4 Tips for sucess with silk - Misc. AU
4 Tips for sucess with silk

4 Tips for sucess with silk

Silk is probably the most glorious fabric in the whole gallery of wonderful textiles, and it is sad that so many people are wary of using it, especially as it is a natural fibre.

Words by IconRadford

All fabrics – linens, cottons, polyesters, silks, wools – will fade and sustain damage when installed without adequate protection from UV. However good quality making and advice about UV protection makes it possible to make and install silk with confidence. When correctly made up by workrooms that know what they are doing, silk looks wonderful and gives a room a lustre like nothing else.

Designers Guild has always shown beautiful vibrant silks, and Marvic has more classic versions – all of which deserve to be used and loved by their owners. Here are the essentials for success in high UV environments like New Zealand and Australia (it’s worth noting that NZ’s UV is even higher than Au’s)

  1. We suggest you do not put silk where the face of the curtains or the blinds is not adequately protected from direct sunlight.
  2. The best way to protect any furnishings is to have UV protective screen applied to the windows. Transparent solutions, installed by good applicators will not darken the room or change the colour of the glass. They are essential to protect all furnishings and upholstery. Ask around and find out who does the best job in your location.
  3. Silk must be very well lined. If the look is more formal, interlining , plus a substantial outer lining should be used. For a less formal look, use a substantial lining – either something like Calozzo or a good quality heavy curtain lining, and make sure the curtains can be stacked back well off the windows. For roman blinds we would always suggest interlining as well as lining for a tailored look. For looser, more casual looking blinds, use a heavy curtain lining which drapes well
  4. Allow for extra width on curtains, so that if there is any damage to the leading edges of the curtains, this can be removed without making the curtains too small for the track.

Some case studies

  1. Possibly the worst example of poor manufacturing of silk curtains I have seen was an indigo dupion silk which had been lined with a thin polycotton only. The owners contacted me for advice and I visited their house to view the problem. They could not afford to replace them, so we relined them with interlining and a good thermal lining, cut away the worst damage and reinstalled them. Not only did they look better than the originals - as far as I know they are still doing the job.
  2. We had silk curtains in two rooms in our house for around 20 years. One set had the leading edges repaired after about 15 years and the others which were a dupion silk, were still in very good condition when we sold the house after 20 years.
  3. A few years ago, we had a fading issue in a house by a lake. The same fabric was used throughout the house, but in one room it faded badly. After testing for UV levels, we discovered that the renovated house had one window of very old glass from the 1950’s, while all the new glass which had UV protection was performing well.
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