Drape is a generalized term referring to fine fabrics or materials woven of different fibers. In the context of drapery, it can also refer to that trade of selling retail textile materials, usually originally for clothes, now primarily conducted by draperies usually for curtains. The term has developed so as to parallel the generic term “drape.” The primary difference between the drapery and other retail fabrics is that it is used in much larger quantities and as a result, is often more expensive than other similar fabrics, such as fine cotton and silk.
There are several types of drapery; the most popular is the so-called vertical drapery or vertical pleated drapery. Vertical drapery occurs when the bottom edge of the fabric, typically cotton, is drawn up and then tacked to a backing or curtain rod. This is usually achieved with a combination of hot and cold criss-cross technique. Other common forms include the French pleated and the zebra pleated drapery styles. The so-called streaked drapery, which is basically a vertical pleated drapery made with a horizontal stripe of black yarn on the lower half of the fabric, is very popular in the U.S. today, especially in the South.
Regardless of the type of drapery selected, the fabric or material should be well-known and well-used. The fabric should be easy to wash and relatively easy to locate. This is because one might want to change the drapery style as frequently as possible in different settings, such as seasonal celebration such as holidays, wedding ceremonies and family gatherings. A fabric that is difficult to find or to maintain can also cause discomfort because of constant cleaning.
Another common problem with drapery designs is called the “pinching”. This occurs when the drapery appears to grow in an upward direction, but it eventually snaps down when pressure is applied. Commonly caused by wrong sizing or wrong folding styles, the pinch drapery can be fixed by simply adjusting the fabric used, but it may require some alteration in the rod that holds the drapery up. The best solution for fixing this problem is to purchase a fabric that is slightly larger than needed to avoid the “pinching”.
Some problems might arise from the fact that draperies are often installed in spaces where they are not strong enough. For example, metal rods are sometimes used to support heavy velvet drapes. However, metal is very heavy, which could cause tension in the drapery style. It could be much better to use thinner rods and avoid metal installation altogether. In addition, some fabrics, including some polyester, can be somewhat slippery. A thin drape could slip easily if the bottom of the drapery style is not secured properly.
When decorating with drapery, the overall appearance of the room must be given great importance. Not only must the fabric and drapery colors be harmonious and complementary, but the curtains themselves should also look pleasing. As a rule, the simplest styles are the most popular, and are the first items to be noticed. For example, a simple straight pattern without any frills or decorations is usually the most pleasing to the eye. Sometimes, depending on the tastes of the homeowners, some of these basic styles can be combined with more elaborate designs to provide a bit of extra flair.