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Sumptuous Fabrics | Design Ideas continued from page 103


coloured and make from sweepings, so that sometimes you will get a few threads of a rogue colour in the weave, all of which adds to its charm. It is also very reasonably priced. Silk also comes in many different textures depending on its weight and weave. Silk taffeta is very crisp, and is wonderful for unlined under curtains and for cushions. Jacquard silk will have a hint of pattern, and silk ottoman and twill are heavier with a completely different drape and feel. If your budget allows you can also fi nd some printed silks with wonderful colours and designs. Silk lends itself particularly well to slightly blurry designs, and again the clarity of colour you get with silks makes them stunning to look at. If you would like to use damask in your


home then again you have a wide choice of fabric yarns to choose from. Silk damask is the most wonderfully grand fabric. You tend to see it in traditional designs and colours – all the rich jewel shades, sapphire, emerald, ruby and gold. I have also used it in bronze shades and of course cream. You cannot get any grander than heavy silk damask curtains with swag and tail pelmets, fringed and trimmed, sweeping the fl oor and with decorative tassel tie backs. Of course, these would be completely inappropriate in a modest room with small windows, unless you are using vintage curtains, fading and fraying at the edges as part of a stitch-and-mend, been- there-forever look. The variety of damask patterns you


can fi nd is another bonus. As the designs have been around for so long there are all sorts of document fabrics available, both English and French. Some have huge pattern repeats, and will only work on big windows, but others are quite small and


RIGHT: Corner view of the Billiard Room at Wightwick Manor showing “Pimpernel” Morris wallpaper, c1876, Bird pattern tapestry weave curtains, one-armed sofa and armchair coving and Kidderminster carpet in Lily design, 1877.


BELOW LEFT: Detail of the woollen and velvet curtains, in the Regency style, copied from the original set, probably designed by Gillows in 1812, which survived until 1920. The Dining Room, at Attingham Park.


BELOW: Juniper fabric pictured on the chair in charcoal is also available in black, natural, raspberry and teal, priced £19.00 per metre. Curtains in Pimllico pewter are also available in charcoal, natural, red and teal priced £32.00 per metre. Both available from Montgomery.


ethereal, and can easily be used for smaller window treatments.


If you are using an


upholstery damask do discuss with your designer or upholsterer how the pattern repeat will work, and do not be surprised if you need much more fabric than you expected – getting the repeats right is vital when using a large pattern on a sofa. I have recently done some work in


a drawing room which was originally decorated soon after the Second World War. All the upholstery is in different old gold damasks, and different pieces have faded at different rates. We did not need enough fabric to warrant having it woven specially, so decided to use a velvet in a complimentary shade, so that we retained the faded yellow without trying to use a modern fabric which would jar with the whole. People do not use brocade now as


much as they used to, but in traditional


interiors it is very useful for small items such as side chairs and cushions. Again there are some wonderful archive patterns around, particularly from France. I like to use brocade where I want to have delicate accents of colour or pattern. Again, because brocade tends to be pricy, it is something you will probably be constrained to using in small quantities. You also need to pay attention to the fi ner details such as the trimming or nailing of chairs, and the best ropes, fringes and trimmings for the cushions. I mentioned using vintage fabrics


earlier. If you hunt around antique shops and markets you will fi nd wonderful, faded pieces of all these fabrics. If they are strong enough they can be used again at the window, otherwise they are worth chopping up for cushions. Remnants have so much character and recuing old fabrics is the most sustainable use of fabric of all.


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December 2010 – January 2011 | Traditional Homes & Interiors 105


©NTPL Photography: James Mortimer.


©NTPL Photography: Andreas von Einsiedel.


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