Most types of draperies benefit from being lined. Lining adds weight to curtains to help them hang better, giving a more professional appearance. It adds opaqueness, which is especially important when you are using thinner drapery fabric. Lining also prevents draperies from fading with exposure to sunlight and thereby extends their lifespan. For some types of drapery the reverse sides are sometimes visible. In this case lining is essential for a finished look, and decorative lining fabric becomes an optional feature. Fabric that is specifically labeled as "drapery lining" is a fail-safe option.
At the lining department of your local fabric store, you will see many different fabric color and fiber options. Lining fabric is lighter in weight than decorating fabric. It is usually cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two and often has a glossy finish. For drapery linings you need a non-stretch fabric. Whether you choose a glossy or matte fabric is a matter of personal taste. You are not limited to lining fabric, though-any smooth lightweight cotton can be utilized.
The most common color fabric used for drapery linings is white or off-white. If you stick to white linings for all your draperies, the windows of your house will have a neutral uniform appearance from the outside. White is also a versatile option, because it will not show through even the lightest colored curtain fabric. However, many people find white lining limiting when it comes to drapery design. There are no rules, so if you want to catch a glimpse of patterned or colorful fabric when you open your drapes, by all means use whatever fabric you like. For curtain styles where the lining is visible, for example, jabots (gathered side panels) and roll-up shades, the color of the lining can be a decorative feature. A plain curtain fabric and patterned lining, or a complementarily colored lining is an option in this case.
There are several types of specialist drapery lining fabric available. One option is black-out lining. This is designed to block out as much light as possible when the curtains are closed. It is a little more expensive than regular lining fabric, but it is worth it for people who prefer a room to be completely dark when sleeping or watching television, for example. Some lining fabric is treated to repel water. This is a good option when you have an old house, have leaky windows or live in a damp climate as it prevents staining. People in cold climates may wish to purchase special insulated lining. Used with heavy draperies, this lining helps keep cold air out. Not only does this make a more pleasant living environment, it can cut down considerably on heating costs.
With most drapery styles, the lining is not intended as an obvious decorative feature. When the reverse side of the curtains are rarely seen except from the outside of the house, they are constructed so that the lining is invisible from the right side. This means that the hem of the lining sits above the hem of the curtains and there is a margin of the right-side fabric folded to the back along the side seams. When the curtains are open, the lining stays invisible behind the pleats. For blinds designed so that only the right side shows, Roman blinds for example, the side seams are well pressed so that the lining panel is invisible directly behind the right-side panel.
With some drapery styles, a little of the lining is sometimes visible. When using tie-backs at the sides of curtains, sometimes the reverse side of the panels are folded to the side and held in place. In this case, curtains can be lined to the edge and you may want to use a complimentary colored or patterned lining fabric. With a reverse roll-up shade, the lining fabric is seen when the shade is raised as it rolls up on the front side. If you use a plain fabric for the front and patterned fabric for the lining, when the shade is open the narrow rolled band at the bottom adds a small touch of the pattern. If this is reversed, you will see a plain narrow band in contrast to the patterned blind.
- The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing; Singer; 2005
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