Making swags - sewing the components together

Making swags needn't be something reserved for professionals! You can make them too, and have great top treatments to enhance your windows. 

This page shows you how to make swags from the pattern you designed previously. (See the pages on designing swag patterns - method one or method two -if you haven't already made your pattern.)

It doesn't matter which pattern method you've used, because the way you make up the swag is the same for both of them. The one with the zig-zag sides will just involve a bit more work in cutting and sewing.

Making swags with interlining

swag fabric & interliningInterlining placed on fabric ready to make turnings

All through this website I've emphasized quality. And in this section on making swags we're going for quality again.

Which means interlining your swags.

Even if you're using thick fabric, your swags will benefit from having a thin interlining.

If you've used interlining for your curtains, then you can use the same for your swags.

Mark the swag pattern on the fabrics

swag pattern on fabricLay the pattern on the fabric width

You'll need a suitable amount of main fabric, lining and interlining. Take your pattern and lay it on your fabric with the vertical edge of the pattern on the center line of the fabric.

If the pattern extends over the edge of the fabric, seam extra panels on the sides. If your fabric is patterned, make sure to match the pattern.

Repeat for the lining.

For the interlining, make it the exact size of the final swag. When you made the pattern, you added ¾" (2.0cms) for turnings. Just reduce the pattern by this amount for the interlining (see the first illustration).

Sew the fabric and interlining together

sewing swag fabric & interliningFabric turned over and sewn to interlining

Place the fabric face down on the table. Place the interlining on the fabric, leaving the ¾" (2.0cms) allowance all round the edge.

Fold the turning allowance over and pin in position. Make cuts into the fabric for curved sections as necessary. Don't worry about miters on the corners, just fold the fabric neatly in position.

Use a herringbone stitch to sew the fabric to the interlining.

Detail of herringbone stitch

(Some instructions on making swags suggest using an interlock stitch to attach the interlining and fabric. I've never found this necessary. When forming the pleats, just make sure the interlining doesn't bunch up inside the swag.)

Sew the lining in position

Detail of slip stitch on lining

Pin the lining around the edges with the turnings folded under, about 1/8th inch (0.3cms) from the edge. Again, cut the lining where necessary to form a smooth curve. Then sew it using a slip stitch.

Fold the pleats

back of swag with foldsBack of swag showing folds sewn together

This is the really enjoyable part of making swags!

Pin the swag in position, preferably on the paper pattern with the shape marked out. Make the pleats as before, pinning them in position at the top.

Examine the swag for evenness and make sure the size is correct. You'll probably have to make small adjustments to the folds to get it exactly right.

front of swagFront of swag showing folds

When you're happy with it, sew the folds in position at the top, using a strong thread.

Notice the folds in the back view. The first fold is not as deep as the others, but from the front the finished swag looks great. It's important not to keep rigidly to measurements when making swags.

How they look when fitted is what matters.

If you have to adjust one or more of the folds to get the effect you want, then do it.

Sew a tape to the top of the swag at the back


A simple way to make tape is to seam a two inch wide length of lining to form a one inch tape, then slip stitch it to the back of the swag at the top.

The best way to attach the swag to the mounting board is by tacking or stapling it to the wood. To allow for this, sew a length of tape to the top edge of the swag on the back. A one inch tape is a useful size.

You can machine sew the tape to the top of the lining before you sew the lining to the swag by hand. Or slip stitch the tape to the top of the lining. Set the tape down a short distance from the top - about one eighth of an inch is fine - so the top of the swag hides the tape when the swag in fitted in position.

Add any accessories and trimmings

Now your swag is completed, you can add any trims, braids or fringes to it. Although you can put these on with adhesive, I recommend you sew them on. Adhesives can turn hard and brittle over time.

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