A Glossary of Curtain Patterns From Stripes to Plaid

From chintz to check, trying to decipher (let alone choose) among the multitudes of curtain patterns is enough to drive almost anyone mad. Here are a handful of the most popular prints used in curtains patterns:

Brocade is a popular pattern typically used in formal settings. Woven on a jacquard loom, brocade is characterized by a raised design, usually floral, on a flat surface of cotton, silk or wool. Available in medium to thick weights, brocade comes in any color.

Calico generally describes any type of cotton fabric printed with a simple, small repeating floral pattern. Calico is generally considered to be an inexpensive fabric pattern.

Chintz describes a cotton fabric that features various multicolored patterns (floral is quite common) on a lighter colored background. Chintz is glazed for its characteristic smooth shiny finish.

Damask is one of the most prevalent curtain patterns; similar to brocade, damask also incorporates a raised pattern and flat background though is somewhat thinner and more pliable than heavy brocade.

Dotted Swiss involves a repeating polka dot pattern of three dimensional dots; this effect is accomplished by embroidering or weaving on the pattern. Sometimes the dots are simply pasted to the surface.

Embroidery is where a needle threaded with thick embroidery thread (also called floss) is passed repeatedly through a slightly stiffer fabric to achieve a desired design. Typically created by hand, less expensive versions are machine made.

Fleur de lis is one of the most traditional curtain patterns available. This familiar pattern repeats the stylized ‘fleur de lis’ or three petal flower over and over again on any type of fabric. This design is frequently executed in a damask or brocade style of weaving and is usually done in light colored thread on a darker colored background.

Gingham is a plain, light colored cotton or synthetic fabric checked with a darker second color. Gingham is commonly seen in country inspired d�©cor, making it a popular material for kitchens.

India Print describes a curtain pattern where inked blocks are hand pressed onto cotton fabric to impart a desired design.

Matelasse is similar to brocade and damask; however, unlike these two curtain patterns, matelasse is woven with two sets of warp, leaving the raised design slightly puckered and unfinished looking.

Natural weaves mimic the fibers of hemp, burlap and jute. Natural weave cotton is purposefully left rough or unfinished, resulting in a fabric similar to canvas.

Paisley describes a multicolored pattern of swirling, repeating shapes. Paisley can be printed on any fabric though it is most common on thin cotton and synthetic weaves.

Plaid involves a number of different colors combined in a grid-like pattern. Plaid often appears on thicker fabrics such as cotton or wool.

Tapestry described a richly textured curtain pattern where each stitch appears to have been individually made. Tapestries used to be sewn by hand although today much less expensive versions are typically machine-made.

Ticking is a vertically striped fabric incorporating a pattern of darker stripes on a light background. Ticking is named after the printed fabric traditionally used to cover mattresses.

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