Silk Drapes - Silk Care
Types of silk to choose from
Silk drapes make some of the most beautiful curtains; even the word silk is synonymous with luxury. Used and admired in China since 3000 BC, silk is inarguably valuable; however, the fabric is also surprisingly versatile. Hang it thick and lined in rich colors such as burgundy or plum or drape a barely there sheer in front of a French window.
If you're interested in adorning your windows in silk, there are numerous varieties to choose from:
- Silk brocade is covered with a smooth, woven embossed design. It is usually thick and lined and adds a formal air.
- Silk charmeuse is a stiffer silk lined with crepe. Watermark silk is a type of silk charmeuse
- Chiffon is a sheer, light silk used for an airy look and can be paired with other drapes
- Italian Doupioni is a very fine silk used in expensive silk drapes and clothing
- Georgette silk is a blend between charmeuse and chiffon silk; its crinkled look is very popular in drapes
- Matelasse is covered with a raised woven design; however, the threads are without the same finish as used in silk brocade
- Raw silk is not shiny or 'finished' looking because the color is left slightly uneven
- Silk satin is woven with the smooth shiny finish of satin, lending an ornate look
Caring for your silk drapes
Even though it is a natural fiber and can be hand washed, silk requires a bit more care than other fabrics. In fact, silk cleaned by hand appears brighter and softer than silk that is dry cleaned. However, lesser quality silks tend to shrink and discolor when washed in water; washing your silk drapes may also change their texture. Tip: always wash a small section of the drapes first to check the material's reaction to water.
Special silk soaps can be quite costly; however, a number of fabric experts swear by simple store-bought powder detergents while others choose to use gentle shampoo. Either way, follow these simple steps for hand washing your drapes:
Begin by soaking the drapes in a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap
Rinse out the soap using cool, clean water
Fill the sink basin with cool water and one quarter cup of white vinegar; fabric experts say that a rinse in this solution removes any soap residue and restores the silk's natural sheen
Give the silk a final rinse in clean water.
Roll the drapes in a towel to remove excess moisture, which will cause the silk to buckle as it dries, then spread flat on a towel to dry
If the silk is wrinkled when still slightly damp, smooth it over with an iron set on a low temperature.