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Guide: Demystifying Custom Made Curtains

Guide-Custom-Made-Curtains

Why would anyone buy custom made curtains you might wonder? What’s even the difference between having a pair of curtains made and buying a pair off the shelf? Why are they more expensive?

Having worked in a Hickeys shop for more years than I care to let on I am fully equipped to answer these questions! Or at least I hope I am. In my opinion there’s 3 real reasons why anyone would go to the bother of getting Custom Made Curtains:

1: The size issue – Sometimes you might just have an odd sized window and cannot buy standard readymade curtains in your size. This is probably the reason most people buy custom made in the first place as not only can you have curtains made to the exact dimensions you need but if you’re really struggling, you can book an appointment to have a fitter do the measurements for you!

Curtains can also be made to suit odd shaped windows not just outsized ones, making custom made the only real choice for apex, dormer or sash windows.

2: Quality _ Although readymades have improved drastically over the years there’s still nothing like the quality of Custom Made Curtains! The fabric! The finish! Readymades are mass produced in a factory. Your custom made curtains are made for YOU with care and attention by a single maker from start to finish. Basically once you go custom you’ll never go back.

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3: Choice – And I do mean choice, custom really means custom. This is really where custom made comes into it’s own, choosing your fabric is only the start, and that’s no easy choice when there’s so many gorgeous ones out there. You can even add some quirky cool trim like the one above, make your curtains as unique as you!

So let’s talk about the choices you’ll be faced with when going custom

Fabric:

  • First it’s important to consider the setting – do you want a more formal sateen type fabric for your elegant living room or a breezy, fresh printed cotton for your kitchen?
  • Next the colours - be bold with pattern and colour but always pick something that you can live with long term. Custom made curtains really last and hopefully you’ll be looking at them for a very long time. We’ve had customers come back to us after 15 years with perfect curtains, so pick something you’ll love and can work accessories around to give you a new look.
  • If they’re in a high traffic area you may want to look for washable fabrics, your custom made curtains will generally have to be dry cleaned but a washable fabric can be spot cleaned if damaged

Staff instore will be happy to give you fabric samples so you can look at them in setting and really make sure you’re making the right decision

Heading:

You will get to choose what your curtains will look like at the top, the heading you pick will also depend on what type of rail/pole you have

  • Pencil pleat – the most basic type of curtain heading, good for curtains if you need them to be washable as they are made with a washable tape on top. No other custom made curtains are washable as they are made with a stiffener on top which goes limp if wet
  • Eyelets, a more modern look, using slightly less fabric so gives a cleaner aesthetic
  • French Pleat – Probably the most popular heading in custom mades as it gives a very elegant look, yet also suits a more modern aesthetic as they sit nice and crisp in pleats down the length of the curtain
  • Open goblet/Goblet – These are basically a version of the french pleat, in which the top is stuffed to make a round shape rather than a pleat. These lend themselves to a more formal/ traditional setting. Best styled with tie backs to drape the curtains off the window when not closed.
  • Tab tops – A very informal heading, suitable for light – medium weight fabrics only. These have less fabric than the other headings and look good in the likes of a children’s room or kitchen when you want a simpler look.

Lining:

You can choose curtain linings for any number of reasons, both practical and impractical. Curtains can be very functional for blocking light or keeping the heat in, or maybe you just want them to look really plush. Here’s the options:

  • Sateen – a good basic lining, helps protect the fabric against fading and looks good on any fabric where you don’t want a specialist finish
  • Thermal – a fairly lightweight lining with thermal properties to keep you room cosy and protects from drafts
  • Blackout – does multi tasking as it blocks the light and is great for keeping a room cosy
  • Sateen fleece – entry level interlining basically, it has a light layer of fleece added to a lining to give your curtains a plush look
  • Bonded interlining/Blackout Bonded interlining – these have a layer of wadding added to a regular lining or blackout lining as you choose. They add a plush look to your curtains, but are most suitable for fabrics that are a little stiffer due to the way they drape.
  • Interlining – The ultimate in curtain lining, your curtain is made in 3 layers; fabric, interlining and lining (usually sateen). The look is really plush and drapes really well. This adds a gorgeous finish to lighter fabrics like silks.

Finish:

Your curtains will be machine sewn, custom made (a mix of machine and hand sewn) or entirely hand stitched. Which one of these options you go for will usually depend on the type of fabric and lining you choose. Though hand stitched will give the neatest finish, with there being little to no visible stitching on your curtains.

Hopefully that answers some questions you might have about going custom. I personally feel that custom is an antidote to the “fast fashion” we’re all subjected to these days. It’s about choosing something you love and will love for years to come because you know they’ll look as good in 10 years as they did the day you hung them.

If you’re interested in going custom or want to get an idea of cost get in touch with one of our expert staff in your nearest store.

Laura

I started working for Hickeys when I was only 16 and my love affair with all things fabric, textiles and crafts began!! I always have some project on the go (even if they don't always get finished), and after 17 years in the business I'm still learning new things all the time from fellow staff and amazing customers!

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