Fabric Spotlight Series, Part 2: Casement and Embroidery Fabrics
In the second installment of our Fabric Spotlight Series, we’re taking a deep dive into the benefits and challenges of working with two specialty drapery fabrics: casements and embroidered fabrics.
As a designer or builder, you might have your heart set on a certain drapery style that you think would look perfect for the interior space in question. To truly bring this vision to life, it can help to understand how the draper works with these beautiful fabrics.
Let’s begin with casements.
Casement fabrics are loosely woven with cotton yarn and threading. They provide a highly attractive, opaque effect on incoming light, and they can be a lovely choice for interior decorating.
So, how difficult is it for a draper to work with casements? On a 1-10 scale of workroom difficulty, casement fabrics rank between 5-9. But, with the right understanding of how this fabric behaves, the results can be truly magnificent.
Here are a few examples:
As splendid as casement fabric draperies can be, there are a few considerations we need to keep in mind when designing and manufacturing them.
- Due to the loose weave of the fabric, this type of material will often snag easily during manufacturing and installation.
- Sewing can be difficult, as the fabric has less material to ‘take’ threading and stitching.
- To keep the fabric from unraveling, the application of tape might be required along unhemmed edges.
- This fabric is quite stretchy and unpredictable, making it hard to maintain the finished length when tabling.
- Some casement fabric styles cannot be used with buttonholes or grommets.
- Manual cutting is often required.
- In some cases, flat hanging may be needed to allow the fabric to relax before manufacturing begins.
- To facilitate sewing, solid fabric banding may be needed.
- Achieving exact floor length may not be possible due to the variable behavior of this fabric.
When it comes to detail, styling, and color choices, embroidered draperies are tough to beat. Not only are they available in a broad variety of thicknesses, designs, and patterns; they are also easy to match with other interior décor or soft furnishings.
When we sit down to work with embroidered drapery fabrics, we normally expect to be tackling a job that ranks between 2-4 on the 1-10 difficulty scale.
While embroidered fabrics are easier to work with compared to casements, they have their own unique characteristics to keep in mind:
- Embroidered fabrics can be difficult to sew and often require manual cutting.
- Thicker fabrics might need to be hand-sewn.
- Fabric substrate can ‘pucker’ between heavily embroidered sections.
- Bright embroidery thread can cause unexpected light penetration.
- Embroidered linen, silk, and wool can shrink and expand unexpectedly.
- Fan-folded embroidered fabric can be resistant to proper hanging.
- The outward-facing side of the fabric isn’t always obvious, which is why it can be helpful to send a memo to the workroom before manufacturing begins.
- Some embroidered fabrics are simply not suitable for use as draperies! Here’s an example:
- Areas of uneven embroidery can be especially noticeable after treatment is made under otherwise normal conditions.
- Many embroidered fabrics require steaming before manufacturing can begin:
It’s important to remember that even the best embroidered fabrics can have imperfections, as seen here:
This is the nature of embroidered fabric, and imperfections like these should be viewed as character traits, not material flaws.
With the right embroidered fabric and a knowledgeable draper like Precision Draperies on the job, a beautiful arrangement of embroidered draperies can truly make an interior space come alive with elegance and inspired design:
Stay tuned for next month’s post, when we’ll be talking about Laces and Linens!
Are you a designer or builder with questions about a custom drapery project?
Get in touch with us! We’re always happy to talk draperies!
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