other companies are not permitted on this site. Thank you.
Up-and-coming Fabric Designer, Zoë Etter, was recently commissioned by KOTHEA to update our linen ‘Alpha Boucle’ upholstery fabric for S/S 2017 to incorporate new elements for the luxury market. The muted fabric features the addition of embellished and tufted yarn in simple linear shapes which are designed for a smart, contemporary look for the home.
The refined designs are aimed at clients who want a simple, durable style that is visually effective. The soft colourways combined with the rich textures offers flexibility for a statement upholstery that is classic in style with a modern edge. Most suitable for chairs and soft furnishings, the fabrics’ 3D look is inviting, and remains comfortable whilst giving a luxurious feel.
Abstract shapes, bold lines and textures typify most of Zoë’s design work, whether it be for fashion or interiors. Photography strongly influences the start of a project and is always at the heart of her work. It is predominantly inspired by natural forms which are interpreted through mark making to create bold patterns and textures. Her most recent collection is based around neon florals for the festival-goer.
Another recent project focuses on strong monochromatic designs inspired by the Cornish coastline, which are ideal for creating a graphic look for warmth and interest in a room.
Zoë can be contacted for private commissions directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or through zoeetter.tumblr.com
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
KOTHEA Fabric Picks For A Chilly Winter’s Day
With Verity du Sautoy of KOTHEA.
We love the seasons. All have their beauties and all have touched our senses in memorable ways over the years. Winter is no exception: lower, more balanced light; quietness and chaos with both the shopping and the weather; festive celebrations; the cuddle of a loved one; the hope and expectation of early spring flowers grasping for rare and tiny glimmers of light; and, perhaps, the welcomed warmth of a beautiful fabric.
Some of my best memories are centred on family: a warm fire; a little baby; or a bouncing toddler. Then an old children’s classic on the iPlayer watched on my Mac as it balances precariously on an elegant coffee table. I stroke my children’s hair with one hand and rest my other hand on my sofa. A generous cushion is warm, encapsulating and a bit of fun for the little ones to hide under. The curtains are not yet fully drawn but they smooth the boundary to the cold outside and give us tantalising glimpses of the world beyond – should we venture too close to the sheers that offer the final, soft protection from the elements.
I work for a fabric company. I love fabric. I can’t pretend that it (fabric) is a be-all and end-all to life and that somehow it will make your life complete. It can’t. But what it clearly can do is complete the sensory experiences in the parts of life that, if you choose, you have control over…the parts of your home. Memories are not just photo-like snapshots in your brain; they are stored, multi-sensory splashes of emotion.
Here are my Winter picks. They are actual ‘picks’ that I’ve recently purchased or are about to purchase.
Luxury Upholstery Velvet is notoriously difficult for interior designers to consistently source. Sourcing a generic velvet is easy enough but often velvets vary greatly in quality with many being relatively cheap and scoring relatively well with Martindale results but they just look ‘cheap’. The look and feel of the velvet are, after all, two of several important reasons why you are specifying it in the first place.
A further problem is composition. When, for example, you say you want a Mohair Velvet that is what you want: a velvet made out of Mohair and NOT lots of other things PLUS a bit of Mohair.
Whilst Mohair velvets are generally very good across the market they too can vary significantly in quality. So even when you buy a Mohair Velvet you are not necessarily getting the durable, luxury, fantastic looking product that you hoped for.
Further complications come when looking at Velvets made of a mix of yarns. Well, some of the mixed fibre yarns too are actually excellent in quality!
So I guess I’m saying that there really is no sure and fast way of knowing that what you are buying without actually seeing the fabric AND being assured of its technical characteristics, notably Martindale as we are considering upholstery here.
Most KOTHEA luxury upholstery velvets have inherent Martindale rub tests of in excess of 20,000 rubs with several collections exceeding 100,000 rubs fo contract usage – 20,000 Martindale being eminently suitable for domestic upholstery.
In addition to non-velvet, textured upholstery we have many luxury velvets suitable for upholstery including Italian Silk Velvet (high quality, luxury velvet), Cashmere & Silk Velvet (the ultimate velvet), trevira Velvet (inherent fire retardancy), Mohair Velvet (high quality, luxury velvet),
Most of our velvet is available by the metre with no minimum quantities.