When we moved into this house thirty years ago, there was no shower in the 1890 bathroom. Once the plumbing was fitted, I asked a merchant of interiors to make up a ceiling-mounted hospital track and mount it over the clawfoot tub. The ceiling is too high for a standard shower curtain, so the vendor made up a white nylon curtain that transformed an ordinary facility into elegant space. White nylon transmits beautiful light, and the curtain sufficed to cover the window in the bath as well. At night, an opaque roller shade blocked shadow play.
After a few years and numerous rounds of washing and bleach, mildew took its toll. I replaced the curtain with a pair of queen-sized polyester sheets, doubling the larger hems and fitting them with brass grommets. The sheets were surprisingly durable. Polyester is an archival quality fabric, but it, too, is vulnerable to mildew.
I cut off the bottom hems of a second set of polyester curtains to improve drying time. When that set grew shabby, I replaced them with a white plastic tarp reinforced with coarsely woven threads. It transmitted the most beautiful light of all but was too boardly for convenient use.
I tried a flimsier tarp, one of non-woven fabric bonded to thin plastic. It cost $6 as opposed to the original nylon's $120 and served well for most of a year. The next iteration was a textured translucent plastic drop cloth that cost all of $5 and, so far, is just fine.
I might fool around with silicon-impregnated nylon from an outdoor fabric specialist next time around.
-30-More after the jump.