Today's Ask Melissa is the question I get asked most often:
What Fabric Types Are Inappropriate for Roman Shades?
The first, and one most often run into, is light weight quilter's cottons. While it is possible to make a roman shade out of quilter's cottons, I don't recommend it. They lay limp and flat and don't have much body. Here's how you know if you're looking at a quilter's cotton:
Quilter's cottons are typically defined by their weight and also their width. Their weight can be found on the side of the bolt on the label with the other details. You will find details like 44"/45" width, the weight may be anywhere from 3-6 oz per square foot, and the descriptive word will usually say, "Lightweight."
Pardon the "over the door" hanging on these pictures. They're from our early days before got pictures in from clients. ;)
Notice in the first image, the red hobbles shade as compared to the blue one. The red is a medium weight home décor fabric and the blue is a light weight quilter's cotton. The blue hobbled shade's pleats lay flat and it just looks boring. The red one looks much more full.
NOW, on home décor fabric. You should be looking for descriptions such as: medium weight, 6 oz- 10z per weight, or simply the description, "Home Décor Fabric." But not all home décor fabrics will produce the greatest shade. Silk, faux silk and sheer do not create the greatest looking shades.
The silks, faux silks and sheers are often lighter in weight or their weave does not allow for smooth topstitching. For the shade to operate correctly, we sew through all layers of fabric so that when the shade is pulled up, it all comes up together and forms the pleats. But in doing this with the lighter weights, the fabric tends to bunch under all the layers of material, as you can see in the images above.
The best looking roman shades are made from
Basket weave or burlap:
The most important things to look for are the weight, it should be medium weight or heavier; the width, appropriate fabrics are usually 54" wide or wider; and the type, the best fabric are made from cotton, polyester, linen, basket weave or burlap.
Please leave any questions you have here and we'll write about them in the upcoming weeks.