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The Retailer’s Quick Guide to Buying Sheer Curtains

The Retailer’s Quick Guide to Buying Sheer Curtains

Almost all traditional and country home decorating schemes include some type of what shoppers commonly refer to as “curtains” to really finish a room with style.

In this content segment we are going to highlight a range of VHC Brands sheer curtains.

Sheer curtains are window treatments that do not have a lining. More on the difference between lined and sheer, or unlined, in a bit. Please note, window panels, or window curtains, or window drapes, or window treatment, is a huge topic. We could talk all day, and Pinterest all night, and just scratch the surface of this topic, but for time’s sake we will only cover the most popular VHC sheer curtains.

For VHC Brands, window treatments are an important product category and one that we continually refresh, with an expanding offering of unlined, sheer curtains. Sheers are particularly on trend for the ubiquitous farmhouse country look, with white, crème, and natural colors au currant for the farmhouse and cottage country aesthetic. While most of our sheer curtains fall under our April & Olive farmhouse brand, you also can find unlined options that fit the Prim home in our Mayflower Market brand as well.

A Little History

VHC started as a quilt wholesaler in the 1990s, and patchwork quilts are still a mainstay of our product selection. It took a while for us to add window treatment, or any kind of panels or curtains – we had big discussions about pillows and shams for about a decade before we ever thought about window coverings.

When we did add our first window items – cautiously – we only offered valances, and then in only a limited selection to match our bestsellers in country patchwork bedding. Nary a sheer or solid curtain or panel in sight! We admit to being a little slow sometimes, but we’ve had success along the way in the window category and with unlined window panels and valances, tiers and prairie curtains in particular.

What you may not know is window treatment – panels or “curtains”, swags, valances, “prairie” style drawstring curtains and swags, and valances – are our number 2 product group in company revenue, and are consistently high in unit volume along with our bestselling bedding. This means that retailers like you have found huge success selling VHC curtains, because they keep reordering more! We wouldn’t be VHC now without curtains - sheer or lined - they are such an integral part of our product story. So, we’ve come a long way, but we feel we are just getting started in this exciting home textile category.

Sheer or Lined?

Before we talk about the different kinds of sheer curtains and sheer window ensembles we have, let’s separate sheer curtains from lined curtains as mentioned earlier.

Sheer window panels or curtains are single fabric, and there is no plain color plain cloth lining on the back (which faces the outside world). Many sheer curtains filter the sunshine, rather than block or significantly decrease the light coming through the window, which is the whole point – and to most shoppers, the definition of “sheer”. It does get a bit circular, sheer meaning unlined and unlined meaning sheer, but we didn’t make those rules.

Our lined window treatments are “lined” with a solid plain color crème white backing. This helps to block light and eliminates visibility. The lining also adds weight and reduces the fading that can occur from direct sunlight exposure to any fabric over time. Lined window treatment tends to be heavier than sheers by weight, and the styles tend to be heavier visually. Think cozy or grounded in lined curtains, compared to airy and breezy both visually and by weight, in sheer curtains.

  • Sheer

  • Lined

Also, to throw out an old-fashioned phrase about our window treatment - they all fit the description “ready made”. Meaning, not made to order, fancy decorator (expensive) style. While we can make custom designed curtains to your specifications, our “custom” curtains are not one-offs but a collaborative production process. See the link to read more about how VHC Brands can make custom wholesale products.

We sell a lot of sheer curtains, and we sell a lot of lined curtains. Solid light or neutral colored sheer window treatment remains a perennial country favorite and as mentioned earlier, is really a great fit for the farmhouse and cottage country decorating look. Opinion: Completely skipping out on window panels or sheers of any kind in a decorating scheme is very modern, but just not practical. Window panels ground the décor in any room, and you will definitely notice their absence in a room that does not have them.

Decorator’s note: We sell all our sheer window treatment with either tab tops or a “rod pocket” for a curtain rod. Many decorators prefer curtain rings, which move easily across the curtain rod, and the curtain or panel or tier etc. is attached to the ring with a drapery hook. Just because our window SKUs have a rod pocket or tab top, they don’t have to be used – drapery hooks are A-OKAY. It’s your preference, like your flavor of coffee or skipping the creamer. Also, for wider windows, try 2 panels on either side. You will find this looks very nice, and gives very nice coverage of the full window while maintaining the beautiful drapery undulating gathered look that so many people enjoy from curtains. We mostly sell panels in a standard 40” width, so if your customers have a wider area to cover, they can order an extra panel set.

  • Tab Top

  • Rod Pocket

Another important point to note is all our panels, long “regular” or short, come with a pair of tie backs in the same fabric as the panel.

Our Sheer Collections

Here is a quick run down of all our sheer window treatment by collection (really, construction), with a brief explanation that we hope helps you make some merchandising or purchasing decisions. If you don’t want to read this much, here is a quick list of our sheer, unlined window offerings: Burlap, Tobacco Cloth, White Ruffled Sheer, Jasmine, Quinn, Willow, Natural Boucle, and Simple Life (coming Fall 2018).

If you feel you’ve learned enough, it’s time to shop our sheer curtains. Otherwise let’s look at some of the many options below!

Burlap Window

Burlap in natural colors has been a hot decorating item for several years now. When we first began experimenting with burlap, we tried out some “real” burlap and liked the look, but we didn’t like the coarse handfeel, or the fact that actual, real burlap just isn’t that great for window treatment if it doesn’t “drape” easily. (The word drape is a noun – as in “Look at my new drapes from VHC!”, but it’s also a verb – “Don’t you love how my new VHC burlap panels drape to the floor?”) Our solution was to keep the looser weave of burlap, but convert the actual fabric fibers to a softer cotton. No more scratchy burlap for the sake of trendy stylishness. And we never looked back. If you want to have a heavier look but still unlined, try our Burlap Chocolate window treatment collection, which includes valances, panel curtains, etc.

We now offer a broad variety of burlap window: Burlap Natural, Burlap with Black Stencil Stars, Burlap with Burgundy Stencil Stars, and Burlap with Black Check, Red Check, Burgundy Check, Green Check, and Navy Check. Look for more launches in our custom, exclusive burlap cotton weave this year and next.

Tobacco Cloth

The fun thing about country decorating, regardless of what’s trending or “hot” in a given year, is the uninterrupted, ongoing emphasis on repurposing things from their original, intended use. Our Tobacco Cloth Window Treatment, while made to be window panels and curtains and sheers etc., certainly falls into this category. Tobacco cloth is loosely (no pun intended) defined as gauzy, see-through-ish cotton fabric that was used by tobacco farmers to cover the delicate leaves of the tobacco plants, which kept the plants from burning in the hot sun, and also kept the moisture in. Think cheesecloth and you get the general picture. Lighter than our burlap window, and available in 3 colors: Natural, Antique White, and Khaki, Tobacco Cloth has become a hugely popular mainstay of our window covering assortment. Look for additions to our current size line up in future launches. We currently offer panels with tie backs, valances, prairie curtains, prairie swags, tiers and balloon valances. If you have been selling our burlap but not our tobacco cloth, you are likely missing out on some serious volume.

White Ruffled Sheer

Sometimes, in product development, things get named accurately but not very poetically. Such is the case with our “White Ruffled Sheer” window collection. What’s in the name is what you get: elegant ruffles and an airy sheerness – all on a luxurious white cotton base. We put a lot of love into the details, with rows of ruffles giving it the iconic country window treatment look.

Jasmine, Quinn & Willow

If you’re looking for some panels or valances that are more in line with updated farmhouse looks, these 3 collections are homerun selections. Jasmine window panels are tab-topped, with multiple rows of lace running horizontally to add just enough frill. The coordinating valance is ideal for kitchen curtains or if you like your windows with a little frill but essentially uncovered to let in tons of sunshine.

Quinn is a perfect example of fun, upgrade detailing that doesn’t always translate via catalog or website. The base fabric is crepe, which is finely crinkled in its finish and gives a lovely but subtle “decorator” effect. Lace embroidery sheer curtains are both old-school and on-trend, and our Quinn collection fits the bill with tone-on-tone lace appliqued horizontally. We decided on tab tops for Quinn, which keeps the look tailored and updated, and lets you show off that upcycled curtain rod.

Willow window panels and valances are the final members of our “embellished sheer window curtain” team. Willow is a very light-weight cotton, covered in repeating rows of hand embroidered crosses. If you’re all about texture, but love the calm, tonal look of farmhouse or cottage chic home decorating, try Willow for the flair without the frump. Tab top detailing completes the look with a tailored, thoughtful effect.

Natural Boucle

Our Boucle’, which is literally named for the type of weave we used (loose, fish-net, very open) is the lightest and loosest of the sheer curtains we offer. We love this romantic but clean look – how often do you get that in one piece of material? While boucle is one of our most recent launches, it has a timelessness that speaks for itself. While we tend towards cotton in most of what we offer, we used a cotton/rayon blend for our Natural Boucle to keep the handfeel and weight whisper-soft and airy.

Sheer window curtains, whether a full-length panel, or a simple valance, are a wonderful way to dress up and add balance to any room.

We hope you enjoy your VHC window treatment as much as we enjoy designing and selling them, and be sure to watch for new launches in our popular unlined, sheer window treatment collections in 2018 and beyond. If you are as excited about our offerings as we are, why not take a moment to become an authorized VHC dealer at no opening cost?