Voile curtains are some of the nicest window curtains you can hang in your home, as they provide the lightest covering possible. Their main quality is that they are translucent, just opaque enough to give you some privacy during the day time, while letting in plenty of light to prevent your room becoming gloomy. They are useful for filtering out some sunlight, however on the sunniest side of your home during the summer. It is as if the sun shines through a slight light filter to give you some respite.
The word “voile” comes from the French words for veil and covering and just as a bride might wear a veil to signal elegance, beauty and grace as well as purity, voile net curtains can be used to imply those characteristics. They are generally used to give a romantic or intimate feeling to a room, at least that is the case with white voile curtains.
Although you might think of a veil as being always white or cream, voile curtain panels are sold in all colors of the rainbow.
The brighter shades such as hot pink, orange and purple voile curtains are ideal in rooms with a far eastern style especially from those cultures such as those of India where jewel-like colors are favored. The pastel shades and ice cream colors are great in the nursery. Try voile sheers with matching blue or pink gingham curtains.
Plain cotton voile curtains are the most common style of voile panel, although your may find the most exquisite silk and embroidered voile curtains for sale too. Of course, you will have to pay more for a silk voile curtain panel and unfortunately, you will also find that fine silk curtains are easily damaged and subject to shredding over the years when exposed to strong sunlight, so you cannot expect them to last long.
Voile Curtain Headings
There is not such a variety of headings available for voile panels as you might find with normal curtain panels. You will find that they may be hung as usual from a rod using hooks however or have a casement heading through which you thread the rod. This gives voiles curtains a wonderful fullness which suits their character. However, in a more contemporary environment, these curtains also work well with tab tops, and delicate tie tops are fine for a romantic room. Although pencil pleats, pinch pleats or goblet headings also create a full gathered effect, you cannot use them with sheer voile curtains as the fabric is too flimsy to hold the design.
Voile Curtain Styles
Voile curtains are usually used as a layer under heavier curtains especially in winter so that the room is warm and remains private when illuminated in the evening. They may also be used alone however if the room is neither overlooked nor cold.
Although the gathered style is usually used with voile curtains, you may also find voile panel curtains where the fabric is used in a single or double layer and attached to wooden battens at the top and bottom of the window to create a smooth paneled look or where it is gathered top and bottom onto wires across a window or the glass in a door. Some curtains are gathered to one side in an asymmetric way and some in the center using a ribbon or tie back. Voile lends itself so well to styling as it is light to work with. You may also find a voile curtain used as a scarf valance across the top of a window. You simply drape the curtain artistically over a drapery rod fixed there for the purpose.
Voile is generally a smooth fabric however you can also buy crushed or crinkle voile curtains which have a beautiful textured effect. This is particularly effective with solid colored and non-embellished curtains which might otherwise appear a bit flat.
Although in most cases voile is used for its translucent qualities you may also find lined voile curtains. In this case the lining shines through the voile and can give a beautiful two tone effect and a more solid substantial feel to the curtains.
Layered voile curtains are another way to make voile drapes less translucent, this time while still keeping the floaty quality of the fabric intact. Simply hang several different voile curtains from multiple rods or wires one alongside the other using complementary curtain colors and styles. This is feasible because of the lack of bulkiness in voile and the thinness of rods or wires which can be used for hanging the curtains.
If you are looking for new window treatments, you will be thinking about window curtains, valances and perhaps other kinds of draperies. Even when you look at simple curtain panels, there are many choices. Here are the criteria to help you decide between all the options you have open to you when you choose them.
Lined or Unlined
If you would like a simple curtain panel made of thin lighter colored fabric and you want the light to filter through a little, it is fine to go for unlined curtains. Panels made of bold, dark or heavier fabric or where the reverse of the fabric is unattractive, should be lined with coordinating plain fabric. If you are using delicate fabric such as silk, which is easily damaged by UV light, then interlining (a layer between the lining and the main fabric should also be used. If your curtains panel does not have lining, you can hang a separate lining to cut out more light or add warmth in winter. Thermal and blackout linings are often sold separately for this purpose and mean you do not need to use insulated curtain panels all year round.
Custom Curtain Panels or Ready Made
If you buy ready made curtain panels you can buy your curtains and have them hanging at your windows in no time. One problem is that they are only available in standard sizes which is not ideal if your windows are not standard. Ready made curtains are generally available in 84″, 96″ and 108″ lengths, which suit most windows, however, and widths vary between 46″ and 56″. If you have wider windows, you can buy more panels. Curtains need to be wider than windows, in any case, to allow for gathering. (See section on curtain headers). Some panel curtains are sold individually, so you can buy as many or as few panels as you need, while others come in pairs. Another problem with ready made panels is that you will have far less choice in fabric and designs than if you go the custom route so if you want the best choice or something unique look for companies which offer a custom curtain making service.
Natural or Synthetic Fabric
Synthetic fabrics are generally easier to care for and curtains can be washed without fear of shrinking. Cotton is the most common natural fabric used for curtain panels, although you will also find silk curtain panels and panels in wool or linen. With the natural fibers take care to follow laundering instructions carefully. You may find that fabrics shrink during the first laundering, even if they are washable, so you have to allow for shrinkage of up to 10% when buying if you plan to wash your curtains.
Solid or Patterned Fabrics
Many resort to solid color curtain panels as these are more readily available ready made and tend to be cheaper. However, you can make more of an impression with patterned curtain panels, especially if the colors are perfectly coordinated with the rest of the room. Unfortunately this generally means buying curtains and choosing a color scheme around them, as it is pretty difficult tracking down curtains to fit with an existing color scheme, unless it is fairly simple and uses common color combinations. If you buy plain curtain panels and want to decorate them to match your room, see 7 Ideas for Plain Window Curtain Panels. If you do choose a solid color, you can add interest with texture : velvet curtain panels, linen curtains or slubbed fabrics are great for this
Curtain Panel Headers
Curtain headers vary almost as much as fabrics and different headers are suitable for different purposes. The most common you will find are rod pocket headers. A rod pocket is an open slot at or towards the top of the curtain through which you can slot the drapery rod (or decorative pole if the pocket is wide enough). There may be a ruffle above the header or it may be at the very top of the curtain. A rod pocket at the top of the curtain is the heading generally used where the top of the curtain panel will be covered with a valance. You could also have a gathered curtain heading using heading tape which you stitch towards the top of the curtain and pull the tape threads to make the gathers. You can buy curtain heading tape to make pencil pleats, triple pleats or goblet pleats or you can stitch these pleats by hand. These types of headings are used on more formal curtains or on the headings for valances and are attached using hooks to a curtain rail. Other common heading types are
- tab top curtain panels where fabric loops are attached to the top of the curtain and the rod or pole passed through them
- Eyelet curtains, which are curtain panels, which have holes reinforced with large grommets, through which the curtain rod or pole is passed
- Tie top curtains which have ties at intervals along the curtain panel top and are tied to the pole.
- Ring clips. If you just want to use plain rectangles of fabric you can avoid any fuss at all by using ring clips attached at intervals along the top of the curtain panels and then thread the rings onto the rod.
Quality or Cheap Curtain Panels
Quality is always a good idea if you want your curtains to hang well and look good at your windows. Some things to look out for to determine quality are substantial fabric and good straight stitching as well as weighted hems, hand stitched pleats and lining. Of course, it is different if you are looking for voile curtain panels. Voile or sheer curtain panels are meant to be thin and insubstantial. Then you might look for hand rolled hems and fabric without faults. The same is true of lace curtain panels. If you want quality curtains that are not too expensive look for discount curtain panels rather than those which are low cost but which also look cheap. You will find many curtain panels with discount and free shipping HERE.