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Help with making large drapes

mgm | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

Hi all, first time posting in this forum, hoping someone can give me a bit of advice.

I am trying to make lined drapes for a window that is 8ft high and 16ft wide.  I’ve done lot’s of planning and am pretty sure I have my measurements correct and the right amount of fabric/lining for the fullness (2x) I am looking for.

Thing is I’ve come to the point of actually sewing the panels together and am breaking out in a sweat!!  There is so much fabric (plus the lining is blockout – making it quite heavy) that I am having a lot of trouble working with it at my machine.  I don’t want to give up but am dreading the point where I need to attach the lining to the drape fabric, then also blind hemming the hems.

So, I am wondering if any of you have hints/tips/ideas as to how I can manage this amount of fabric in the construction process.

Many thanks.



  1. sueb | | #1

    if you're having trouble with it sliding away from you there's a couple things you might try:   You could run some big hand basting stitches which would help keep the fabric manageable as you're sewing it.  I'm very fortunate to have a large sewing table that supports the weight of the fabrics that I sew.  You could try putting another table next to your sewing surface that's about the same height as your sewing table  to hold the extra fabric so it doesn't hang down to the floor and drag.

    Good luck !

    1. mgm | | #2

      Thanks for the tips Sue.  I have been thinking about it quite a lot and came up with the fact that I really need a lot more space to work with this amount of fabric and try to get the bulk of it supported.  So, I've thought about setting up a couple of foldaway tables, on either side of my sewing table at right angles.  I also think that if I set my machine up on another table so that the bed is level with the sewing table that will also help (here's were an industrial setup would be ideal!).  I think as I add more panels I will need to roll them up so that they don't pull on the machine.

      Now my next worry is if the track and carriers will hold the weight of the completed drapes.  I didn't realize that total blockout lining would be so heavy.


  2. Hansi | | #3

    Hi Michael,

    There was an item about working with heavy pieces of fabric in the November 2003 issue of Threads (#109), page 14.  A reader wrote in a tip about installing a large hook in the ceiling.  She loops a 4 ft long cord through it and suspends a hanger through the loop.  There's a drawing.

    Hope this helps.


    1. mgm | | #5

      Hi Jay,

      That tip sounds interesting though I'm not sure I quite visualize it yet.  Will need to get hold of that issue of Threads.

  3. shelley | | #4

    Hi, mgm,

    Is it possible for you to place a table in your sewing space?  Perhaps you could jockey it near  your machine in such a way as to support the bulk of your fabrics and still give access to the seam you're working with.  Also, you could roll the length of your fabric so it fits under the space of the body of your machine.  Hope this helps, I've used this technique when assembling a quilt for a friend.


    1. mgm | | #6

      Hi Shelley,

      Yep, I really need a lot more space for this particular project.  As I said orginally the window to be covered is about 18' wide by 8' high.  At double fullness this is definitely the most amount of fabric I've had to deal with - quite a headache but I like a challenge.  I did find an interesting link to a site covering some techniques used in commercial drape making.  I'm not at home right now but will try to post it later for anyone interested.


  4. JulieP25 | | #7

    Move machine to large table, your regular sewing table will not do with that amount of fabric. You need to work in sections and accordian fold the fabric at all stages. The Thread's article shows how.  You may also need to use an even feed foot to get your seams to stay at the right length. The fabric has to stay on the table as much as possible or it will drag the machine feed and cause problems. Sew slower  and stop with the needle down at all times ( frequently stopping ) to adjust the fabric. Use a bed to help fold your fabric for the initial start, I used my queen size. Jules

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