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Understanding voile fabric and when to use it

I know what you’re thinking – “What is James doing writing about the solo piano compositions from Claude Debussy’s first book of music preludes?!” – I don’t mean THOSE types of Voiles silly! Happens every time! No, I’m talking about the very lovely lightweight-woven-fabric-usually-made-of-100%-cotton-or-cotton-blends-including-linen-or-polyester types of voiles fabric.

Voiles - meaning of the term

Voile is a French word literally meaning veil, and they are so named due their light and pretty nature as well as their semi opaque sheen.  The fabric is mostly used in soft furnishings like throws in luxury bedding sets or behind curtains here in Britain and as full length window treatments and mosquito nets in more temperate countries.

As more old fashioned net curtains lost popularity in the 1990s, voiles began to replace them. Better technology meant more sophisticated weaves became much more widely available, and intricately detailed voiles began to stake a real claim in the fashion stakes. Today voiles are just as widely used as any other type of curtains- as with every other European mainland trend- we got there in the end!

Voiles in the summer

At this time of year Voiles are a fantastic way to add a bright and breezy summertime ambience to your home. Not only is actual fabric itself light and playful, but they allow lots of sunlight to come flooding into your home whilst still maintaining some privacy nosy neighbours who, let’s face it, will take a peek if the opportunity presents itself.

There are lots of different pattern types and most of them carry an aptly summery theme with much of the imagery being made up of things like fruit, wildlife, sun motifs or floral designs. These patterns work fantastically well against classic revival themed rooms like Victorian, Edwardian or Art Nouvaeu.

Fans of more modern styles can still make great use of Voiles as they can also be purchased plain or with more contemporary patterns such as geometric designs or circles. Set in a minimal white scene plain or sheer voiles really add to the understated elegance, and when included in the increasingly popular industrial style home they can bring some much needed softness to give the scheme balance and harmony.

Voiles in many colours

The latest development for voile curtains has seen their range of colours increase rather dramatically. Most people think of net style curtains as being solely available in white but nowadays everything from pitch black to burnt orange is available, which is fantastic news for window dressing. Many of which are also available as lined voile curtains.

Besides making full use of the huge range of patterns and shades available to you, further individuality can attained for your window treatments by the way that you hang them. A more whimsical approach can be taken by scrunching up your voiles prior to hanging them.

This crinkled effect looks amazing when used in a boho or shabby chic setting. Another option is to pick up some matching or contrasting tiebacks to draw back your voiles into a dramatic sweep either across (in the case of a single voile) or down either side (in the case of a pair) of your window to create a classic period style look for your window.

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