Before you run out and buy painters drop cloths to adorn your bare windows, there are a few things you should know first. I know, I know. It's in! Just because it's in doesn't mean it's the right thing for you.
I just bought 6 of these for a client who wanted a more casual look to her room. So I learned my lesson the hard way. I hope to save you the same agony.
1. Wash them! These things stink to high heaven! I'd even wash them twice for good measure.
2. Remove the hem. I don't recommend using the hem. The cloths are not straight on grain which means the hem is not on grain. Remove the hem either by ripping out the stitches or pull a thread just above and straighten the grain.
3. They will sometimes be stained. One of mine looked like it had tire marks on it. Didn't come out in the wash, and it was on the right side of the fabric. I wound up having to use the wrong side. No biggie though. They look the same front and back.
4. Watch out for the seams. Some of the larger cloths will come with seams. I had three different types of seams. See picture below. Yes, one had a vertical seam, the other had both vertical and horizontal, and the third had two horizontal seams (my picture does not accurately reflect seam placement on third one). Why does this matter you ask? Because when they are seamed, they are not stitched on the straight grain. Why should they be? They aren't made for drapes. Plus if you bought 9'x12' (which I did) thinking you'd have the 12' for length, you'd be wrong if you happened upon the horizontal seams. These are big bulky flat felled, double stitched seams too. They are not easy to hem. You also can't tell what you are getting until you open the package. If you must buy them, get them large enough so you have the length needed no matter what direction the seams run.
5. Very thick fabric. Better have a machine that can handle bulky seams especially if you keep the original seams. I used 4" double folded hems top and bottom and had to stitch over those seams on several of these. I wound up with 8 total panels.
6. They ravel! I used double folded hems, so it wasn't a problem. But the raw edges need to be finished if you turn up only once. Don't cut until you are ready to stitch.
7. Allergen. If you have allergies, be cautious. I'm allergic to burlap, and these things made me itch and sneeze just like burlap.
8. They shrink. I lost 7" in width after I washed them. I had ample length, so I didn't measure the difference.
9. They have lots of nubs. You might like that look and that's great. Some of the nubs have loose strings, and YOU DO NOT want to cut or pull those strings. If you like them hanging, fine. Otherwise weave them to the back with a needle.
10. Different weights. Lowes has 8oz and 10oz weights. I recommend the 8 oz. The 8 oz have ample weight and density. I really think the 10 oz would be overkill.
So there you have it. It's a very casual look that's really in right now. Go for it if you must. It's a lot of labor to rip out those seams to straighten the grain which is my biggest concern with them. I'd rather spare all that time and buy some great linen fabric from fabrics-store. My time is worth more.
Feel free to ask questions or submit comments.
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