Monday, 17 September 2012

Ten Ways To Get Your Curtains Looking Fabulous

Here are my top ten tips for 
making sure your curtains look 
completely fabulous.

1. Choose the right material.
It was worth waiting to find the perfect fabric for our girls bedroom. Even if you have a fairly small window, like ours, the right curtains can make a real impact. We chose Cabbages and Roses Hatley in their pink colourway. It was love at first sight. From the moment the parcel arrived, wrapped in delicate tissue paper, to the final hanging of the curtains, Hatley is utterly Country, with this beautiful floral pattern, yet, because of its fairly sparse, monochrome design, utterly Modern all at the same time.

2. Before buying, hold material up to the light.
Don't be fooled by sample books. When your fabric is hanging up, light streaming through the window will change how it appears. You can see from the two photos below (first on an overcast day and the second with glorious sunshine) that this Cabbages and Roses fabric does change a little with sunlight, despite being lined and interlined.

3. Don't skimp on interlining.
Unless you want a deliberately floaty appearance to your curtains, it's absolutely worth forking out for good quality interlining. This is a layer of blanket-like material which is sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining. Interlining creates a feeling of additional richness and weight to the curtains that can't be imitated.

4. Choose lining colour carefully.
Although it may look beautiful from outside your window, if your lining is too bold, it may show through, affecting the appearance of the curtain fabric. Always, always test!

5. Pick good quality blackout lining for bedrooms.
Cheap-as-chips blackout lining is a false economy as it can start to peel, which looks ugly and stops its effectiveness. Not good!

6. Ensure the pattern matches across both curtains.
If your curtains are patterned, make sure the pattern falls at the same position on each curtain. A mis-match would look awful, of course, but a completely precise match is what to aim for.

7. Choose an appropriate header.
We've used a simple metal track here to prevent too much light getting in when the curtains are closed, as it keeps the curtain next to the wall, so we kept the pleat very simple too. This finish is called a pencil pleat but, if you want something fancier, there are plenty of options. In general, the grander the window, and the smarter the pole, the larger the header should be.

8. Add weights to corners.
Another trick for adding a feel of sumptuousness to your curtains is to add purpose-made weights to the corner of each curtain. These are sewn in, so aren't visible, but help the fabric to drape delightfully without pulling.

9. Check how the curtain will look when pushed back. 
Curtains spend as much of the time open as they do drawn so remember to see at how your fabric looks when it's fully pleated. In our girls bedroom, Cabbages and Roses Hatley still looks super-pretty when the girls draw the curtains in their bedroom each morning.

10. Tie in your fabric with the rest of the room.
In particular, ask yourself, 'how does it combine with the other soft furnishings?' and 'how does it combine with the walls?' There's no use having gorgeous fabric, if the rest of the room doesn't act as a foil to enhance its loveliness!

Have you checked out the Cabbages and Roses website? 
If you're looking for Modern Country fabric then you're in for a treat! 
Thoroughly recommended!

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Susan T said...

Utterly gorgeous. You have two very lucky little girls.

Stephanie said...

These are SO beautiful! I love these tips too!

Jenny said...

Good reminders. I'm getting ready to make curtains for my new apt. in Texas in November. I have a west Texas sun coming in my living room and bedroom. xo Jenny

Almost Precious said...

The curtains are dreamy. Looks like you did a lot of homework regarding curtains and drapes.

Years ago my mother (a professional seamstress) made custom made draperies for an interior decorating firm in Santa Barbara, California. I can remember her measuring the repeat of a pattern so that each drapery panel matched. She also took small lead weights, carefully wrapped them in a piece of white cotton, lining fabric and hand sewed them to each seam and each hem end.

Making draperies is no easy task, some of those bolts of fabric weighed well over 50 lbs. A panel of drapes that had lining and inner-lining sometimes took two people to carry. I can also recall her working until after midnight hand tacking pleats and around the edges and hemline. So now whenever I see beautiful custom made draperies I always think of the dedicated crafts person that made them. :)

dornrös*chen living now said...

dear sarah,
what a surprise & what a joy that you had a look at my blog and that you like it!
thank you so much for compliments!
your girls-rooms really look cosy and sweet.
also i like your edwardian house, im longing to see more if its beauty...
wish you a lucky time with your sweet family!
lovely greetings,

heather @ new house, new home, new life said...

Thanks for visiting my little blog project, Sarah, and leaving such a sweet comment. Your blog is terrific - I'm following via email now! Looking forward to getting to know you better.

Cindy said...

Great point and those wt's are beautiful!
Hugs, Cindy

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

I really like the fabric -- so light and pretty. Perfect for the girls' room!

Jenni said...

Oh, the curtains are gorgeous! I love your choice! :) I paid close attention to everything you said in this post, because when it comes to curtains I can get a tad bit overwhelmed! Thank you for taking the time to write this, and show us more photos of the room! :)

I hope you have a lovely Tuesday, Sarah!


Anonymous said...

That fabric is perfect. Love me a bit of C&R.

Thank you for sharing these pointers.


Dorset Finca said...

Gorgeous curtains! I'm having a bit of a Roman Blind obsession at the moment. I have Cabbages and Roses and Busby & Busby swatches draped all over the place! x

Paula said...

Love, love, LOVE this fabric! I've got it littered around my house in various guises and colour ways - I've slowly managed to 'train' my husband into accepting faded florals placed subtly around the house - I don't think that he's even noticed yet - ha ha!
Your daughter' room looks fabulous - absolutely perfect!
Pula xxx

Selene said...

love your blog and your tips!


Connie in Hartwood said...

How timely is this! I am scheming a project to make drapes for my dining room and family room, and I am considering most of the tips you have here. I love the fabric you chose for your drapes ... the girls' room is beautiful. All your careful considering of decisions is obvious in your beautiful result.

Anonymous said...

So, so beautiful. I want those curtains! Off to Cabbages and Roses I go!


Teresa said...

thank you very much for these tips! i would have never thought of most of them the next time i go curtain shopping!

can you give us some tips when buying towels?!


Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Wow... I never even considered some of these ideas. This post is pretty complete with information.

...and those curtains are so lovely and delicate. Making for a pretty girls room. (or a pretty girl's room). :) Pat

Anne said...

What excellent info! esp the tip about holding the fabric up to the light.

chris said...

It's so fun to see the process you have been through as you made this next for your daughters. The curtains are lovely.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Oh these curtains are fabulous! Thanks for all of the tips on getting the perfect curtains.

Have a great week, Elizabeth

Lydia said...

Curtains are such a lost art. Thank you for giving them their lovely "due".

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

The fabric and drapes are just gorgeous Sarah!!

Robynne's Nest said...

Love your choice of fabric Sarah...I have a lounge full of C&R cushions, including the hatley all in the charcoal colour way...but I'm always longing for some of the other colours too...they are all so beautiful...Robx

Shasa said...

So so beautiful looking those are! Yeah, the perfect fabrics can make your decor element more lovely looking and attractive. I read the ten tips you focused on step by step thoroughly and found this fantastic. Love your all the stuff. Wanted to grab some ideas on cheap shower curtains for our bathroom. But happy to get through your amazing tips and guidelines.

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