Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WEIGHT and TRANSLUCENCY of fabrics for curtains

Post 104   by Gautam Shah ➔

WEIGHT and TRANSLUCENCY of fabrics for curtains .

Weight and Translucency of a fabric are two key factors for its suitability as an opening’s treatment material. Though both are co-related in that a heavy fabric is more opaque, and a translucent fabric is likely to be lighter, yet many contradictions exist. For the favour of one aspect the other can be manipulated. The final determinants for suitability of a fabric material for covering an opening depend on Treatments over a fabric, mode of hanging and pleating, presence or absence of a liner layer and the secondary treatments over the opening itself.


Fabrics are light because the fibres are thin or can be spun very finely, are filaments or long staple in nature and woven with a single weave or similar techniques. Fabrics or fibres dyed to lighter shades seem less heavy. The illumination conditions of the interior space, and the viewing position in the interior or exterior location, substantially affect the perception of transparency. A bright exterior or one that allows greater proportion of ‘sky component reflection’ (the reflected light from the sky) such as on sea coast, very vast open grounds, on upper section of windows tall buildings, and very bright or highly a reflective frontage of urban streets, all contribute to the brightness of window-backside (an exterior side). A bright exterior side and a glare-less interior, both add to the translucency. A glare is less dominant, when areas besides the curtain are reasonably illuminated or furnished in lighter shades. A direct sun-light exposure of the window makes the curtain seem opaque (at least from outside).

The perception of transparency is governed by the construction of the curtain, such as pleats, fall, back-layering, and the direction of the weave. The natural form of the fabric for curtain forming is the warp forming the vertical orientation (and the weft the horizontal position). A curtaining system, called Rail-roading, places the fabric, with weft forming the vertical orientation (and warp the horizontal position), makes the fabric seem more opaque. Curtains are also formed with fabrics of two colours or textures. The central or edge sections are formed with lighter (or white) fabric, allowing more light, feeling of lightness and view-through facility. 

SHEERS: A sheer fabric is very thin material which make it very translucent. Sheer curtains are known as privacy curtains. Some of the best sheer fabrics are of pure silk, but most of the commercial materials are made of synthetic filament yarn (long length fibres). Lattices like airy or nett woven fabrics are so pliable, flimsy and semi-transparent that they behave like a sheer fabric curtain. A sheer fabric has a natural graceful fall and allows light to filter through. Sheer fabric curtains nominally form the first layer in multiple curtains system. Such curtains allow a fuzzy view during day time, but at night may require an opaque topping of a curtain. Sheer fabric must not be used with a lining fabric to maintain its translucency. Sheer fabrics come in a wide variety of colours, but white and natural shades of whites, such as off-whites, cream, and ivory are popular. Sheer fabrics are also embellished and embroidered for patterns. Such extra work, however, increases the weight of the fabric at the cost of graceful fall. Sheer fabrics are commonly heavily pleated and so the total quantity of cloth required for a sheer curtain is little more then a curtain of regular fabric. Sheer fabrics, due to their thin body and the lattice like weaves, offer very little insulation.

Historically translucent fabrics used for lighter curtains include Chintz, Cretonne, Gauze, Muslin, Nets or Netting.


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