All About Lace Panels
Until very recently sheer curtains were chiefly about privacy. They veiled a household from the prying eyes of passers-by, while allowing a diffused light to filter in through the window. To these traditional virtues, another security value can be added: the would-be burglar will find it difficult to survey the scene with screened windows.
Today, sheer curtains can be enjoyed for the range of interior light effects they provide. With an unparalleled choice of easy-care translucent fabrics on the market – from the most intricate laces to the lightest voiles – the choice is about sheer beauty as much as sheer practicality. You can use the fabrics’ qualities of texture and drape for dramatic effects, to disguise an ugly window or glorify a pretty one.
Lace panels, like all sheers, tame the light and offer privacy and intimacy. Unlike plain sheers such as voile and muslin, lace panels look their best hanging straight so that the pattern shows to best effect. However, by using meters of cheaper lace with a heading tape, you can create a window dressing that provides both atmosphere and privacy.
Different lace panels
A – Lace panel with a detachable border. The border simply peels away and can be used as a decorative edge on the hems.
B – Lace panel with an integral border. This can be used sideways across the window with the scallop at the top and base or length ways.
C – Lace panel with eyelet holes. The lace is slotted over a slimline rod.
D – All-over lace patterns. This fabric is available by the meter in wide measures like furnishing fabrics. All the edges need to be finished.
The Range Of Panels
Now there are many cotton and synthetic mix laces available which offer the patterned charm and texture of antique lace, while being easier to care for. Again, with the country look in mind, it’s best to stick to the traditional bridal colors of lace – white or cream.
Lace fabric with distinctive patterns can be bought as separate panels or by the meter. Sold as complete ready-made window coverings, these panels come in a range of set sizes and have the addition of integral eyelets or a casing along the top edge ready for slotting on to fine rods for instant window dressing.
If you prefer to make your own panels, or you have awkward shaped windows, lace can be bought by the meter in a range of different widths. Some narrow widths have integral eyelets or a casing running along one of the selvedge edges, the other edge decorated with a scallop. So buy the meter length to fit the width of your window. This is particularly suitable if you want to cover the lower half of the window, for example, in the kitchen or bathroom. For taller windows, buy the meter length to fit the length of the window and make your own choice of heading and hem.
Lace fabrics are also available with detachable edgings. These borders can be removed and added to hem and top edges to complete the decorative frame round a window covering.
Hanging Lace Panels
The quickest and easiest way to hang ready-made and homemade lace panels at a window is to use elasticated curtain wire; a fine brass or wooden pole or one of the new fine plastic rods slotted through a casing at the top of the panel. This is particularly suitable for lightweight lace panels which are not to be drawn back and forth, but used as a permanent screen at the window.
If your homemade panel needs a hem or a casing, make sure that you turn under a double width allowance, which will hide the raw edge of the fabric.
Measure your window area and decide on the style first. Fix your rod or wire in place and plan what width of curtain panel you need. Do you want a fuller look or the lace flat across the window?
If your window is narrower than the fabric width, a cased heading will gather the lace gently on the fitment. In this case, choose an all-over pattern rather than a large motif design.
If you are covering large picture windows, lace panels can be either hung loosely side by side or stitched together.
More about the history of lace can be seen here: Lace
Reference: The Country Look—Decor & Crafts