Curtain Fabric Static

Another grey mohair velvet, luscious upholstery
Grey Mohair Velvet Upholstery
Grey Mohair Velvet Upholstery

If you are unfortunate enough to have created beautiful curtains that are plagued by static problems then please read on.

Fortunately static is rarely noticed when curtains are hung, this is partly because of the chosen combination of materials and partly also because the weight of the material overcomes the weak power of static electricity. However if you do have this rare problem then you have already invested a lot of time, effort and money into buying curtain material and having them made up and hung. Do you have to start again?

Before answering that dreaded question it is important to understand what causes the problem in the first place. There is little point in re-making the curtains if the same problem is going to happen again.

Static is a natural phenomena. The main way in which static is created is when two materials are rubbed together causing an excess electrical charge on their surfaces. It is not, however, caused by the friction itself and it is not caused because a material is synthetic/man-made.

All materials differ in their propensity to cause static. It takes the properties of TWO materials to cause static; one must be good at giving up ‘electrons’ and the other good at receiving ‘electrons’. The better that each of the materials are at giving/receiving ‘electrons’ then the more static there will be. For any scientists reading, you might remember that this is measured by The Triboelectric Series.

On the Triboelectric Series; hair, wool, glass, nylon and fur are good at giving up electrons. Whereas silk, paper and cotton are at the other end of the scale and are bad at giving up electrons. Conversely; wood, metals, polyester and styrene are bad at attracting electrons whereas at the other end of this side of the scale polyurethane, polyethylene, vinyl/PVC are good at attracting electrons.

Thus a combination of PVC and hair would produce the most static whereas cotton and wood would produce the least. If you think about combing your hair then this should ring true.

Polyester is very similar to gold, platinum, brass, silver, nickel and copper in its static generating properties. Whereas, cotton is one of the lowest materials on the scale.

So the first lesson, bearing in mind the above, is that the choice of materials ie the curtain and the lining are critical. Also any surface that the curtain comes into contact with is important. So the second lesson is to consider the location.

Let’s turn now to how the curtain is made up. An experienced, professional curtain maker should know how to avoid the static problem.

Taking an example of a mixed composition fabric. Let’s say 40% cotton, 40% viscose and 20% polyester. And let’s also say that the material is loosely woven and has movement. Looking at such a fabric an experienced curtain maker would say that the fabric ‘needed taming’ and that a light cotton inter liner should be used. In addition to that the following details should be followed:

• The interlining should be locked in with 3 inch stitches. This should not be knotted;
• At the leading edge the interlining should be serged and locked in;
• The hem should be herring bone stitched. The stitches should not be too large and should not catch the face fabric; and
• Because of the nature of the fabric, the hem should slightly break on the floor.

These are not generic solutions to all curtain static problem. But they should be considered by the curtain maker.

So we have seen that: the choice of material; how the design works when hung; and how the curtain is made up, all have impacts on the creation or dissipation of static.

Fabric Treatment Companies – FR Flameproofing

silk velvet upholstery fabric textile FR Martindale RubsWe are often asked to recommend farbic treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment comapanies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls, and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:

Essex Flameproofing,

Textiles FR, and

TEK Treatments

Just click the company name to take you to their web site. Please feel free to add comments to this posting recommending any suppliers you have used but any negative comments about other companies are not permitted on this site. Thank you.

Fabric Tips #12: Rolling a velvet

Alpaca-wool.
Image via Wikipedia

You’ve just ordered a new velvet and unrolled it to admire your purchase. But how do you re-roll it?

When you roll almost any fabric you should have the face on the inside. With a velvet this is the pile so you have the pile on the inside.

Some, but not all, velvet piles stand straight up others will ‘lay down’. for the former it does not matter which way you then roll the fabric (provided the pile is on the inside). However for typically longer pile which lays down (ie you can brush it flat with your hand in one direction only) then you should roll the fabric down the pile as you return it to its roll.

Hopefully that made sense. Good luck.

Fabric Abbreviations, Material Composition On Textile Labels For Interior Designers

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Click To Read More Interior Design BUSINESS & TECHNICAL Information.

Fabric labels often have abbreviations and some of these generally accepted abbreviations are for non-English words. So here is a handy little reference chart for all you interior designers out there showing what all those pesky abbreviations mean. Please comment if any are missing.

Also reference here is a list of fabric qualities and what they are (eg boucle, chenille, chintz, crepe)

WO – Wool (Sheep by default)

WV – Virgin Fleece Wool

WP – Alpaca Wool

WL – Lama Wool

WS – Cashmere Goat a.k.a. Kaschmir and Cachemire and (incorrectly) Kashmir

WM – Mohair (Goat) Wool

SE – Silk / Seide

CO – Cotton / Baumwolle

LI – Flax / Linen

HA – Hemp / Hanf

CV – Viscose

CMD – Modal

CLY – Lyocell

PA – Nylon / Polyamid

PES – Polyester

PUR – Polyurethane

EL – Elastane aka spandex

ME – Metallic

AF – Other Fibers

Some Italian Translations and Abbreviations:

WP – can also mean baby alpaca Wool

VI – also means viscose

WK – camel hair wool

WA – angora wool

PBT -polyester

EA – elastane

PC – acrylic

PM – polyester

For more information on luxury cashmere throws or to request cuttings please visit www.kothea.com.  For black faux leather upholstery fabrics try <here> and for mohair velvet and mohair velvet upholstery fabric please follow the links.  Upholstery Linen is also one of our specialities as are luxury  silk velvet  fabrics.

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KOTWIG – New Farbic From KOTHEA

KOTHEA Release New Fabric For Interiors

LONDON, England. 04-MAY-2009 11.30 AM: KOTHEA today announced it has expanded its product range by the addition of KOTWIG. KOTWIG has an off-the-wall textured design. It has a high Martindale score which is unusually achieved without incorporating polyester. It is highly suitable for a wide range of uses including heavy upholstery and wall treatments in either domestic or contract installations.

Flickr Image Of KOTWIG
Flickr Image Of KOTWIG

Full information can be found <here>.

KOTWIG

Reference: 14-002-436

Colour Shown: Brown – Light Brown

Other colourways: 20

Width: 145cm

Repeat: None

Composition: 43% Linen, 36% Viscose, 21% Cotton.

Martindale: 40,000 ‘rubs’

Primary Usage: General upholstery or wall treatments, contract & domestic.

Type of fabric: Textured Weave

About KOTHEA.

KOTHEA are a top-market fabric house based in London serving customers throughout all of Europe and The Middle East. Founded in 1999 they have since continued to develop and sell an extensive range of timeless fabrics to the top architects, interior- and yacht-designers for projects ranging from mega-yachts to boutique hotels and from luxury spas to penthouses.

KOTHEA operate on a trade-only basis and their fabrics are available to the public through interior designers and specialist interior design shops such as Gotham, Interiors Bis and Fiona Campbell. KOTHEA also supply beautiful hand-woven linen fabrics and finished goods – throws and table linen.

KOTHEA’s trade customers would perceive their signature fabrics to include several ranges of velvet including the exclusive ‘cashmere silk velvet’, silks, linens, double-width sheers, faux leather and interesting weaves for upholstery often with high Martindale ‘rub tests’ making them highly suited to both contract and residential projects.

Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Parsons started KOTHEA more than 10 years ago after 11 highly successful years with Nobilis Fontan in Chelsea and Donghia in Chelsea Harbour. She says, “At KOTHEA we like to think we bring something a little different to the market. Our difference will be reflected in our customers’ eyes by unusual fabrics that complement our core fabric ranges; all augmented by our excellent levels of customers service, market knowledge and attention to detail.”

Synthetic Dyes and Their Development

If you’re reading this you’ve probably already read my very brief history of natural dyes. The rest of the following discussion is not quite so brief and does get quite technical in a chemical sense but I’ve tried to omit as much of that as possible to make the information accessible to normal readers like you and me.

Within the space of 50 years mankind had changed almost totally from natural dyes to synthetic ones. Phase 1 of this change was the addition of Chromium. The subsequent, often parallel, phases are discussed below with a bias towards how they apply to fabrics.

The 8 subsequent developments of synthetic dyes from Chromium onwards are:
(1. Chromium)
2. Triphenylmethane dyes
3. Anthraquinone dyes
4. Xanthene and related dyes
5. Azo dyes
6. Reactive dyes
7. Phthalocyanine compounds
8. Quinacridone compounds
9. Fluorescent brighteners

Phase 2: Triphenylmethane dyes

In 1858 Verguin (France) discovers ‘fuchsine’ a rose coloured dye made from aniline and tin chloride. This was the first of a series of dyes later called Triphenylmethanes and this marked the second phase of the growth of the synthetic dye industry. Adding excess aniline made aniline blue. Soon other variations were discovered and the chemistry understood; and before 1900 several hundred colours had been documented.

One problem with these dyes was solubility. That was overcome by the addition of sulphuric acid.

Phase 3: Anthraquinone dyes

In the 1850s and 1860s the understanding of how carbon is structured (tetravalency) led to scientists being able to plan how chemicals might react before doing the experiments. Alizarin and its derivatives (the anthraquinones) gave a huge number of dyes which constitute the second biggest grouping of dyes.

The addition of sulphur created a group of bright, fast dyes for wool. Indrathone blue, a brilliant blue vat dye, was discovered at the turn of the century and related compounds are still today used as pigments spanning colours from blue to yellow.

Phase 4: Xanthene related dyes

Fluorescein was discovered in 1871 but related discoveries were seldom used with fabrics until the late 1880s when some were used for silk. However the dyes had poor lightfastness and usage was stopped – only to be re-used 70 years later when they were found to be particularly good on acrylic fibres. Better products have been found since and now only one chemical dye in this class is used commercially (Safranine T).

Phase 5: Azo dyes

These form more than half of the commercial dyes used today.

The key is the reaction of nitrous acid with arylamine and then with phenols and aryl amines. This chemical reaction forms part of the production process of 50% of dyes in use today having been used since 1875, firstly for wool.

Methyl- related azo dyes were used extensively up until the 1970s but this has now stopped in many countries as they were carcinogenic.

The discovery of the azo dyes led to the development of method called ingrain dyeing. Here the dye is ‘made’ within the fabric. Since the process was carried out at around freezing point, some dyes were called ice colours. In 1912 Naphtol was found to form a water-soluble compound with an affinity for cotton, a major step in the development of the ingrain dyes. Naphtol is able to form a great number of possible end colours although many of these are not adequately colourfast.

Other Azo dyes became the most important commercial colorants because of their wide colour range, good fastness properties, and tinctorial strength (colour density), which is twice that of the anthraquinones, the second most important group of dyes. Azo dyes are easily prepared from many readily available, inexpensive compounds and meet the demands of a wide range of end uses. Cost advantages tend to offset the fact that these are less brilliant and less lightfast than the anthraquinones.

Phase 6: Reactive dyes

Reactive dyes are very adaptable and can create a huge number of colours.

The first reactive dyes utilized monoazo for bright yellow and red shades. Adding aniline gave the azo dye used in the first Procion Red.

Dichlorotriazinyl dyes are now produced by more than 30 dye manufacturers, since the early patents on these dyes have expired.

With the introduction of reactive dyes, cotton could finally be dyed in bright shades with azo dyes for yellows to reds, with anthraquinones for blues, and with copper phthalocyanines for bright turquoise colours.

Phase 7: Phthalocyanine compounds

Phthalocyanines, the most important chromium derivatives developed in the 20th century being introduced in 1934 and marketed as Monastral Fast Blue B and Monastral Fast Blue G.

Copper phthalocyanine is the most important and can be formed directly on cotton. Although not useful for PET and acrylics, some complexes are utilized with nylon. Chemical bleaching alters the shade to bluish-green and green.

Water-soluble versions were developed later by the introduction of sulphur based chemicals also producing a direct dye for cotton (Chlorantine Fast Turquoise Blue Gll), the first commercial phthalocyanine dye.

Such colourants all display strong, bright blue to green shades with remarkable chemical stability. These compounds exhibit excellent lightfastness, and their properties are in striking contrast to those of natural pigments that are destroyed by intense light or heat and mild chemical reagents. The high stability, strength, and brightness of the phthalocyanines render them cost-effective, illustrated by the wide use of blue and green labels on many products.

Phase 8: Quinacridone compounds

A second group of pigments developed in the 20th century were the quinacridone compounds. Quinacridone itself was introduced in 1958. Its seven crystalline forms range in colour from yellowish-red to violet.

Phase 9: Fluorescent brighteners

Raw natural fibres, paper, and plastics tend to appear yellowish because of weak light absorption. Bleaching can reduce this but the bleach must be mild to avoid damaging the material. Alternatively a bluing agent can mask the yellowish tint to make the material ‘appear’ whiter (hence the phrase a ‘bluey whiteness’), or the material can be treated with a fluorescent compound that weakly emits blue visible light. These compounds, also called “optical brighteners,” they are not dyes in the usual sense. The major industrial applications are as textile finishers, pulp and paper brighteners.

Well done for getting this far!

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