Curtain Fabrics Trends – Linen and Cotton Fabrics
Cotton and linen have been among the most popular fabrics for curtains for as long as curtains have been in use in the home. For the past 40 years or so, however, they had been somewhat eclipsed by all the new synthetic fabrics on the market. These synthetic fabrics eliminated the disadvantages of cotton and linen while allowing for a wider range of fabric weights, designs and sheens. However, as consciousness has been raised about the damage the industrial age has done to the environment, people are turning back to cotton and linen for their window treatments in record numbers.
Synthetic fabrics are almost all made from petroleum, which as we all now know, is a resource that has become limited. Not only is it a finite resource, but there is a lot pollution that is created as a by-product of producing the cheap synthetic fabrics. The plants that manufacture the synthetic fabrics emit huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air, water and soil surrounding the plants. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that most synthetics are simply not as durable as the natural cotton and linen fabrics. Curtains need to stand up to the sun, temperature extremes and normal use – for that you need fabrics that will hold up and last a long time.
Both cotton and linen are natural fiber fabrics, woven from fibers from the cotton and flax plants. This means that both fabrics are very breathable, meaning that air can circulate easily, a very good quality in a curtain fabric. Both fibers can be woven in varying size threads so that the resulting fabric woven from the threads may be very thin and fine to a heavier, denser fabric. This gives quite a variety when it comes to choosing the fabric for your window treatments.
Cotton is a very inexpensive fabric so will be easy on the budget but is still available in almost any color or pattern you can think of. Not usually a heavy weight material, cotton curtains can be easily lined to enhance the thermal and light-blocking abilities, if you choose. Many people like the thinner, unlined cotton curtains because they screen out unwanted eyes but still allow a lot of the natural light into the room. Cotton is quite durable and can be easily laundered in the home washer. If hung while still damp, you can eliminate the need to iron as the weight of the wet fabric will pull out any creases or wrinkles that may form.
Linen is a more expensive fabric but with good reason. Properly cared for linen curtains will last for generations and can actually be even more beautiful with age. The fibers in the fabric will grow softer and have an increasing luster as they are used and repeatedly washed. Linen is one of the most durable fabrics, pieces of it having been found thousands of years old. This durability may be a result of the natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of the linen fibers.