What Comes First, Fabric or Design?

During my course Communicating Successful Drapery Design I speak about the importance of function coming before design. This is mostly true for commercial treatments as compared to residential treatments where sometimes form trumps function.

historical drapery

          In the selection of fabrics what should come first? Should you select the fabric before the design or settle on the design and then find a suitable fabric?

          Actually you can go either way. If after careful consideration of function you select a design it is then logical to then select a fabric that works. Or, you may have a fabric you love and you want to design the treatment around that perfect fabric.  Let’s take a look at what you may consider when you are choosing fabrics for Roman Shades and SnapPleat Drapery.

Roman Shades

          When deciding upon fabric for a Roman Shade you need to consider the different styles. Below are the most common “constructed” Roman Shades:
constructed roman shades resized 600

The Constructed Roman Shades refers to the ribs inserted into the lining on the reverse side. I like to use this type of Roman for commercial applications because of its reliability in lifting and lowering. The unconstructed (below) Roman may require “dressing” in the pleats which would be undesirable in a commercial application.

unconstructed roman resized 600

          Let’s get back to the fabric. When choosing for this type of treatment you can see that the surface is mostly flat. The Balboa on the far right is the exception. So you may want to consider patterns that look well on the finished treatment. Stripes look especially nice on the Balboa Design. Be aware of patterns that may get lost in the pleats of the Pacifica or the Carmel. Of course solid fabrics do not have the same concerns as prints.

SnapPleat Drapery

Selecting fabrics for the SnapPleat Drapery is not too difficult. The fabric hand should be flowing. The “S” shape design works best with a soft hand.

          That is why sheers work best with the SnapPleat Drapery. With sheers the treatment  looks good from both sides which is great for interior window treatments. You can also use double layers of sheers which creates interesting effects when the light shines through.

          Other suitable fabrics can be just about any drapery fabric. It’s best not to select fabrics that have a “stiff” hand as this would not work well with the function of the treatment.

SnapPleat Drapery

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