Curtain Fabric Static

Another grey mohair velvet, luscious upholstery
Grey Mohair Velvet Upholstery
Grey Mohair Velvet Upholstery

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.

Knit Back Fabric Backing

Schematic of stockinette stitch, the most basi...
Image via Wikipedia

Some fabrics can be too fragile for use as upholstery unless knit backed. Knit backing is a process whereby, for example, a cotton polyester backing is applied to a lighter weight chenille, silk or cotton.

Essentially the fabric‘s life is increased with better durability and resilience. The handling characteristics of the fabric can be improved; and knit backing also helps prevent seam slippage.

The same principle applies for the fabric whether or not it is to be used for either upholstery or wall covering. There will certainly be other requirements for contract usage, say, in hotels and aviation and also other treatments like fire retardancy or stain protection would be required for contract upholstery.

Fabric Treatment Companies – FR Flameproofing

silk velvet upholstery fabric textile FR Martindale RubsWe 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:

Essex Flameproofing,

Textiles FR, and

TEK Treatments

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.

11 Top London Upholsterers – London Upholstery At Its Very Best

Orange, Black and red colourful velvets

Here are a great selection of London based upholstery companies. Some of them are relatively small and other are very considerable and long-established companies. They are not necessarily at the upper end of the market, nor the bottom. I guess I could more easily say here is a range of upholstery and re-upholstery companies in London ! Enjoy, in no particular order.

Barnes Upholstery – 020 8255 9797
Sofa And Chair Co – 020 8752 8938

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Business-Related Interior Design Articles

Whilst we have dealt with some of these companies as clients this post is not intended as a specific recommendation, or otherwise, of any of them.



SJ Upholstery 078 7652 8213
Moore’s Upholstery – 020 8421 5448
Chelsea Upholstery 020 7384 1666
Brown Antiques  020 7736 4141
Fine Line Upholstery –  020 7407 7438
Upholstery Village – 020 7731 6586
HJ Cooper – 020 8788 8673
Barnett Upholstery 020 7622 9347
7 Upholstery – 020 7613 4925


Textured Upholstery

Textured Upholstery
Textured Upholstery
Textured Upholstery

Some nice Textured Upholstery on the sofas in this interior from Armstrong Keyworth. This looks like a warehouse conversion of sorts. Nice combination of clean new lines with renovated brickwork. Textured upholstery is always a good route to take when considering the fabric in your interior scheme. It’s not just about colour schemes texture and touch are also important to the people who will end up living there.

Textured Upholstery Fabric On Sofa

Textured Upholstery Fabric On Sofa
Textured Upholstery Fabric On Sofa
Textured Upholstery Fabric On Sofa

Private Lives Interiors (Annabel Hall) in Surrey have completed many fantastic interiors projects. This sofa looks like it’s part of another.

We love the ribbed, textured upholstery (very similar to KOTHEA Twig design) and the great contrasting colours and textures of the cushions.


Red Silk Velvet Cushions

Red Silk Velvet Cushions
Red Silk Velvet Cushions

April Hamilton Designs produced this great looking home cinema studio. I remember bringing back a projector from work about 15 years ago, it linked into my laptop and I brought home too one of those pull-down portable screen. 3 of us crammed into a small bedroom watching Finding Nemo (or similar)…how things have changed !! We looove the straightforward colour scheme and, in particular, the red silk velvet cushions and beautifully textured brown upholstery fabric.

KOTHEA supply numerous velvet collections including luxurious Italian Silk Velvet fabric which can readily be used for cushions as well as residential upholstery.

Crib 5, Crib 3 FR treatment – is it OK to mix these? inter liner fabric

Sonny's Crib
Image via Wikipedia and not too much to do with Crib 5!

“Is it OK to mix Crib 5 and Crib 3?” was the question. The client further explained that they planned to use a Crib 5 inter-liner and a Crib 3 fabric and was this OK in a restaurant?

I think the uncertainty existed as sometimes with domestic usage interlining can help with meeting FR needs.

However for non-residential spaces that is NOT the case.

The Crib5/Crib 3 mix would have been OK in an office type environment where Crib 3 was required however in a public space this is certainly not acceptable and so a different fabric is needed that is inherently Crib 5 or can be treated to Crib 5.


Related Information:

Crib 7

Crib 5

UK and European FR