Classic Sheer Curtain Fabrics

Fabrics are the most versatile, effectual and efficient methods used in introducing colour, aesthetics, patterns and texture into any home’s interior. Traditionally, and even till this day, soft sheer curtain fabrics are mainly textiles woven with the popular standard weave. These fabrics have a ‘smooth flow’, are lightweight and soft, with many appearing as sheer, gauze like or as silky see-through fabrics.

As today’s textile market offers homeowners, designers, and decorators a vast array of types and styles of home decor fabrics, whether its classic, ‘mid way style’, or contemporary, its use, function, and technical aspects has (not surprisingly) become the most important consideration for selection.

Curtain fabrics for glass windows come in both natural fibres and manmade (synthetic) fibres, and fortunately in a wide price range that fits comfortably within anyone’s budget.

Classic Lightweight Curtain Fabrics

Basic to any sheer fabric is the spinning of its yarn and its construction.
It is these two elements which gives lightweight curtain fabrics their aesthetic personality.
Classic curtain fabrics include these unique and prestigious lightweight textiles.

  • Lace
  • Voile
  • Swiss
  • Marquisette
  • Fine Net
  • Pongee

Lace Fabrics

Lace is an openwork textile traditionally produced by the use of needles, pins or bobbins and the process of sewing, knitting, tatting (knotting) or crocheting.

Traditionally, real authentic lace was handmade. However in the late 18th century, machines were invented to replicate hand production of lace textiles.

Among the prime types used as home décor and curtain fabrics are:

  • Filet lace fabric which is embroidered on a net material.
  • Reticella. This is a type of lace with a combination of drawn and cut works.
  • Chantilly, with elaborate bobbin made patterns which make the ornament and fabric identical
  • Irish lace which is primarily woven as the crocheted variety.
  • Nottingham lace, a general term used for machine produced lace textiles. It’s a very affordable lace fabric produced by weaving in one continuous piece.

Voile Fabric

Voile is a light, soft and transparent sheer curtain fabric constructed of plain weave.
During the weaving process, hard twisted threads are used to make it strong and durable.
Voile can be produced using fibres of wool, cotton, silk or man-made threads and is generally piece dyed, stripped or figured. It makes durable and beautiful window curtains.

Swiss Materials

Popularly referred to as ‘Swiss’, this beautiful and very fine sheer cotton fabric was first produced in Switzerland, hence it’s being referred to as Swiss lace.
Swiss lace fabrics may come plain and simple, elaborately embroidered or patterned with dots or figures which are chemically applied during its weaving process.
Though this sheer fabric launders well, a good attribute for curtain materials; it however has a tendency to shrink slightly.


This fabric is a sheer cloth with gauze like characteristics it is woven in a leno weave, where pairs of warp yarns are sort of twisted around each other between picks of filler yarns which results in a net effect weave.

The fibres which are either of cotton, rayon, silk, nylon, glass, or wool, is usually twisted hard and tight in order to ensure a fabric with enhanced serviceability.
Marquisette fabrics make excellent curtains.

Fine Net

Net fabric is an open weave textile that comes in various types and styles. Traditionally, the popularly used net fabrics include the following:

  • Bobbinet machine produced nets, constructed with patterns of hexagonal thread meshes.
  • Dotted Swiss net, a fine mesh fabric woven with tiny dots at the mesh corners.
  • Filet net materials, square mesh netting used as a base or background for embroidery works. Some classic handmade varieties have knobs at the corners of meshes (synthetic man made net fabrics have no knots).
  • Maline net is constructed as diamond shaped yarn mesh.
  • Novelty nets are produced in a variety of stylish effects, and are mainly constructed using synthetic fibres.
  • Point d’Esprit nets, a variety of cotton constructed net with tiny dots scattered over its surface in a snowflake like effect.

Pongee Fabric

Pongee is a fabric made of plain weave using wild silk in its natural tan colour.
This fabric is very durable with an interesting but unusual texture.
Pongee is mostly used for draw curtains. Its name is derived from a corruption of Chinese words which simply imply “natural colour”.

Choosing the Right Curtain Fabric

Understanding how to choose and specify a textile is essential. Many furnishing fabrics are woven using either natural eco friendly fibres or manmade synthetic fibres, or a combination of both.

So for sheer curtain fabrics, whether a textile is durable and easy to maintain or not depends on the kind of fibre used, the manner in which it is spun and its fabric construction.