Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silk Window Treatments

Silk window treatments are an easy way to add luxury and style to almost any room. Silk has that natural sheen and texture that compliments almost any d├ęcor. You may be surprised to know that any window treatments offer silk material; silk is not just reserved for curtains.

Of course, any article about silk window treatments needs to start with the most popular application: silk drapes, specifically dupioni silk. What is dupioni silk? Dupioni silk is a shimmering silk created by weaving silk threads of two different colors. That’s what gives it that shimmering effect but also adds to a slightly uneven texture. The silk itself is produced when two or more silkworms spin their cocoons close together. These slightly tangled cocoons produce filament that is rough and uneven. Dupioni silk is perfect for drapes because it resists wrinkles, has a dull sheen, holds a pleat and is totally reversible, meaning that either side of the drape can be visible.

Beyond drapes, you can find silk used in roman shades. Roman shades, which are sometimes called fabric shades, are often compared with drapes because they offer the look of curtains with the ease of use of a window shade. Roman shades come hobbled (folded) or flat but they all “fold-up” when opened. Roman shades can be purchased with optional liners, including blackout liners, room darkening liners and even thermal liners to add insulation to your window. If you want to add elegance, beautiful textures and rich natural colors, silk roman shades are an excellent choice.

When it comes to silk window treatments it is important to note that although silk is a very durable material and will last for a long time, it does not stand up well to direct sunlight. Therefore it is highly recommended that you purchase a liner. So if you are purchasing silk dupioni drapes, you should select a liner. The choices are generally cotton, polyester and sometimes a thermal interliner for added insulation. You can also choose interliners that add room darkening to blackout depending on your light control needs.

If you need to clean you silk window treatments it is generally recommended that you dry clean them. That said, it is possible to hand wash dupioni silk drapes – let’s face it silk has been around a lot longer than dry cleaning. If you need to clean silk roman shades, you will need to have them dry cleaned or use a spot cleaner using a dry cleaning spray or fluid.

“Dupioni silk can be hand washed if the seams have been serged [also called overlocking, overedging or merrowing] and you don’t mind the fabric losing some of its firmness or color. Although low-quality silk may become rough or dull after hand washing, better quality silk tends to looks better and last longer when hand washed. The natural coating on silk fibers reacts well to warm water, so hand washing also has the advantage of refreshing silk and giving it a better drape. Silk can be hand washed in cool or lukewarm water using a mild detergent such as Woolite, Ivory soap, or shampoo dissolved in the water. Because silk resists dirt and stains, only a small amount of soap should be used. Silk, like most natural fibers, doesn’t tolerate abrupt changes in temperature very well, so stay with one water temperature throughout the wash. Avoid soaking silk as this may fade the dye.” M. Langton, July 29, 2005.

So there you have it, a short primer on silk window treatments, which can be window curtains or roman shades. It’s too bad that more window blinds and shades and don’t incorporate this beautiful fabric.


Interior Designer said...

This is a very informative one. I found it interesting and a great source of ideas regarding window shades and treatment. You are really doing a great job. Thanks and keep posting.

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