What makes drapery designs different?

"Just about everything!", I hear you say.

Well, yes, but drapery designs fall into distinct sections. Taking these sections one at a time will make your task much easier.

Headings not only have to look good, they also play an important role in how your drapes hang.

Then there are different styles, and which style you select can make a big difference to how you dress your windows.

Finally, there are top treatments, and this is where you're spoilt for choice.


Curtain headings

How you head up your drapes or curtains will have an immediate effect on your style. But only on one condition:

Your curtain headings have to be visible - if you're using some form of top treatment it won't matter what heading you use!

heading for draperies

Some of the headings you can use.

So here's your first decision made. If you use a top treatment which hides the headings of your curtains, you might as well make your headings as simple as possible. A standard heading, using either a draw-up heading tape or sewing a standard heading by hand is all you need.

But if the top of the curtains will be seen because they are hung from a track or rod, then you have a number of options.

Many professional workrooms have their own preferred heading style. They will also be able to work with the main alternatives which are shown in the illustration.

You can buy styling tapes for all these headings, which you machine onto the tops of your curtains. You then pull up the cords and voila! These work very well. But for some of these styles you can get an improved effect by hand-sewing them.

There are also various form of slotted heading which fit over a rod or pole.

Curtain styles

Curtains basically hang down, so is there much you can do with them?

First, where to they hang to? You can have them half an inch off the floor, just touching, or 'puddled' by making them so that a good six inches sits on the floor.

puddled drapes

Drapes 'puddled' on floor.

Then you can have your curtains 'tied back' with shaped stiffening covered with fabric, so they form gentle curves on the inside edges. Or use 'hold backs' which are usually metal extensions which basically do the same job as tiebacks.

An extreme form of holding back curtains is the 'tuxedo' style. Here the inside bottom corners of the curtains are pulled to the front and sides so part of the reverse of the curtains are shown. By using colored linings you can get some really theatrical effects.

Top treatments

This is where drapery designs take off! There's no limit to the number of variations you can have. Your options are to have an upholstered cornice, a valance or swags. All of these styles offer a multitude of shapes and finishes, and making all of them is something you can achieve!

I've created pages specifically for these topics, and you'll find more details about them on the swags, cornices and valances pages.

And you'll be able to make all these draperies!

Which drapery designs you select will depend on your personal preferences and how much time you want to spend on them.

If you're just starting out making your own draperies, then you may want to begin with a simple project. Once you've gained some confidence you can then progress to more advanced projects.

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