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The characteristics of voile fabric

'Voile' is French for 'veil' - and that's a good indication of what to expect from this delicate and lightweight material.

Here's an introduction to the merits of voile fabric, and a few ways you can use it to bring sunshine and elegance into your home.

A sheer fabric for sunny rooms

A sheer fabric for sunny rooms

It’s hard to imagine a daintier material than voile fabric. Traditionally, it’s crafted using a plain weave and grid pattern, so despite the higher thread count, the result is almost sheer in sunlight – making it the ideal curtain material for a sunny sitting room. Meanwhile, stray yarns are burnt off at the end of the weaving process, for a matte finish that’s crisp to the touch. It’s a close cousin to muslin, but nothing else looks or feels quite like voile fabric

A choice of fibres to suit every style

Historically, voile fabric was woven from pure cotton threads, but times are changing. These days, blends are becoming increasingly popular, while you’ll also achieve great results with linen, and might be surprised how effective a pure-polyester voile fabric can be. By the same token, white is the traditional colour for voile fabric, but with this material available in every shade and a variety of patterns, there’s nothing to stop you expressing yourself

An elegant choice, everywhere in your home

An elegant choice, everywhere in your home

There’s nothing quite like a sitting room with a voile fabric curtain fluttering gently in a summer breeze. But don’t stop at curtains. Voile fabric is ideal for creating all sorts of soft furnishings, from doilies to cushions. It can also make an effective window panel, keeping out flies, mosquitoes and prying eyes, while flooding the room with natural light.      

Buy the best quality you can

Buy the best quality you can

Because voile fabric is so delicate, it's worth investing a little more to ensure that it lasts well and doesn't start looking shabby. If you're buying a length in person, look for a slightly thicker feel, and give the surface a light scratch with your fingernail. If the threads come apart, the weave may not be tight enough, and will unravel over time. Finally, when you've chosen your voile fabric, don't forget it can shrink in a hot machine wash.

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