Recently I was asked by a new client to quote on curtains and Roman blinds using a pure linen fabric recommended by his Interior Designer. Now the fabric chosen was a gorgeous Belgian linen with quite an open weave in white. Looking at the modern apartment for which it was intended, I knew it could look absolutely sensational.
However, after asking a number of pertinent questions, it became apparent that perhaps the selected fabric may not have been the ideal solution. Firstly, the client wanted thermal protection from the Western sun across two huge six metre floor to ceiling windows. Although these windows already had sunscreen roller blinds on them, it was evident that irreversible damage and fading was already appearing on the timber floors and furniture. What the client needed was a fully lined window covering that would offer full protection from the harsh UV damaging rays, as well as some thermal protection to cool down the living areas.
The second issue related to the smaller windows at the sides that the Interior Designer wanted to be covered in Roman blinds. I agreed they would be a great style alternative and would also work in well with the curtains on the bigger windows.
My biggest issue became the choice of fabric. Being a natural fibre, linen is not necessarily a stable fabric. When you wear linen clothing, it can crease considerably and be difficult to launder… often requiring heavy handed pressing to remove further creases. Also, many linens can drop and therefore, in the case of curtains, quite often be a different length from the day they are installed. Lastly, linen is not a great fabric for Roman blinds. Roman blinds are generally fully lined and have horizontal battens every 30cm or so to support it as it rises and falls in operation, but quite often this is simply not enough to support the uncertainty of many natural fabrics.
My suggestion to the client was to select an alternative fabric containing a percentage of polyester to give it stability and hopefully less creasing. Although many would baulk at the thought of introducing a man made fibre, polyester content will allow my client to have his curtains and Romans not only stable and crease free, but be easier to care for and last longer in the harshness of the western Aussie sun.
I expect that many Designers will disagree with my opinion in this matter, but I have learned from bitter experience the anomalies of many 100% natural fibres in some specific circumstances. Even if the client states that creasing doesn’t worry them, or they are not concerned with uneven hems or ‘dropping’, I know that they are always disappointed when those very things actually happen on their window coverings. Better for me to avoid these issues and offer sound professional advice and an alternative that hopefully satisfies the look the client wants to achieve together with the practicality that prevents complaints in the future.