How to make border drapery trimmings

Using fabric for bordered drapery trimmings is one of the easiest ways to enhance your drapes. And the best news is, it's one of the least expensive ways of doing it.

There are many ways of making drapery trim, but the following method will give professional results while allowing for any width of trim.

What fabric should you use?

To get the best results try to select trim fabric which is of similar quality to that of your drapes. The trim will become part of the drape, so the closer it is to the main fabric, the better the result.

For the vertical trim, cut down the length of the fabric. For the top or bottom trim, cut the fabric across the width. If your drapes have more than one width, join the top or bottom trim so the seams line up with the seams on the main fabric.

Calculate the amount for the drapery trimmings

turning allowancesAllowances for turnings

This illustration shows the details of a drape before it is made up. It shows all the turnings marked out with standard allowances.

We'll be replacing part of this main fabric with the trim fabric.

You can use this method if you want a single border down one side, along the base, or the top, or on all four sides.

The following example is for drapery trimmings down the inside edge and along the base of the drape.

What we're aiming for

trim border sizeBorder size

What we want to end up with is the same drape panel size as shown in the previous illustration, but with the trim fabric inserted so we can finish up with a border. The advantage of this method is that once we've inserted our trim fabric, we can then go ahead and make up the drape in exactly the same way as before.

In the illustration above the side and hem turnings are the same, but when they're turned under, we want the correct border width will be visible on the front.

border fabric added

Here's a view of the same corner with the drapery trimmings fabric in place, ready to be made up.

Notice the miter join (black dotted line). It doesn't run from point A down to the right hand corner, but goes to point B. We want the miter to look correct when the drape is made up. Because the side turning is less than the hem turnings, we need to run the miter from A to B, so it will run directly through the corner of the finished drape (where the white dotted lines meet).

This will give a professional finish, and is much better than having a seam run straight down from A to the bottom, even though this is an easier way of doing it.

The reverse of the corner

reverse of panel

This illustration shows the reverse of the same corner. Work out the sizes of the trim sections you need. Allow about 3/8" (1cm) extra for the seams, and the same for the main fabric.

Machine seam the side trim down from the top from A to B. Then machine the hem trim across from C to B. Carefully fold the two trims so you get the miter in the correct place. Press the seams flat, slip tack them to hold them in place, then machine them together.

You now have a drape panel which is ready to make up as described here.

If you want wider drapery trimmings, all you have to do is make the trim fabric sizes wider. If you want a single border down the side or across the bottom, just ignore the trim on the edges you don't need to include.

Example of trim size

If the border is to be one inch wide (2.5cms) on both the side and bottom edge, then:

Side trim = Finished trim width + Side turning + Seam allowance

Side trim = 1" + 1½" + ⅜" = 2⅞" (2.5cms + 4cms + 1cm = 7.5cms)

Bottom trim = Finished trim width + Hem turnings + Seam allowance

Bottom trim = 1" + 6" + ⅜" = 7⅜" (2.5cms + 15cms + 1cm = 18.5cms)


Although there are a number of ways of adding drapery trim to your drapes, this method can be used whatever size of border trim you want, and whether you want it on all sides or just on the base or on one edge.

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