The Window Covering Lady
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Dotted Swiss Curtains

Though you won't find Scarlett O'Hara wearing dotted Swiss curtains as an elegant dress, they have been around a long time and have decorated many a home. They tend to be muted and lend a cheery or bright look to any room. They are more informal so not right for just any occasion.

Dotted Swiss curtains cast an especially cheery glow over any room. And they are just so much fun! Furthermore, dotted Swiss curtains seem to glow, with bright dots of dazzling light sparkling in midair. They are considered a bit retro, which adds to their sense of fun.

Dotted Swiss curtains consist of sheer, white or pastel fabrics into which dots are embroidered; the pattern is built right in! The term "dotted Swiss" refers to the fabric, not to its use in curtains. They are made of fabric embroidered by Schiffli machines. The word "schiffli", in a Swiss dialect of the German language, means "little boat". That is exactly what the shuttle on a Schiffli embroidery machine resembles. But it takes more than frilly fabrics to make dotted Swiss curtains.

Curtains of dotted Swiss take many fancy forms. One common arrangement is a blouson (bloused, fluffed out) valance over a pair of tied-back middle-split dotted Swiss curtains. Cafe style dotted Swiss curtains are also popular. Often, you will see both styles combined in one extravagantly entertaining window treatment.

Dotted Swiss curtains are always hung through a rod pocket that runs along the top edge of the curtain. White rods are typically used. Dark-colored rods would show through the sheer white material and contrast with the light feeling the curtains convey.

While white is a favorite color for dotted Swiss curtains, it is not unusual to see dotted Swiss curtains in pastel green, blue, pink, and other colors with white dots. Some of the most dramatic dotted Swiss curtains are two-toned, with a white background setting off bold dots of red or black.

Dotted Swiss curtains are easy to find at department stores, home improvement stores, big-box stores, and online. American Blinds is one Web site store that sells dotted Swiss curtains, although only in white of off-white. The Bed and Bath Store has a wider selection of colors and styles, including some choice swag treatments and valances.

Dotted Swiss fabric is available for those who want to try their hand at making their very own dotted Swiss curtains. Sold by Country Curtains, among other online vendors, dotted Swiss fabric comes in white or natural polyester, suitable for dyeing.

Dotted Swiss curtains have a long history. You'll find dotted Swiss curtains mentioned in the description of a house in the 1907 novel, The Craftsman, by Gustav Stickley. "The windows are all casements and the sashes are painted white. They are curtained with simple little dotted Swiss curtains tied back at just the right angle." Sinclair Lewis wrote in Our Mr. Wrenn, "There are dotted Swiss curtains at the basement windows and Irish point curtains on the first floors." Dotted Swiss curtains were so popular near the turn of the century that they became a common literary device for summoning up an image of a perfect, cozy home.

Today, dotted Swiss curtains are most often found in bathrooms and kitchens, though children's rooms are common too. They seem almost too quaint for many modern homes. But dotted Swiss curtains add a friendly, warm touch of elegance to dining rooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and formal salons. So give dotted Swiss curtains a try!

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