What is interlining?

Interlining (also known as interfacing) isn't just an optional extra which professionals use to charge you more for your draperies! It has a number of features which make it very useful when incorporated as part of your window treatments.

Should you always use interlining?

No. There are a few instances where it's not needed.

One is where you're using a very thick fabric, such as velvet. (Note: there's a difference between drapery velvet and upholstery velvet. With upholstery velvet the pile is locked in place, which makes it harder wearing.)

Or a very thick weave may be just too bulky if you include it.

Another might be if you have curtains at a small window. You don't want them to take up too much room, they're there to provide some color and softness. Including interlining would make them hang over too much of the window area.

But in the majority of cases it will certainly have its benefits. So what are they?

The benefits of using interlining

It's used initially for the improvement it gives to the looks of your drapery.

Because it adds 'body', interlining helps the drapes hang nicely. The is especially important when using thin to medium weight fabrics in larger windows. Using lining in these situations certainly helps, but interlining adds extra quality.

Another advantage is insulation. It's remarkable what a difference it makes when used in drapery at a large window. The heat loss, especially in cold weather, is greatly reduced. This can actually make a difference to your heating costs.

One reason I particularly like using it is the finish it allows on hems and sides. Because of the way curtains are constructed, you can achieve a finish without showing any stitch marks on the visible side of the fabric.

Using interlining makes your curtains look better, hang better, keeps you warm and makes your curtains last longer.

curtain with interliningA corner of a curtain before the lining is attached. Here you can see the interlining. The side and bottom hems are stitched to the interlining to hold it in place.

Accessories with interlining

But it doesn't stop with your main curtains.

Including it is almost essential for swags, jabots and other treatments. When you come to make your cornice or pelmet (you really are going to start making your own drapery, aren't you?) using a thick version will enable you to get a great looking finish.

Here you can see the lining just before it's placed in position to be sewn to the sides of the curtain. The lining is loosely attached to the interlining with thread to prevent the lining moving away from the rest of the curtain when in use.

Are there different sorts of interlining?

They come in many different thicknesses. The thinnest is sometimes called 'Domette'. The thickest is known in some countries as 'bump'.

Most curtains will benefit from a medium thickness interlining. Domette is useful where you don't really need to use an interlining for 'body', but you want some of the other advantages it offers. For example, if you use a thin version with a velvet which isn't too heavy, you'll avoid the stitch marks showing on the hems.

In most instances your drapes will benefit from using it in their construction.

Unless you have a good reason not to, I recommend you include interlining when you make up your curtains.

These may be of interest...

  • Setup your drapery workroom

    Is a drapery workroom necessary? If you plan to make your own curtains and drapes then preparing a specified area will make your life much easier.

  • How to make pinch pleat headings by hand

    A hand made pinch pleat heading can look much more professional than if it's machined. Find out how you can make your own pinch pleated drapery.

  • Window cornice ideas for your home

    Window cornice ideas can be simplified by separating them into categories. Here are some suggestions for you to try.

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