How to make drapes for professional results

There are just a few essentials you need to know. These are covered in this part on how to make drapes. If you've never done any sewing before, I suggest you practice on some old fabric. That's the best way to learn!

Working with fabrics

The first thing you need to know is so simple you're probably surprised I've mentioned it at all! But it's important to become skilled in all aspects of drape making.

So how to cut plain fabric is covered, as well as the next section on cutting patterned fabric. Yes, the actual cutting is easy (you know how to use scissors, right?) but there's a few terms you may not know, and a few hints and tips on getting things correct from the start.

Next, you'll need to be able to sew the fabrics together on a sewing machine. Which means learning about seams, in particular with reference to drapes. Although there are many ways to seam fabrics, you'll only need to know two of them to make great looking drapery!

Much of the work in making professional draperies is achieved by hand sewing. Here you'll learn a few of the stitch types used. This is an important aspect of drape making, so I'd suggest you practice these until can produce really neat stitches.

Working with drapery

corner of drape

Corner of drape shown from back

Good drapery is dependant on many small factors. One of these is how the corners - especially on the bottom of the drapes - are finished. Not only do badly finished corners look unsightly, but they prevent the drapes from hanging at their best. There are just two ways to sew a corner using a miter, and it's easy to do.

It's a good idea to get everything ready when you come to making up your drapery. So get your linings and interlinings (if you're using interlining as well) ready.

Lined drapes are great for smaller windows, or where you don't want too much weight in the curtains. Here's the way to assemble and make them.

On the other hand, to get a full professional effect in larger windows, the best solution is to have your drapes lined and interlined. I suggest this method to clients whenever possible.

Using interlining as well as lining is not very much more work than just using lining. And the effect you'll get is much better, especially on the bottom hem.

There are many ways to make the drape headings. You can sew the styling tape by machine or make the pleats by hand. There'a a whole section about headings.

"Little things mean a lot", and there's a simple process you can do when you've completed your headings to make sure you get the best results from your drapes.

Tiebacks can give your drapes that final finish. They are useful for keeping drapes in position if they are likely to be moved by people walking past them, or by a breeze from an open window. Or just use them to get a pleasing curve from the drapes to enhance your window.

Installation and hanging

This is one of the most important parts of how to make drapes. It's no good working for hours and producing wonderful drapery if it doesn't hang properly.

The hardware you install is a key element in this. Fit the hardware correctly, and your drapery will benefit. You'll find more information about fitting the hardware in the Preparation section.

Hanging the drapes isn't difficult, but here are a few hints and tips which can make all the difference.

To summarize...

Wonderful drapery is achieved by getting lots of little details correct. Pay close attention to each stage and you will be able to get professional results.