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What are the benefits of hand-sewn soft furnishings versus machine-sewn?

From the moment you start the process of planning to revamp a room in your home; there are many decisions to make starting with choosing your new colour scheme, deciding whether to use existing or new furniture; and considering which accessories will match your new room. However, when it comes to choosing soft furnishings for your home, the choice of materials, textures, patterns and colours can be overwhelming, let alone the dilemma of whether to go for machine-sewn (mass produced) or hand-sewn curtains or Roman blinds. To help you decide which is the best option, we thought it would be useful to let you know the benefits of hand-sewn soft furnishings versus machine-sewn.

Prior to the mass production of the mechanical sewing machine in the 1850s, women did all of their sewing by hand – from clothes for their family through to the soft furnishings for their homes.  As cheaper, mass-produced fashion then became more widely accessible and people could just buy a new dress or shirt at a store, sewing then became a less common skill. However, with an emphasis on trying to become more sustainable in our lives (and the on-going cost-of-living crisis); we are now seeing a resurgence of people buying and/or adapting second-hand clothes and soft furnishings to save money and the long-term future of our planet.

When it comes to soft furnishings for your home, there are pros and cons for both hand-sewn and machine-sewn curtains or Roman blinds; which is why we will run through both options to help you make the right decision for your home.

Hand-sewn curtains or Roman blinds
These are curtains and blinds which are hand-sewn by experienced and skilled seamstresses. It is a very traditional, yet personal approach to curtain and blind making and is often time-consuming.

Machine-sewn curtains or Roman blinds
Machine-sewn curtains and blinds are the default method for many large curtain manufacturers which enables them to produce curtains quickly and efficiently in large quantities.

What are the benefits and how do they compare?

With hand-made curtains and blinds, each individual layer of fabric is interlinked with invisible interlocking stitches and corners are joined with a mitre joint or seam. Weights are then placed inside the curtains which means they not only drape better, but there is no puckering from tight stitching so, they also hang better. However, interlining stitches and weights into machine-sewn curtains can result in bulky and untidy corners and edges, due to the necessary order and method of construction.

If you opt for hand-sewn soft-furnishings, you can sew in a layer of interlining to give both softness and a luxurious look. This soft fleecy fabric was historically just for insulation purposes and is stitched between the lining and face fabric. However, even the most modern and draught-free homes can benefit from interlined curtains as they also help protect the face fabric from damage caused by sunlight thereby, extending the life of your curtains. This interlining is also beneficial in children’s bedrooms, as it naturally cuts out light whilst providing a thermal layer that keeps the warmth in and help save money on your energy bill. Whereas with machine-sewn curtains and blinds they rarely have the individual layers tailored to your individual preferences and tailored needs.

Less visible stitching
Hand-sewn Roman blinds look great as there is no stitching visible from the front which you get with machine-sewn blinds. They also get sewn with a blackout fused interlining between the face fabric and the lining with the pockets which gives the blind structure and a much nicer finish.

Tailored to your exact requirements
Hand-sewn curtains or blinds will be made to your exact requirements, whereas machine-sewn curtains or blinds will just be made to a generic size chart. Curtains or blinds can be tailor-made to suit the exact requirements of the window they will be dressing and can be adapted to cope with uneven floors, unusual shaped windows and any other potential problems. You also have the option of incorporating a hand-made curtain heading in your design, which is an alternative to the regular pencil pleat and not only looks smart but encourages the curtain to fall into even waves.

Presentable finish
Machine-sewn curtains will always present a professional finish, giving clean lines, and a presentable look every time. Whereas, the quality of hand-sewn curtains comes down to the skill of the particular person you are using. This is why it is essential to research and read reviews from other customers before deciding on your curtain designer. When it comes to machine-sewn Roman blinds, they will have stitches at every rod point which, within a year or two of use, will pucker and distort the fabric leaving the blinds looking old and tired.  Whereas a handmade Roman blind will not have any stitching on the face fabric so, the fabric you have chosen will not be compromised and will continue to look like new for many years to come.

Hand-sewn soft furnishings will be a bespoke, tailored product for you and your home which will give it a quality personalised finish. You can be sure no-one else will have the same curtains or blinds as you and they will be unique to your home. Whereas, if you buy off the peg machine-sewn soft furnishings they are going to be in thousands of homes around the country.

Machine-sewn curtains or blinds will always work out cheaper as they are made in bulk. Sewing by hand is very labour intensive, so will naturally incur a higher cost. However, it all depends on the fabric and size of the curtains and hand-sewn Roman blinds can be a very cost-effective option as they use less fabric, thereby giving you the option to select that rather expensive fabric. Bear in mind that hand-sewn soft furnishings will potentially last you for many years to come, whereas machine-sewn may need replacing more frequently.

If you need your curtains in a hurry, then machine-sewn is the way to go as it is typically more efficient and machines can sew seams in seconds. However, it’s worth pointing out that hand-made curtain designers, under the right circumstances, can produce curtains between 4-6 weeks depending on their work load at the time and staff capacity.

Which is better for you – hand-sewn or machine-sewn?
Hopefully detailing the benefits of both options has helped you decide, but to summarise, machine-made curtains are fast, efficient and cost-effective. While hand-sewing the curtains and blinds is more time-consuming and means they are therefore more expensive, the overall quality is so much better, pleasing to the eye and long lasting. You therefore, end up with a more detailed and higher quality end product. However, it all comes down to personal preference and the individual budget and time-frame that you need the finished curtains or blinds in.

How Alle Interiors can help
Alle Interiors is a member of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF). If you use Alle Interiors to hand-sew your curtains or blinds; you can be sure you are getting quality products that will last for many years to come, but please do check out our customer testimonials on the website.

Curtains with different heading types, tie-backs, Roman blinds, cushions are all individually hand-sewn in our studio to exacting standards. This includes from traditional through to contemporary design. Poles, tracks and tie-backs can be sourced separately to meet all your needs. An eyelet making service is available for all curtain makers.

Client testimonial
“We absolutely love all of our blinds by Alle Interiors! The fabrics used are very high quality and they make all of our windows look beautiful. I would highly recommend Alle. She is a lovely lady and extremely hard-working. Great service and amazing products!
– Gemma


If you would like some advice on a particular room or perhaps the whole style of your home; this is where Alle Interiors can really help you make your house feel like a home. Please go to www.alle-interiors.co.uk to check out our products and collections and the services we offer.

Notes: –
Alle Interiors is a small creative team providing a one-stop-shop for all your interior design and soft furnishing requirements with customer service their utmost priority.

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Tel: +44 (0)1908 299 358
Mob: 07712 150 721
Email: alle@alle-interiors.co.uk

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