Sensible summer curtains (1902)

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The sensible arrangement of summer window hangings

Philosophers aver that the window often proclaims the householder. There is a moral in this for window decorators.

Perchance the windows that exhibit the extremes of curtain and shade novelties, while denoting a progressive designer, also indicate one who does not belong to the most exclusive circle of society, since high society always is conservative.

vintage-decor-summer-curtains-1902 (1)The woman whose curtains are hopelessly behind the fashion is pretty certain to be a rather dull, unobserving individual, set against all innovations. Of course, this does not apply to the woman who makes use of her particular kind of window decorations simply because she cannot afford to vary them with every season.

In most American houses, the heavy curtains and portieres which have helped to keep out the drafts of winter are removed and lighter and more hangings delicate are substituted at the beginning of summer. Almost all women buy their thin curtains in the spring, because at that time, the manufacturers are sending out new fabrics and designs.

Just at present the Arabian are the most modish of lace curtains. They are a deep ecru and harmonize beautifully with any interior. Nottingham lace is most extensively sold because it is made in all qualities and is within the means of the humble suburbanite no less than the millionaire. Other popular lace hangings are in renaissance and Brussels.

The best curtains avoid heavy and cumbersome designs for the reason that lace hangings are meant only to outline the frame of the window and exclude the gaze of passerby, not to shut out light and air.

Many of the finest lace curtains shown in the shops consist merely of a foundation of heavy net with a bound edge and a wide border of appliqued bowknots, baskets or oriental lamps. Owing to the Pompadour revival, everything is considered modish. Carnations, poppies, lilies and roses, either in clusters or in baskets, are the most pleasing patterns. Nouveau art designs have, of course, been incorporated into lace hangings, and a very good impression they make.

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Lace window hangings and colored point curtains

One of the most difficult forms of designing is that which provides patterns for window hangings.

The adoption of colors in the manufacture of the so-called point lace curtains is one of the innovations of the year. On a net groundwork of white, cream or ecru, cut out patterns in colored cloth are appliqued. The colored design appears only as a deep border, and a very rich effect is sometimes achieved.

The wary housewife will be apt to consider the colored point curtains well before buying because they are not adapted to stand frequent laundering, and the beauty of a lace curtain is its immaculate neatness.

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There is a new variety of openwork muslin that is enticingly draped in the stores. A beautiful tint of leaf green in openwork is exquisitely combined with linen shades. As a curtain’s value in summer is measured by its ability to let in light and air and protect from prying glances, the lacelike-green affairs cannot be recommended, since they are certain to cast a shaded quality of ligrt throughout the room should they be let down over the windows. If a sash curtain is put up as a protection, it is likely to interfere with the free circulation of air, since it is not moved forward by every breeze.

Simply considered as drapings for the frames, the openwork “Crete” curtains are very handsome and effective, but they are not useful summer window hangings.

Speaking of openwork muslins, it may be in place to mention a pretty quality of printed curtain material which shows a line of drawnwork between the bands of colored and corded threads. Muslin curtains are to be more popular this summer than they have ever been. They are very English and, what is more important, quite inexpensive. A handsome printed muslin may be purchased at 35 cents a yard. Delft blue and white form a modish combination of colors, and nearly all smart effects for summer furnishing follow this scheme.

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Irish lace and Swiss curtains

Swiss curtains with fluted ruffles make a happy finish for a summer bedroom window, while the thin muslin ones crossed by bands of cording are suitable for almost any apartment. Designs in raised embroidery crossing muslines in wide bands, together with scattered sprays of embroidered flowers and bowknots, are favored patterns. Narrow acts or frills trim these. Plain linens decorated with wide insertions of crocheted Irish or honiton lace are extremely smart. Irish crochet lace and honiton are being revived owing to the place which they hold in the favor of England’s queen, who has practically decided that they shall be the coronation laces.

Combinations of silk and lace are frequent on hangings. There is a particular elegance about some of those of a shaded cream tone. Oriental in manufacture, most of them are quite expensive and beyond the means of persons who like to preserve some sort of harmony in the character of their window hangings.

It is a safe principle to insist that curtains should harmonize at all the windows overlooking the street. Nothing is more gauche than to see half a dozen different patterns or qualities staring at one from the same house. The owner would better economize on the parlor hangings in order that all of the windows may be finished alike.

Shades are as important a consideration as curtains. Linen ones are preferred, those of a dull ecru being most popular. Fine white linen trimmed with lace is admired by many, but an inspection of the windows of the most fashionable houses will most often discover a perfectly plain shade with a sash curtain, behind which a second curtain is draped.

Pompadour silks and Pompadour prints are of course much favored this season. Windows are hung with them in fanciful drapings, a variance of lace or embroidery being usually suspended from the top of the window. The print curtains vary in fashion more frequently than the plain ones and are therefore less desirable. – Ethel J. Maxfield

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