What type of lining should I put in my curtains?

What lining should my curtains have?

What differences are there between linings?

What is the difference between “lining” and “interlining”?

Does “Thermal lining” work?


There are so many questions regarding curtain linings and hopefully some are answered below for you.  But also in this blog we will explain the main types of linings and their uses.


Cotton lining.

(sometimes referred to as a well known brand name of “Solpruf”.)

This lining is fairly light in appearance and lets light through. It can have a sheen on it and will give a moderate sun protection, but it will eventually shred/degrade in a very sunny window. It will finish the inside of your curtains neatly, but wouldn’t give any real bulk to your curtains. So the main benefits are moderate sun protection to the main face fabric and neatness from the inside.

Cotton-Polyester mix lining.

This is a slightly fatter cotton feel fabric that can give a lovely bounce to fabric that needs a bit more than a soft cotton. It works well in curtains that you fancy a bit of bounce, but without the extra bulk that an interlining will produce. It will also give a longer life before shredding in the sun. It is a great choice for a re-line and can give life back to a pair of curtains that are looking a little lack luster. This is especially effective on long and wide bay curtains and with heavy cotton fabric.

Bonded Lining.

This lining comes in a standard or a blackout version and both are an excellent choice for machine stitched, well structured curtains. Great for when you want the bulk and warmth but not the hand stitched interlined finish on your curtains. If you are used to making your own curtains, but want the extra bulk without changing your own method this one could definitely be for you. The drape is a little stiffer, but not unworkable in your window. It responds well to dressing and steaming into place. Our tip for this would be for a single turn up hem, or a binding.

Lining and separate Interlining.

This choice of lining will make the softest, plumpest and most luxurious curtains ever. The blanket qualities of an interlining will always give the face fabric a beautiful drape quality. The construction of these curtains whether they are machine finished or hand finished will take longer than any other lining type. The lining can be blackout, cotton, cotton-polyester mix, self-lined or thermal. The drape on all of them will be dictated by the weight and drape of your interlining.

The “all cotton interlinings” will always drape with a heavier drop and physical weight than the synthetic Sarille interlinings.  This is useful to know, especially when it comes to choosing poles and tracks. Sarille does not add a significant amount of extra weight to your curtains like you would expect. However, cotton Domette plus a cotton lining will probably double the weight of a medium weight cotton fabric. So choose wisely and with consideration would be our advice.

Self- fabric or complimentary lining.

Some times it is important to use the same or complimentary fabric on the back as on the front. This can be done for any number of reasons. I believe the origin for this was way back in time when it was felt that in order to show wealth, you not only had to afford glass for your windows, it was thought that showing off with beautiful fabrics to the street was also required. “Kerb appeal” is really what we are talking about.

There are some situations that a self or complimentary lining would be beautifully placed to give a gorgeous entrance. Somewhere like the view through a glass entrance lobby, or curtains viewed from a conservatory into a lounge. A door curtain is also a good place to play with this option.


This is a picture above of a gold lining that showed through the glass doors leading into a beautifully snug family lounge that had the gold in the pictures that you can see as you peep through. Simple, but elegant and infinitely more inviting than looking at dull off white lining. Ticking is a common option for this finish as it is hardwearing and attractive without too much tendency to fade.


Thermal Lining.

Thermal lining is really best used with an interlining. The fabric has the softest drape and feels like the finest glove leather that you can imagine and yet it blocks draughts like a door whilst looking beautiful. This is a hero lining if you want draught proof without blackout lining. Windows that are single glazed, old and original, maybe a little draughty and rattle a lot will definitely benefit from the blocking qualities of this lining. Thermal lining doesn’t have any blackout properties at all. This is great when you need to block draughts, but don’t want to block the light. The colours of the sunset and sunrise will still filter through and flood the room with light.

This lining needs to be “seen to be believed”. It is a fully synthetic lining that acts like draped silk, but doesn’t hold a crease and gives a gloriously effective thermal barrier.

Something to consider with this lining is to put a radiator cover/shelf on if your curtains will be stopping short over said radiator, or stitch the lining to the curtain all the way along the hem to prevent the heat from creating a hot air balloon effect.

Blackout Lining.

This is probably one the most useful linings to use. It has thermal, blackout and structural qualities. There are so many finishes and widths of Blackout lining that you can get. You can even get some lovely coloured versions of it. It is this large choice of blackout linings and associated fabrics that can be the downfall of a well-considered pair of curtains.

It easy to get carried away with the choices offered, but the over riding consideration must always be about the drape, not the colour.  I know this may sound contradictory to a designers point of view, but it is essential that you take the advice of your curtain maker on this. Your maker will have so much experience in this field that it would be foolhardy to ignore their advice.

In the early days of black out linings, makers had to contend with rubberised sheets of cardboard that passed for black out lining. And the clients had to put up with triangular drawn back curtains. The degree of blackout was governed by how many times the rubber went through a machine that glued a heavy flock to it. This is referenced in the manufacturing world as 1 pass, 2 pass and 3 pass. The more passes the stiffer it got. Times have changed, technology has progressed and blackout linings are now soft and pliable. I am pleased to say that although the awful stuff can still be bought, and generally very cheaply, the use of it is now very rare in the modern world.

There is a whole range of blackouts now that can pass the drape test as well as the dark room test. This is excellent news for all concerned because it means the curtain maker doesn’t have to fight with the sheet of cardboard anymore and the curtain fitter doesn’t have to recommend that you keep your curtains tied for a month of Sundays in the hope that the linings will bend to the will of gravity. So joy is abound in the curtain makers world.

If you don’t like the look or feel of a blackout lining and would prefer to see cotton lining on the reverse, there is a range of woven blackout/dim out fabrics that can do a great job of dimming out the light and can easily be used as an interlining. This is a great option to consider. These linings can also be used as a contrast lining as they come in a myriad of different colours as well as standard lining colours. You won’t necessarily be offered this in the standard arsenal of lining samples, but it is worth asking your curtain maker about them. They are especially good for Lounge, Conservatory or Door curtains that need to be plump, blackout, and thermal without using traditional blackout lining.