CHALLENGE: You are an expert in the drapery business, I was wondering if you would answer some questions for me?
I ordered four pairs of draperies from a decorator. When the draperies
came they were wrinkled so I told her I wanted them professionally
steamed. She sent over someone who did the job. However, the draperies
still do not hang right. The draperies were self-lined. When are
draperies self-lined? Are there times when they shouldnít
be self-lined? I feel that they should have had regular drapery
lining and maybe then they would have hung correctly. Is this true?
I would appreciate any and all help you could give me.
SOLUTION: We all learn
daily about this profession, and I always keep an open mind. I will
try to answer your questions in a professional response.
The term self-lined is defined as a custom drapery, usually including
swags and cascades, having the same fabric on the face as on the
back of the custom treatment. Because a swag and cascade usually
can be seen from all sides, self-lining is the answer.
This does not mean that all custom draperies must be self-lined.
This is more of an aesthetic decision from the designer or decoratorís
point of view. When self-lining, you need to be careful and determine
first if the fabric is compatible for self-lining. In other words,
how does the fabric perform? Is it the right weight to be considered
for self-lining? For many heavier fabrics it might not be the correct
Fabricators refer to the hand of the fabric as the fabricís
softness or stiffness to the human touch. Lightweight fabrics are
considered as having a soft hand. An example might be a lace. Medium
weight fabrics, such as antique satins, could be considered as having
a medium hand. These fabrics hang well as a window treatment. Heavier
fabrics, usually for upholstered furniture, are considered as having
a stiff hand and are not appropriate for draperies. They will not
In reference to your particular problem, because I do not know the
exact type of fabric, it may or may not be compatible for self-lining
and steaming might have made the problem worse! Remember that steam
is made from water and water shrinks particular fabrics. Usually
a professional installer will spray a chemical that will relax the
wrinkles in a fabric and not harm it in any way. The result is the
wrinkles will disappear. This is performed quite frequently in professional
There are other issues to be aware of when it comes to liningóregardless
of whether the fabric is self-lined or lined with some other lining
fabric. If in doubt, you need to ask the professional workroom or
decorator who is working on the job: Was the proper lining chosen
for the window location? If the window receives direct sun, is there
a lining on the drapery that will protect the window treatment,
the interior furniture and textiles from the harmful effect of the
sunrays? There are certain types of lining fabric available that
will perform in a manner that protects from fading and harmful rays
of the sun. There also are window film products (applied to the
glass) that can do the same.
Editor's note: This is a continuing series of articles written
by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions
we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions
Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question
you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential
and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty
member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured
in numerous books and publications.