Silk curtains for a touch of luxury

Silk curtains are a feature which many of us hope we can one day enjoy in our own home. Silk is a natural fibre and has been used for thousands of years for clothing and furnishings.

In spite of the development of man-made materials, silk is as much in demand today as it has ever been. Clothes made from it keep the wearer cool in hot weather and warm when it's cold, and are light and reasonably hard wearing.

But the main attraction is in their looks. Their slightly creased look combined with their light reflecting properties sets them apart from all other fabrics.

Once you have used them as a window treatment you'll understand why they are admired so much.

I'd like to use silk curtains, but...

Everyone knows that silk drapes will fade. And according to some they will rot fairly rapidly, especially in strong light. And you can't easily clean them. They're very delicate.

Well, yes. They do fade, and if left in direct sunlight they will eventually rot. But so will other furnishing fabrics, and we haven't stopped using them, have we?

A variety of effects

Silk can be woven in many ways, and this affects its properties.

You can get very soft ones which drape in gentle folds. Some are tough and crease easily like linen. My favorite is sometimes known as 'wild silk', and has an irregular look to the weave making it look very much like a dupion.


silk curtains

These silk drapes show a richness which is not found in other furnishing fabrics.

Note that if you want to get folds like these you'll need to use at least double fullness in your drapes.

Just follow a few guidelines

  • If you put silk in a window which doesn't get direct or strong light, it will last for many years.
  • If your window admits a lot of light then use sheer curtains, roller or vertical shades to protect the drapes. Sheer curtains are often used in this situation, and can even enhance the look of the silk by providing a soft background.
  • To get the best effect use good quality lining and interlining. The lining will protect the drapes from the worst of the light, and the interlining will give them more body and make them look more substantial.
  • Take care when having them cleaned, and only use the best professional cleaners.

Get the best from silk drapes

A number of mistakes are often made when using silk for curtains and drapes.

Because silk can be expensive, it's often used sparingly. In other words, not enough of the fabric is used to make the curtains. Instead of using four widths to get, say, double fullness, three widths are used to cut down on the cost.

The result is a limp and lifeless set of curtains which don't have the impact expected of them.

So, don't cut down on the amount of fabric you use.

As mentioned in the guidelines above, the best way to make silk curtains look great is to use good quality linings and interlinings. Especially interlining. A good thick one will work wonders for the look of your curtains. It will give bulk and body, and bring out the best of the world's most sought after fabric.


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