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Home dec. help – Ginna

adrianne | Posted in The Archives on

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Ginna, thanks a lot for your help. Actually there are 2 patterns I like – Vogue #2224, the blue-flowered window, and McCall’s 9159, crown valance w/trim. I’m one of those people who figure I can do something I’ve never done before, then sometimes get into trouble because I get lost. I usually look at something to figure it out, (or buy it and take it apart to see how it’s done), but this time I thought I’d use a pattern. Not such a good idea, I guess. It takes a REAL long time for me to figure them out, if I can at all, although I must say I have figured these 2 patterns out, surprisingly. My problem is how to adjust them. The Vogue has a top & bottom bias-trimmed valance (although instead of the bias I want to use a trim), that has little pleats at the top, and the bottom kind of falls into soft folds, with “tails” down the sides, and each pleat is attached to a ring which is hung on a pole. Unstructured and soft-looking. The center section of the bottom of the valance is straight, while the ends gradually taper down toward the sides where the tails are. (I call them tails, ‘cuz I don’t think of it as a true jabot, which to me is a rather structured, fan-folded look. Maybe this would be a non-structured jabot?) Anyway, the tails are a separate piece, but sewn to the end of the valance, and each tail has 1 pleat in it. Or can I tape it to the valance pattern and cut it out as one whole thing? Makes more sense to me that way, than to piece the tail sections on (which would mean matching patterns at that part), but the pattern has them as separate pieces, and the seam falls right in the 10 1/2″ space between the pleat of the valance and the pleat in the tail! Shouldn’t a seam like that be hidden? Doesn’t look like it. (Hope you can picture this!) I know I have to add, and I’d do it in the middle where it’s straight, but how do I know how many pleats or, really, how much more material to add? The pleat itself ON THE PATTERN is 4″ (4 lines brought together to form a pleat). The distance ON THE PATTERN from the line of one pleat to the line of the next pleat is 10 1/2″. That makes 18 1/2″ from one whole pleat to the end of the next whole pleat, which, when actually pleated, is 9″, or I guess 9 1/4. So for a 94″ window, I’d need to add…..(computing)…..I just crashed, I can’t figure it out. The picture on the pattern shows 6 total pleats, so I’m assuming the window is the 42″ one. If I’m adding right, each pleat is 4″, and there’s 6, so that’s 24″, plus the space between each pleat is 10 1/2″, and there’s 3 of those, plus half on each side = 5 1/4 each side, so that’s 66″, plus 1/2″ seam on each side where the tails meet=67″ of material for the valance alone, not including the tails and the pleat in each one. (Actually, each tail takes almost half of that 10 1/2″ space, where they seam.) Doubled would be 134″ for an 84″ window. I need another 10″, but couldn’t I get away with one more 10 1/2″ space plus the pleat?, which is hardly anything once it’s pleated, which means 148 1/2″. Did I figure that right? Should I just make it out of muslin and see if it works out okay that way? Should the “tails” be adjusted, or can they be left the length for the 42″ window? Should I do the same for the other pattern I like(?), McCall’s, which doesn’t have tails, but I may want to add them. I don’t know at what point to put the tails at the end pleat, or how to taper the tails, and how long would I make them for a 62″h window? AND would it look good? So many questions!, I’m sorry. I wish there were classes given in this stuff somewhere – there’s crafting and clothes sewing classes, but I’ve never seen anything about window treatments – I mean other than no-sew or very-little-sew swag and straight valance-type stuff. I really appreciate you helping me, though, Ginna. Actually, I didn’t think I’d get a response at all, let alone a nice detailed one!

Replies

  1. jomuir_ | | #1

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    Adrianne, have you considered looking at a book about making window dressings? It sounds like you'll have so many changes to your patterns now that if it were me, I'd be wondering if it will fit at all. Not doubting you, but its easy to get lost when you change that much. There are many books on the subject, I suggest you head over to your local library first and see what they have there, maybe you won't even have to buy a book at all, can just borrow it. You would then decide the style you want and follow their instructions, no pattern. It may sound scary if you've never sewn w/o one, but its common in the home dec business. I worked for a custom drapery shop for 3 years and never did we use a pattern, we just figured what we needed and went from there. Draw an accurate picture of your dimensions and double check everything before you start. good luck whatever you decide, Marcie.

    1. Ginna | | #2

      *Adrianne - I don't totally follow your explanation and when I went to the store I didn't have the pattern numbers with me so I couldn't see what you were talking about. Maybe a book would help - did you try the library for one?Let me try how to expand the middle portion with a diagram.----A|-|-|B--------C|-|-|D------The pleats are represented by A to B and C to D (4" each). The space between pleats is B to C (10.5"). One fabric section is B to D - a flat portion and 1 pleat (14.5"). One finished section is B to D with the pleat folded (10.5" + the amount of space the folded pleat takes up - let's assume 1"). You must determine how many finished sections (B-D = 11.5") have to be added. If the pattern finished width is 54" and you need 88" you need to add 34" (88" - 54" = 34") to the finished width. Divide 34" by one finished section (11.5"). This comes to 3. I rounded up since 11.5 x 3 = 34.5 and that .5" isn't going to make much difference. You need to add one fabric section (14.5") to the pattern for each finished section (11.5"), so you would add 43.5" (3 x 14.5" = 43.5").Now to get more complicated. If you need 94" finished width, you need to add 40" (94" - 54" finished width). Divide the 40" by one finished section, 11.5" to determine how many finished sections must be added (40" / 11.5" = 3.478). 3.478 is 3 full finished sections (3 x 11.5 - 34.5") plus 5.5" (40" - 34.5"). You need to add 3 fabric sections (3 x 14.5" = 43.5") plus 5.5". You can add this 5.5" in 2 ways. 1. Add another full section if the exact size is not important - or - 2. Increase the distance between each pleat (B to C) on the entire drape. If there are six of these sections each section would be made .5" greater. 11" from 10.5". I would cut the pattern between each pleat and add .5" of tissue if I chose this solution. Personally I would use the first option if I could.As far as the tail are concerned. You might try making a sketch of the drape & window as stated on the pattern and a sketch of the window using your dimensions. Use the same scale to make it easier to compare. If your window is much taller you will probably want to lengthen the tails and if you lengthen them you will probably want to increase the width of the tails to keep the same proportions as the pattern picture. If the length is 40" and you add 20" (1/2 of the length), you will probably want to make the width 1/2 again as wide. For example, a 30" width would become 45". Make these changes in the middle of the tail (both length & width adjustments) then you should be able to just draw a line between the original starting and ending points of the tail to get a corrected angle cut. Working with the tails will really depend on how you want the finished product to look. Where you place the seams will be a matter of preference and length/width of you fabric. It will be easier to pleat if the seam is not in a pleat but it is entirely up to you. HTH. Good Luck!

      1. adrianne | | #3

        *Ginna: Gee, I wish you lived in my area! Sure takes a lot of writing to explain something that, if shown, wouldn't need that many words! I thank you again for coming to my rescue. Of course, in my really long explanation I added wrong, right off the bat. But even though I don't have any of the size windows of the Vogue pattern, I made the 42" one out of fabric I kept meaning to use but never have. I found it interesting that it actually came out wider than 42", but there wasn't any indication how far past the moulding on each side it would go. I just assumed it was from one side of the window moulding to the other, seeing as it was attached to a wooden pole w/wooden rings. It came out looking rather nice, except for the "tails." They didn't really look like the pic on the front of the pattern pkg. They looked too short and stubby, and the folds didn't seem to fold/angle correctly for enough of the lining fabric to be seen properly. And I checked like 3 times to make sure I traced the pattern correctly. Am I being clear? Based on that, I've ruled that treatment out, only because at this point I don't want to go through the work of trying to "fix" the tails by making different sized patterns and seeing how they work. I think I'd run out of my "stash" of material! I still haven't tried to make the McCall's pattern yet, but it's on the list. Of course with Jo-Ann's big pattern sale, I went out and bought 5 more! Glutton for punishment, aren't I? I promise not to bother you anymore for help, though, as you are being more than kind in assisting me as of late. I've asked at some stores about classes, or people willing to teach me how to do the things I don't understand, or just someone who wouldn't mind me running to them for help, but so far I've gotten negative responses. So I really do appreciate you taking the time to do this for me. I understand, from the 1st reading of your directions, some of it, but I think I'll do better if I do-as-I-go kind of thing. (Making it while reading your instructions) If I do go back to that Vogue pattern, I'm definitely going to make it one piece, not seam the tails in, and see what happens. Some pattern explanations are more difficult than others to understand, at least to me. I guess I ask more minute detail questions than they seem to provide. Oh, yeah, I meant to ask, also, (minute detail coming up!) - when the pattern says bring the pleat lines together and tack in the back, is the material pleated with the LINES pulled FORWARD and matched, or PUSHED BACK and the SPACES between the lines are matched? Do you understand what I'm trying to say? It has 4 lines |||| for one pleat. Do I crease the material on the line(s) and pull it toward me, which would make 4 folds for the pleat, or do I pull the spaces BETWEEN the lines forward to make 3 folds per pleat? Can't tell from the pic on the cover, and they don't say which way to do it. Things like this screw me up. I'm not savvy enough to not get literal about it. But - I just thought - if I did it wrong, say 4 folds instead of 3 per pleat, I'd be using more material, and that would affect the measurement, right? And as for the seam, I understand the difficulty of pleating if it falls IN the pleat (due to bulk, I'm assuming), but what if it falls WITHIN THE WIDTH of the pleat, but in the SPACE between the folds? (Like I tried explaining back there) Would it work then? (In attempting to hide the seam within the pleat) Well, Ginna, off to get abused by the other patterns. I'm also curious to know if I can combine them - say the "tails" from one pattern attached to the mid section of another, like I want to do with the McCall's, since I can't find a pattern that looks like that (the "crown valance" w/tails). More abuse, I'm sure. My husband would call this an expensive learning venture. I just call it learning the HARD way! Thanks, once more, for your time, understanding (except for my confusing descriptions!), and willingness to help a novice like me. It sure means a lot!

        1. Ginna | | #4

          *Bring the fabric forward between the lines making 3 folds. A 3 fold pleat seems to be standard.Seams - you could put it within the width of the pleat (using your terminology). You would want it as far back in the pleat as possible to hide it but forward enough that the seam allowance won't add bulk to the back of the pleat. Remember you want all the pleats to appear to be the same size so be careful if you are using a heavy wieght fabric - it could throw the appearance off. You might put a seam just before or just after a pleat and you could trim the seam allowance to eliminate bulk.Yes, you can use more than 1 pattern to achieve the look you want. Sewers do it all the time with fashion patterns changing sleeves, necklines, etc. I find it difficult also to understand many directions with only a verbal description. Frequently I have to sketch a small picture/diagram for myself as I read instructions. You should have seen the machinations I went through trying to understand how elastic was attached at a waistband using a serger. "A picture is worth a 1,000 words" is so right. Sewing books/magazines with good pictures/diagrams are worth their weight in gold.

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