Heavy curtain fabric for winter weight curtains


Heavy curtain fabric for winter weight curtains

In the days of modern centrally heated and double glazed homes, fabric deemed suitable for use as curtains has become thinner and thinner as it does not have the same demands put on it in past centuries, where after windows and doors, curtains were the major source of protection from cold draughts. However the majority of period properties still have issues with draughts and frighteningly high heating bills for many reasons. The most powerful of these is the fact that many period properties do not have double glazed windows and are not likely to have these if conservationists have anything to do with it, because many designs of original windows cannot be recreated faithfully enough to incorporate double glazing. So draught proofing materials and heavy curtains are the most important aids to keeping the cold out and the heat in your rooms.

Heavy curtains are really useful for large windows.  However a general piece of advice when choosing curtain fabrics: for small windows, whilst the method of construction ie fabric/lining/interlining is identical, the  pattern (if any) of the fabric will need to be  scaled down accordingly.   The standard convention,  small room = small pattern;  large room = large pattern, applies to windows as well as wallpaper.

There are many heavy curtain fabrics available to purchase – these tend to be more expensive than standard weight fabrics and with a high wool content, but should be seen as an investment as good quality curtains should last many years if not decades.

A perfect fabric for winter curtains from our collection is English Needlework composed of wool and cotton – the floral design of this fabric is delightful, and is typical of early 18th Century domestic needlework and adapted from a panel at Cothele.

English Needlework fabric winter warm curtains

The Victorian Emporium's English Needlework Fabric.

Some of the lighter weight wools are also suitable such as Small Falcons and Genoa wool damask. For a more luxurious finish and some sheen, a Magnus, Veronese or Versailles would all be good choices.

Veronese fabric winter warm curtains

The Victorian Emporium's Veronese Fabric

Heavy curtains can be used as extra protection from the weather over front doors and give a cosy feel to entrance halls. For a truly sumptuous curtain  (which would look good in a passageway) the main fabric could be a brocade and the lining in matching/contrasting velvet with fringes  and tassels.  This could be hung from  a pole  or accompanied with swags or  a valance, both of which could also be suitably fringed.  To be really draught proof these could be interlined with thermal lining however care must be given to the finished weight as the pole or curtain track must be very secure in order to bear the weight. If attaching a curtain like this to a door,  a portiere rod  (which rises as the door opens) is used.

Victorian fabric collection - view now

How can you keep the cold weather out using curtains?

The Victorians used more than one set of curtains at a time and you can do the same. The multiple layers of window coverings used by the Victorians consisted usually of a blind next to the glass, with up to three separate sets of curtains in the main rooms of the house. Sub curtains of lace or sheer fabric, a middle set of lined curtains made of velvet or damask and a top pair made of a heavy material such as tapestry. The sub curtains were often made of Nottingham lace and were good for catching dirt as they were easier to wash and cheaper to replace than the other heavier layers of curtains. These four layers are probably overkill in today’s period properties, however it’s still a good idea to use a blind or set of sheer curtains under your heavy winter curtains for added insulation.

Interlining should be included in winter weight curtains which is perfect for the British climate. A good guide is to construct curtains with 260 gm. cotton twill domette interline with a medium heavy curtain fabric. If using a very heavy fabric such as English Needlework you may choose a lighter weight interline.

There are also thermal linings available, however it is preferable to use natural fibre interline with these thick fabrics. There doesn’t seem to be any advantage in using a man made lining material unless the face fabric is a cotton or linen and no interliner is being used. 

There are added benefits of thick curtains for example they protect the contents of your room from direct sunlight and as such protect precious possessions from sunlight damage.

Double sided  heavy curtains  using  either  matching/contrasting linings are very attractive but best suited to a window that doesn't get  full sun as any  coloured lining/fabric  will  fade  to some degree and some fabrics will 'bleach' fairly quickly.  If the curtain is drawn back to a wall return during sunlight hours then this effect is obviously lessened.

Heavy curtains  are traditionally weighted down along the hem with lead weights.  This not only ensures the curtain hangs well but certainly in earlier years kept the curtains from blowing in the draught from "leaky"  Victorian  windows.

The Victorian Emporium sell a wide range of heavy curtain fabrics along with lighter weight fabrics and accessories to protect your house from the cold.

Categories: Décor, Windows   Tags: curtains

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