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Window Treatment Glossary

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A

Acetate: Acetate is used in fabrics such as satins, brocade and taffetas due to its excellent drapability, silky luster and soft hand. Acetate dyes easily and is colorfast. Acetate fabrics generally require dry cleaning.

Acrylic: Acrylic is lightweight, soft, and warm, with the look and feel of wool. It resists shrinkage and wrinkles, retains its shape and dyes easily with excellent colorfastness. Acrylic also is extremely resistant to sunlight exposure.

Allowance: This term refers to window treatments in which more than one panel are used to cover the window. The allowance is the extra width necessary to allow for panels to overlap in the middle, as well as to cover the return, which is the distance from the face of the rod or front of the window to the wall where the bracket is attached.

Antique Satin: A drapery fabric, characterized by an irregular, slubbed weave, creating the look of dupioni silk. The textured fabric is commonly constructed of rayon or acetate, but also can be constructed of other synthetic fibers, as well as silk or cotton.

Appliqué: A needlework technique in which pieces of fabric are sewn or embroidered onto a background fabric to create a design. The term refers both to the process of affixing the design, as well as to the finished decorative pieced fabric.

Ascot Valance: A decorative window top treatment with a characteristic triangular shape. Ascot valances are shirred onto standard or decorative drapery rods and are often used in multiples to create a decorative sawtooth look.

B

Bark Cloth: Bark cloth (or barkcloth) is a soft, thick, textured fabric made of densely woven fibers, usually cotton. The texture resembles tree bark. This is generally a very soft fabric used in draperies and upholstery.

Basketweave: A basketweave is an allover textured design created by an under-and-over weaving process, resembling the weave used to make baskets. Basketweave textures can be created in fabric as well as many other materials, including wood, bamboo, sisal and sea grass.

Battenberg Lace: Originally hand-sewn, Battenberg lace can be either hand- or machine-made. Battenberg lace is a tape lace, and often trimmed with sequins or beads, generally shown with a scalloped edge.

Blackout: Blackout draperies are lined, interlined or coated window panels constructed from dense, heavyweight fabrics such as velvet, suede or chenille. Blackout draperies block 99% of exterior light and are generally up to 25% more energy-efficient than standard draperies. Blackout draperies also reduce exterior noise up to 40%.

Blinds: This term refers to window coverings made from either horizontal or vertical slats, held in place with strings, cords or fabric tapes. Blinds can be constructed of wood, fabric, metal, vinyl or plastic. Vertical blinds can be used on windows and frequently are used on patio doors; the tracks allow them to be drawn open or closed just like draperies.

Bouclé: This popular novelty yarn is used to create a woven or knitted fabric with a rough, looped or knotted textured surface. Bouclé fabrics can be constructed from virtually any type of fiber, but often use synthetic yarns.

Box Pleat: Box pleats are evenly spaced and stitched double pleats, with fabric folded under on both sides to create a box. Inverted box pleats or inverted pleats are stitched to create the box on the inside, rather than the outside. Both types of box pleats commonly are used as a header style for draperies.

Bracket: The bracket is any piece of hardware attached to the wall or window frame and used to support a curtain rod, decorative drapery rod or drapery holdbacks. In wall-mounted brackets, plastic or metal screw anchors often are used to install the bracket, to provide more stability and support to the rod.

Broadcloth: A dense woven fabric, broadcloth has a casual, smooth texture and is extremely sturdy. Traditionally broadcloth is made from wool, but today the fabric is made from cotton, polyester or blended fabrics.

Brocade: A richly woven, highly decorative fabric used in formal draperies. Brocade is woven as a multi-level fabric and typically has the appearance of embroidery or embossing. Metallic threads often are used to enhance the design.

Buckram: Buckram is a coarse, stiffened cloth made from jute, cotton or linen, used as a filling fabric for shaping drapery headers.

Burnout: A fabric design produced by dissolving away one or more fibers in a fabric. The fabric is printed with a substance, usually a weak acid or a chemical salt, which will destroy some of the fibers, creating a relief pattern.

C

Café Curtain/Tier Curtain: A short, straight curtain that covers the bottom half of a window. Also known as a kitchen tier, a café curtain is usually paired with some sort of top treatment, such as a swag valance.

Café Rod: A café curtain rod is a narrow metal or plastic rod used to hang lightweight curtains. Café rods come in two sizes, ½-inch or ¾-inch in diameter. Café rods generally are attached to the wall or window frame with brackets, although some café rods are telescoping, tension rods with rubber tips; these can be used to anchor a rod in between two walls or inside deep window frames.

Calico: A simple, plain-woven cotton cloth printed with simple designs, such as small scale floral or geometric motifs. Calico fabrics often are used in curtains, especially tier curtains.

Carrier: A small plastic piece with a hole in one end found on the inner side of a drapery traverse rod; the carrier is used to hold the drapery hooks or pins and slides on the draw cord.

Casing: This term refers to the frame and trim surrounding a window or door.

Cascade: The term cascade refers to vertical, soft pleated folds of fabric that create a waterfall appearance on the top or sides of a window treatment. A cascade is also known as a jabot or tail.

Cellular Shade: Known for a distinctive “honeycomb” construction, cellular shades are multi-layered pleated shades that trap air and provide a high degree of insulation at the window. Cellular shades come in double or triple honeycomb styles and are constructed of fabric.

Center Draw: This term refers to drapery traverse rods that open and close from the center; it also can be used to refer to the draperies themselves.

Center Overlap: This term refers to the section of a drapery that overlaps in the center when the draperies are closed.

Center Support: A drapery hardware term that refers to a separate support bracket that is used in the center of a drapery rod to prevent sagging; this is typically used with heavier window treatments.

Chenille: A luxuriously soft, textured fabric characterized by a thick pile. The fabric is generally made from cotton or wool, but also can be constructed of acrylic, rayon or olefin.

Chiffon: A lightweight sheer fabric made from cotton, silk or synthetic fibers. Chiffon can be dyed to almost any shade desired, but if it is made out of polyester it can be difficult to dye. Under a magnifying glass it resembles a fine net or mesh which gives chiffon some see-through properties.

Clearance: The clearance is a measurement from the back of a drapery rod to the wall; in other words, how far out the drapery rod is positioned from the wall.

Clip Rings: These are small metal, wood or plastic rings with a clip that are used in hanging curtains or draperies. The rings slide onto the drapery pole or curtain rod and the clips attach to the fabric panels. Clip rings can be used with pinch pleated draperies in lieu of hooks.

Continental Rod: Extra wide drapery rods designed to create more of a custom look at the top of the window. Continental rods start at 2 ½ inches wide, which can accommodate 3-inch rod pockets; and go up to 4 ½ inches wide, which can accommodate 5-inch rod pockets.

Crescent Valance: A highly decorative, rod pocket window top treatment. As the name suggests, each piece is crescent-shaped and sewn to create gentle folds of fabric draping down in the middle. Crescent valances are generally sold as single pieces but are used in multiples to create a scalloped look across the window. Crescent valances often are trimmed with fringe or tassels.

Crash/Crashed: A fabric finish that creates a permanent, allover crinkled or wrinkled texture effect, often used in sheers or lightweight curtain fabrics.

Curtain: Curtains are lightweight, unlined window coverings that are stationary. Curtains feature a rod pocket construction and are shirred onto a curtain rod or decorative pole. Curtains typically are used with fabric tiebacks or fixed holdbacks mounted on the sides of the windows. Curtains can be made from any lightweight fabric and are often constructed of sheer or semi-sheer fabrics.

Cutwork: Cutwork embroidery is a type of needlework where portions of the background fabric are cut away; the edges then are worked in buttonhole stitches. Cutwork can be very simple, such as eyelet, or very elaborate, such as thick Venetian embroidery. Cutwork is used as a decorative element on curtain fabrics.

D

Damask: A damask fabric is an elaborately patterned jacquard woven fabric used in draperies. Damask fabrics can be constructed from silk, linen, wool, cotton or synthetic fibers; metallic threads often are added to the pattern. Common design themes in damask fabrics are flowers, leaves, fruit and animal figures.

Drape: This term refers to the way a fabric hangs at the window. Drape also is used in some parts of the U.S. to refer to the draperies themselves.

Drapery: Draperies are fabric window coverings that are generally heavier in weight than curtains. Draperies can be either stationary or movable, and can be used with fabric tiebacks or fixed holdbacks mounted on the sides of the windows. Draperies are offered either lined or unlined, and can be either a rod pocket or pinch pleated construction. Pinch pleated draperies typically are hung on traverse rods; rod pocket draperies are shirred onto drapery rods or decorative poles. Draperies are constructed from heavyweight fabrics such as velvets, suede, damask, brocade, chenille and bouclé.

Drapery Hooks: These hooks are inserted into the back of the pleats in pinch pleated draperies; the hook is then threaded onto a carrier on a traverse rod. Duck Cloth/Cotton Duck: A plain, flat-woven cotton fabric, duck cloth is used in casual window coverings, including curtains and fabric shades. Cotton duck is also known as duck canvas; the fabric takes dye easily and is also a popular substrate for printing.

E

Embossed Fabric: Embossing is a process of creating a decorative, raised design that is pressed into the fabric by heated rollers, which gives the finished fabric a textured surface. Embossed fabrics often are used in formal draperies.

Embroidery: The term embroidery refers to any ornamentation created by adding decorative stitches to a base fabric. There are many different types of embroidery used to embellish curtains and draperies, including eyelet, chain stitch, cross stitch, crewel and satin stitch patterns.

Eyelet: The term eyelet refers to a lightweight curtain fabric decorated with small, embroidered holes; the holes are often laid out in a flower pattern. Eyelet also is referred to as “eyelet lace.” It most often is used in curtains and as a trimming fabric.

F

Finial: A finial is a decorative element used to finish or cap the ends of a drapery rod, or the top of a drapery holdback. Finials come in a variety of decorative shapes, including balls, urns, stylized pineapples, leaves, flowers, scrolls and fleurs de lis.

Flipover Panel/Flipover Valance: The flipover construction is a tailored, one-piece drapery or valance treatment where a section at the top flips over the rod to create a tailored appearance. The section that is flipped over often is fastened to the main section with buttons.

French Pleat: Similar to a pinch pleat, a French pleat is a loose, three-fold stitched pleat at the top of a drapery. French pleats are used to add fullness to a drapery.

Fringe: Many different types of fringe, such as brush, loop, bullion and tassels, are used as a decorative border to embellish the edges of window coverings.

G

Gingham: A casual cotton or cotton/polyester blend fabric that features a small-scale checkerboard design of colored squares alternating with white squares. Gingham frequently is used in casual tier curtains.

Grommet: Grommets (or eyelets) are metal, plastic or rubber rings used to reinforce a hole in fabric. Grommet top curtains and draperies feature decorative grommets at the top that are used instead of a rod pocket. The curtain rod threads through the grommets, creating large pleats with a contemporary flair.

Grosgrain: A heavy silk or rayon fabric with characteristic, horizontal ribbed texture. Grosgrain ribbon, tape or trim often is used to embellish window treatments.

H

Hand: This term refers to the actual feel and draping abilities of a fabric. A fabric with a “soft hand” is soft to the touch and drapes easily.

Header: This term refers to the section of fabric above the rod pocket in a curtain drapery or valance.

Hemp: Hemp is an extremely strong and durable fiber used to create a rough, homespun fabric, similar to jute. For curtains and other home furnishings fabrics, hemp is often blended with other natural fibers, including cotton, linen and silk, to create a smoother fabric. Hemp is growing in popularity due to the current emphasis on environmentally friendly textiles.

Holdback: A holdback is any device designed to allow curtain or drapery panels to be pulled to the sides of the window and held there. Tiebacks are the most common type of holdback, and usually are made of a fabric that matches the window panel. Metal, wood, resin and plastic holdbacks are mounted on the sides of the window, and come in virtually any shape and design. These fixed holdbacks generally come in one of two styles, straight or J-arm configurations, and often match the drapery rod. Holdbacks also can be used with scarves and swags.

I

Interlining: Interlined fabrics feature an addition layer of lining material placed between the standard lining and the outer fabric of a drapery. Interlining commonly is used in thermal draperies and blackout draperies, and is usually constructed of cotton or cotton/polyester blend fabrics.

Inside Mount: This term refers to window covering hardware that is mounted on the inside of a window frame; the opposite of outside mount hardware. Inside mount hardware must be measured precisely so that the window treatment fits on the inside of the window frame.

Inverted Pleat: An inverted pleat or an inverted box pleat is a type of box pleat, which is constructed from evenly spaced and stitched double pleats, with fabric folded under on both sides to create a box. In an inverted pleat, the pleats are stitched to create the box effect on the inside. Both types of box pleats commonly are used as a header style for draperies.

J

J-Arm: A type of drapery holdback, a J-Arm style looks like the letter “J” on its side. The longer side of the holdback is attached to the wall with screws and the draperies are pulled back and held in the curve of the “J.” J-Arm holdbacks are made of metal, wood, resin or plastic.

Jabot: These are soft pleated folds of fabric that are used to add vertical interest to a window covering, either on the sides of the window or in the center. Jabots look like modified triangles with the points squared off. Jabots are also known as cascades; another term for a jabot is a tail.

Jacquard: A jacquard weave creates an intricate woven pattern using multiple levels. Tapestries, brocades and damask fabrics are all jacquard weaves. Jacquard weaving is used in nearly all home furnishings fabrics, and is especially popular in window treatments.

L

Lace: Lace is a delicate, ornamental fabric woven in an open, web-like pattern, often combined with different types of embroidery.

Linen: Linen is a flat-woven fabric made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is extremely strong and smooth, with a crisp texture. Linen is used in window shades, curtains, draperies and top treatments. Linen often is blended with other natural fibers, including cotton and silk.

M

Macramé: An elaborately patterned, knotted lace, often used as a trim on window coverings. Macramé typically is constructed using cotton yarn although blended yarns also can be used.

Matelassé: A complex jacquard woven fabric with an embossed, quilted appearance. Matelassé fabrics have a puffy texture used in window treatments. Moiré: A fabric that displays a characteristic wavy, watermark design. Usually either a rayon or silk fabric, the rippled moiré pattern is produced either though the weaving process or by embossing the fabric.

N

Nylon: A silk-like, petroleum-based synthetic fiber often used in sheer window treatments.

O

Ombré: An ombré fabric is created through a special dyeing process where two or more colors gradually fade in and out of one another, usually in a striped layout.

Osnaburg: A rough, homespun woven fabric used in curtains. Originally osnaburg was made from flax, but today osnaburg fabrics are constructed of flax, jute, cotton, polyester or blended yarns.

Outside Mount: This term refers to window covering hardware that is mounted on the outside of a window frame; the opposite of inside mount hardware. Outside mount hardware is used when the window coverings are designed to cover the window frame. Outside mount hardware typically is installed anywhere from one to three inches from the outside edge of the window frame.

P

Panel: The term panel refers to a single piece of a curtain or drapery. A conventional window treatment requires two panels, or a “panel pair.”

Pinch Pleat: A pinch pleat is a three-fold stitched pleat at the top of a formal drapery. The draperies generally are hung on a traverse rod using drapery hooks inserted into the back of the pleat.

Piqué: A tightly woven cotton fabric characterized by a fine ribbed or basket weave texture.

Pleated Shade: Constructed of either fabric or plastic, a pleated shade is a flat window shade that features rows of small horizontal pleats; the shade is drawn up by cords and the pleats fold flat. In some cases, pleated shades are double layered, and the cords are hidden inside the layers. Cellular shades are a type of multi-layered pleated shade, featuring a distinctive “honeycomb” construction.

Pole Top: A pole top curtain or drapery is the most common form of hanging system in window coverings. Also known as a rod pocket, this style features a horizontal sleeve stitched across the top; a curtain rod or decorative pole is threaded through the sleeve, creating a soft, shirred or gathered appearance.

Polyester: Polyester is the most popular synthetic fiber used in home furnishings due to its easy-care qualities. Polyester is machine washable, dries quickly, is wrinkle-resistant and takes dye easily. Polyester is often blended with cotton or with other synthetic fibers.

R

Rayon: A versatile, semi-synthetic fiber made from cellulose, also known as viscose or artificial silk. The fabrics often have a shiny finish as well as excellent draping qualities, which make it suitable for a wide variety of home furnishings applications. Most rayon fabrics must be dry-cleaned.

Ready Made: Window coverings that are a standard length and width. Ready-made window coverings typically are sold over the counter and are less expensive than custom window treatments.

Recess: When measuring for inside mount hardware, the recess is the depth of the window opening.

Repeat/Fabric Repeat: A repeat is the measurement of a fabric design, from the point where one design element begins to where it begins again, or repeats.

Return: The distance from the face of the rod or front of the window to the wall where the bracket is attached.

Rod Pocket: A rod pocket curtain or drapery is the most common form of hanging system in window coverings. Also known as a pole top, this style features a horizontal sleeve stitched across the top; a curtain rod or decorative pole is threaded through the sleeve, creating a soft, shirred or gathered appearance.

Roller Shade/Roll Up Shade: Both of these are flat fabric, plastic or vinyl shades that roll up onto a cylinder. With roller shades, the cylinder is spring loaded, while with roll up shades, the shade is drawn up with cords or strings. Roll up shades also can be made of wood.

Roman Shade: This fabric window shade creates a tailored, flat look at the window. The classic Roman shade features a flat face fabric that forms pleats as the shade is raised; these pleats are formed by rings threaded with cords or tapes sewn on the back of the fabric that allow the shade to be raised and lowered.

S

Satin/Sateen: A woven fabric featuring a glossy face and a soft, slippery texture. Satin has a very smooth hand, dyes easily and drapes well. Satin refers to fabric woven using fibers such as silk, nylon or polyester. Sateen refers to fabric created using yarns such as cotton.

Sawtooth Valance: This window top treatment features a characteristic jagged, zigzag pattern, with regularly spaced triangular points facing downward.

Scarf: A window scarf is a decorative length of fabric that drapes over the top of the window and down the sides. Scarves are generally sold in six-yard lengths, and can be wrapped around a decorative rod or puddled on the floor.

Shade: The term shade refers to a wide range of window coverings, including blinds, roller shades, pleated shades, etc. Generally, shades are opaque window coverings that are fully adjustable to cover or expose the window.

Shirr: This term refers to inserting a drapery or curtain rod into the rod pocket of a panel; the fabric is gathered or “shirred” onto the rod. The term also refers to fabrics that have been drawn up with parallel threads to create a gathered appearance; this is sometimes used on drapery headers to add fullness.

Sheer: Sheers are lightweight, translucent curtains made of finely woven fabrics. They can be used alone on a window to create a light and airy feeling, or as an under-treatment with heavier draperies for a layered look.

Slub/Slubbed: Small nubs or bumps in a fabric, woven to create a random, allover texture.

Silk: Silk is a natural fiber that features a soft hand, lustrous appearance and drapes beautifully. Common forms of silk include raw silk (silk noil), which has a textured, slubbed appearance; dupioni silk, a combination of thick and thin yarns.

Suede: Suede fabrics are designed with a similar napped finish to mimic the appearance and softness of leather, and are constructed of cotton, silk or man-made fibers. Fabrics are brushed, sanded or chemically treated to achieve this look and feel. Ultrasuede is a trademarked term for a microfiber plush fabric. Microsuede is a microfiber knitted fabric with a soft finish.

Swag: A decorative window top treatment that features a soft, curving semicircle centered on the window with fabric hanging down on both sides. Multiple swags can be used on a window to create a highly decorative top treatment. Swags can be constructed of any fabric and often are trimmed in fringe, lace or tassels.

T

Tab Top: Tab top curtains and draperies feature straight fabric loops, or tabs, sewn across the top. A curtain rod or decorative pole is threaded through the tabs, creating a window covering that hangs straight and flat.

Taffeta: A smooth, crisp fabric made from silk, rayon or acetate featuring a shiny surface and a very fine ribbed texture.

Tailored Panel/Tailored Valance: The term “tailored” is used to refer to window panels and valances that have simple, straight lines and hang straight down from the rod. This is a very clean, contemporary style, often used with simple solid color fabrics.

Tension Rod: These are adjustable, spring loaded curtain rods that mount on the inside of a window frame or between two walls. Most tension rods are telescoping rods with rubber tips, which anchor the rod.

Thermal Backed: Refers to drapery fabrics that have been coated on the back with an insulating layer. There are also thermal-lined draperies available, which feature a separate lining fabric as an insulating layer. Both thermal-backed and thermal-lined draperies are considered more energy-efficient than conventional draperies, and also help reduce exterior noise and light.

Tieback: Narrow strips or loops of fabric that are used to fasten drapery or curtain panels to the sides of the window. Tiebacks are the most common type of holdback, and usually are made of a fabric that matches the window panel. Tiebacks can be trimmed with tassels or fringe to create a more decorative look with formal draperies.

Tier Curtain/Café Curtain/Tier: A short, straight curtain that covers the bottom half of a window. Also known as a kitchen tier, a tier is usually paired with some sort of top treatment, such as a swag valance. Tiers typically measure 24 to 36 inches in length.

Tie Top: Tie top curtains and draperies have ribbons or tapes sewn across the top; these are used to tie the panel to the rod or to rings and create a casual, homespun look.

Toga Valance: A highly ornamental window top treatment, the toga valance looks like a squared-off swag valance. The irregular square pieces are draped on a rod to create an soft, foled effect similar to a toga.

Traverse Rod: A drapery rod that allows drapery panels to open and close, or traverse, across a window. Drapery panels are hung on drapery pins or hooks, which are threaded onto small plastic carriers on the inner side of the rod; the carriers then slide on a draw cord to open or close the draperies.

Trumpet Valance: An attractive window top treatment, the trumpet valance features a soft, bell-shaped crescent center and shorter sides. Similar to a crescent valance, trumpet valances typically are sold as single pieces but several are used to create a soft scalloped look at the window.

Twill: A twill fabric is a medium-weight, durable cloth woven in parallel diagonal lines. Many popular casual fabrics are twills, including denim, chino, herringbone, tweed and gabardine.

V

Valance: Any decorative treatment used to cover the upper section of the window. Valances are often used as the top layer of a layered window treatment, to conceal drapery hardware, or as a stand-alone decorative element.

Velvet: Velvet is an extremely soft luxurious fabric with a short dense pile. Velvet is a tufted fabric in which the loops are cut; it is generally woven from silk, cotton or rayon yarn.

Venetian Blind: Window coverings made from overlapping horizontal, held in place with strings, cords or fabric tapes. Venetian blinds can be constructed of wood, fabric, metal, vinyl or plastic.

Vertical Blinds: Window coverings made from overlapping vertical slats, or vanes, mounted on a horizontal track. Vertical blinds are constructed of wood, fabric, metal, vinyl or plastic; sometimes the vanes are plastic with fabric inserts. The slats are rotated to open and close the blinds, and are generally three and a half inches wide.

Viscose: Another term for rayon, also known as artificial silk. Viscose, or rayon has a soft hand, shiny finish and excellent draping qualities. Fabrics made using viscose must be dry-cleaned.

Voile: A lightweight, semi-sheer fabric made from cotton, polyester, silk or rayon, used in curtains. Voile is a relatively plain fabric, and often used as an under-treatment.

W

Waterfall Valance: Similar to a cascade valance, a waterfall valance features soft vertical pleated folds of fabric that create a waterfall appearance at the top or sides of a window. Waterfall valances are sold individually, but most often are used in odd-numbered multiples to create a decorative look at the window.

Y

Yarn Dyed/Piece Dyed: Yarn dyed fabrics are woven from previously-dyed yarns. Piece dyed fabrics are fabrics that are dyed after weaving.

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