Prepare to make great custom drapery!

There are two very important aspects to making custom drapery. If you ignore these it doesn't mean you'll fail. But you'll make life more difficult for yourself, and you'll find that errors are more likely to happen.

  1. Where you work
  2. How you work

Where you work

1. Do you have a separate room you can use as a workroom? This would be ideal. You'd be able to set it up just as you want.

Much of your time will be spent doing repetitive work, but occasionally you'll need to concentrate. Having a space of your own will prevent distractions, and therefore mistakes.

Tip

If you do ever find yourself interrupted during a specific task, when you return to it always begin again. Or at least re-evaluate what you've done. It's so easy to assume you are picking up where you left off, only to discover later on that you missed a stage!

2. If you don't have a separate room available, could you use part of a room?

For example, you may have a room set aside for general use, and you could use one corner of it for your custom drapery. The size of the area you'll need will depend on a number of factors, but see the next paragraph.

Once you've decided on where you can work, take a look at the drapery workroom page. I've listed all the essential things you'll need - far fewer than you might think!

(You might easily think the advice given here is unnecessary. But it's based on observing how a professional commercial workroom functions. They have to operate with more than one person, and without making mistakes.)

How you work

Sewing tools

This website is about making quality custom drapery, it's not a tutorial on sewing. There are whole sites, books, magazines and courses you can take to learn that vast subject.

To make great drapes you'll only need a small subset of sewing skills. I'll show you in the 'How to' section all you'll need to know.

What you will need are the right sewing tools for the job. And as with workroom equipment, there are fewer than you might think. You can even start out with a few essentials, and build up as you progress to more advanced projects.

You'll need to machine sew seams on fabric, lining and interlining, and I've included some advice to help you get the best results.

Window treatment proportions

How far up should your drapes go? Where should you fit the pole, or track for swags?

You'll need to decide all this before you measure, so the drapery window coverings page illustrates how to make these decisions. Getting the proportions right is vital for great looking drapery.

Measuring

Once you have your workroom area setup and the correct tools for the job, you'll need to be able to measure. Measuring is such a simple thing to do, isn't it?

But if it's simple, why do so many people get it wrong?

When it comes to drapery measurements there are methods you can use to minimise mistakes.

Fabric quantity

Once you have the correct measurements, you'll need to work out the drapery yardage needed. This is not difficult. There are some useful ways you can calculate this, and also some ways to avoid errors creeping in!

One feature of making drapery which can cause problems for beginners is heading depth, or heading size. This is a simple concept, but important to understand.

Install your hardware

There are three basic methods you'll use for your drapery hardware.

  1. A curtain track only, either plastic or metal.
  2. A rod or pole.
  3. Support for a top treatment. In this case you'll have a mounting board, sometimes known as a cornice board or dust board. This one method will allow you to have any sort of top treatment - a cornice, valance or swags.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that quality custom drapery only begins when you start sewing your fabrics together. Having the right workspace and equipment, and knowing how to measure correctly will get you off to a good start.