How to Line Silk Drapes

Stacks of silk fabric
  • 2-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Silk drapes
Lining fabric
Measuring tape

All silk drapes require a lining in order to hang properly and block out unwanted sunlight. Linings can also insulate the window against heat and cold, making the home more energy efficient and making linings sensible for any type of drapery. When silk drapes are being used, though, a lining is even more important due to the delicate nature of the silk fabric.

Lining silk drapes is essential because the delicate fabric can be damaged by sunlight streaming in through the window. They are also susceptible to moisture which can result from condensation on the window in colder weather. Even oils from your fingertips can damage silk fabric. Protecting your investment with lining will also improve the overall appearance of the drapes, adding body and substance to your window treatment.

Step 1 - Choose Lining Fabric

Since silk is a lightweight fabric, it is best to choose a lining that is medium to heavyweight. The lining should also filter UV rays, protecting the silk from sun-related damage. Fabrics, such as flannel, provide UV protection to prevent fading, body to provide proper hanging, and insulation. The type of lining needed may vary depending on the amount of light the window receives. It may also depend on your climate, with colder areas requiring a thicker lining. Heavier weight fabrics will also reduce the amount of ambient light in the room, though, so choosing the right lining for your project is largely a matter of personal preference.

Step 2 - Measure

gold silk drapes tied back

The amount of lining fabric required will depend on the size of your silk drapes. For the purpose of purchasing, fabric is measured not in feet or inches, but in yardage. It is often sold only in whole yardage, as well, meaning you might have to purchase a whole yard even if the project only calls for 1/4 of that. Measuring and estimating fabric requirements carefully will prevent unnecessary overspending on your project. Lining fabric comes in 66-inch widths, so it is important to choose an actual lining fabric to ensure the proper measurements as well as the best results. Most drapery is single-width, meaning that each panel is 20 to 27 inches wide, with a pair being 40 to 54 inches wide. This means that two linings can be cut from a single length of fabric.

You will need to add 10 inches; two inches for the top and eight inches for a doubled four-inch hem at the bottom, to the finished length of your drapes. A 72-inch long drapery panel will therefore require an 82-inch long piece of lining fabric. This amounts to 2.28 yards, often making it necessary to purchase three yards for a single panel, but only requiring five yards for a set of four panels. This is the reason that yardage estimation is so critical in the purchase of fabric.

Step 3 - Cut

Cut the curtain lining fabric carefully with your sewing shears. Because one length of fabric will make two lengths of lining, fold the fabric in half. Press the fabric along the fold with your iron and open back up. Then cut straight along the crease that you formed by pressing.

Special Considerations - Pleats

Room with large windows and silk drapery

Even if your silk drapes are pleated you will be able to make a solid lining across the back of the panel. It is not necessary to remove the pleats. No additional fabric, then, will need to be purchased in the case of pleated drapery.