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Voile is a soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. The term comes from French, and means veil. Because of its light weight, the fabric is mostly used in soft furnishing. In hot countries, voile is used as window treatments and mosquito nets. When used as curtain material, voile is similar to net curtains.
Voiles are available in a range of patterns and colours (unlike net curtains, which are generally white or off-white). Because of their semitransparent quality, voile curtains are made using specially manufactured heading tape that is less easily noticeable through the fabric. Voile fabric is also used in dress-making, either in multiple layers or laid over a second material. Voile is very similar to chiffon, which is also used in dress-making.
Light penetrating sheer fabrics include muslin, voile, and lace. These can be broadly divided into two groups based on method of production. The first are the natural fibres such as cotton and silk. The second group is prepared from a man-made fibre. This kind of synthetic sheer is extracted from raw material such as wood pulp or petroleum. They are robust and sturdy yet still delicate looking and tend to take dye well. They are often used as window dressing as they fall into soft folds that make attractive scarf swags.
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