Make your own swag curtains

If you aspire to making your own swag curtains, the good news is that you can! It's one of the most rewarding aspects of making your own drapery.

Many people think they are capable of making curtains, but not top treatments. This is just not true! If you can cut fabric, sew it, and are prepared to put in a bit of practice, there's no reason why you can't make really great swag treatments.

Here we'll deal with some of the basic issues before you go on to designing and cutting out your swags.

Fabric quantity for swag curtains

The only reliable way to work out the quantity of fabric you'll need for your swag curtains is to work out the design, make the patterns and measure them.

joins in swagsSwag using more than one width. This is to illustrate how you work out from a central width. When made up, joins in swags are almost invisible.

But the exact quantity you'll need for the vertical fullness of the swags will vary. How many folds you have in the swag, plus thickness of interlining and fabric will all have an effect.

A rough rule of thumb for the drop is to multiply the swag length by 2.3

The number of widths you'll use depends on the width of the swags. So the best way to go about it is to work out how many swags you want to use, and whether they will all be the same size.

Initial ideas for your swag curtains

It will help you if you know a few basics about swags. Things to do and not to do. Here are some hints on how to decide on the final design.

When making swags, you first work out the shape you want.

Swag shapes are always draped first, then transferred to a pattern. You can find out how to do this on the swag patterns page. A slightly different way of making a pattern can be found here.

But before you move on further, get lots of old fabric. Fabric or linings from old drapes are ideal. Or buy some really inexpensive lining. You can then use this to practice forming different swag shapes.

Once you have your pattern, you can then go ahead and sew the swag components together.

The majority of swag treatments include cascades. These are easy to make, and once you've decided on the style to use, you can go ahead and complete the cascades.

A swag made from printed cotton chintz. You can use any fabric as long as the swag is large enough for natural looking folds to form.

Standard or staggered pleats?

As I mentioned in the introduction to swags, I usually prefer the standard pleats. This is where the pleats all begin at the top left and right (as shown in the illustration above). They are also easier to make, so that's the style we'll be going with.

But staggered pleats have their place, so if you prefer that style, then go with it.

A place to make your swags

To fix your swags when you're designing them, you'll need somewhere to pin them. In the section on your workroom I advised having a table with felt on it. If you have this you can pin the swags to the edge of the table.

Otherwise you'll need to find somewhere else to do this. You could use a large pin board, or the back of an old sofa.

Swag curtains - more art than science!

Although professional workrooms have patterns for swags, they also have to make them from the beginning from time to time. Once you know the size you want, follow the same processes detailed on this page to work out the swag pattern.

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