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I can help with draperies

KRISTENWDS | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

Hi all –
I am new to this site. I have been doing custom window treatments as a business for over 25 years. I am interested in getting my techniques out of my head and on to paper. I have trained many seamstresses over the years who have all turned around and started their own businesses. I would love to know if there is an interest for those of you out there who are talented “home sewers”. I have not looked thru this site to see if there have been any discussions. If you want to check out some of my work I do have a blog: drapery101.blogspot.com. However, I am interested in joining these type of forums and discussions to get the info out there — hope some of you are interested in getting some conversations going, whether it is about techniques or starting your own home drapery business.



Edited 9/16/2008 7:54 am ET by KRISTENWDS


  1. Josefly | | #1

    What a generous offer. I'm pretty sure you'll get some takers!I myself am about to replace the draperies I currently have across the wall where my patio doors are. I've bought 4 twin-size flat sheets (in a small-scale, twiggy, neutral print) to use as fabric, since I got them on sale for less than fabric-on-the-bolt would've cost. I plan to use pleater tape, and they won't be lined. First, though, I have to find some other fabric or trim to use as a border either at the top or bottom of the draperies - haven't decided yet which. I think it's a pretty straightforward task, but would gladly receive any suggestions or warnings. Welcome to the Gatherings forum.

    Edited 9/15/2008 6:17 pm ET by Josefly

    1. KRISTENWDS | | #2

      Thanks for the response - I will keep checking in to see what kind of interest there is -- hope to speak with you again -- Kristen

      1. Josefly | | #3

        Wow, that was fast! While I was editing my first message to you, you were replying. I added the part about the project I have in the works.Yes, do check back. Your expertise will be a wonderful gift.

    2. KRISTENWDS | | #4

      I am happy to help! I think pleater tape is a good product since it is much quicker than having to sew buckram and create your own pleats. The questions I have for you (in order to help) would be : what kind of hardware are you considering? Is this is one way draw to the left or right or can you do a split draw? Many people I have worked with want their drape to be one panel that draws to the left or right BUT this is where hardware has to be carefully chosen. As far as adding trim - that truly is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong where that is concerned. Not to keep plugging my site, but I did put alot of info on measuring and rod placement that might help you . I have not gotten to the actual fabrication process yet simply because of time constraints. But I am happy to walk thru some steps with you if you need any advice. I know there are many wonderful seamstresses out there so I do NOT pretend to know more about sewing than anyone else. However, I do know alot about drapery fabrication that many home sewers might benefit from. So -- check out the info on the blog to help with measuring and figuring the correct fullness and then if you need any ideas about the fabrication I will check back to this site and try to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!! Good luck -- Kristen

      1. Josefly | | #7

        Thank you for your suggestions. I'm traveling right now, and just checking email, etc., but head home today, and when I get there, I'll take the time to check out your blog site. The patio-doors I plan to cover have no space at all on the left side for the draperies, so the ones I have now pull only from left to right, making it easy to slide open the left-hand door. I thought I would make the new ones the same way, using the same hardware. However, I may want to do something at the top to hide the rod when the draperies are open. I have also noticed some pictures of sliding fabric panels, and I sort of like that idea; there is room on the right side of the doors for the panels to stack when fully opened. After I've perused your blog I may question you further about this idea.Again, let me say how generous of you it is to offer help here.

        Edited 9/16/2008 8:38 am ET by Josefly

      2. Josefly | | #15

        I'm back home after my travels and have at last had time to read your blog. It's full of great, clear, information. I'll keep referring back to it as I plan further with my own project. I'm going to have to find the coordinating print I want to make a 7 or 8" border at the top or bottom of the draperies. We have some great home dec fabric shops in town, so hopefully I won't be overwhelmed with choices. It'll have to be something lightweight, since I'm using sheets as the fabric for the body of the draperies, and don't intend to line them.

        1. KRISTENWDS | | #16

          Sounds like a great look! Please let me know what i can do to help as you get started -- Take care, Kristen

          1. SewSewHappy | | #17

            Hi Kristen,  I love to sew draperies or anything relating to home decor - pillows, seat cushions, etc.  I am just about to start draperies for my sewing room.  I'm planning to make six panels with 4.5 inch tabs.  My sewing room is colder in the winter as it's the room that's not over the basement (side hall colonial).  I am going to line them but could you please tell me what type lining I should use that would keep the cold out?  I'm looking at three types that FabricGuru.com sells (love that site and buy all my fabric from them):

            1)  High Quality Drapery Lining 30% Cotton, 70% Poly

            2)  100% Cotton Drapery Lining

            3)  100% cotton Interlining Fabric (not sure what this means...)

            I read your post on "thermal suede" but I have a Singer commerical (not industrial) and not sure if that would work.

            I'd appreciate your help on this.  THANK YOU so much for your kind information.  I only know people that sew clothing and this is so nice of you to help with our questions.

            Thanks, Lynn

            Edited 9/24/2008 12:39 pm ET by SewSewHappy

            Edited 9/24/2008 12:45 pm ET by SewSewHappy

            Edited 9/24/2008 12:46 pm ET by SewSewHappy

          2. KRISTENWDS | | #18

            Hi Lynn -
            I am glad you are interested in drapes. I also find that many sites seem to draw the clothing and quilting sewers, which is great, but I know more people must want to do drapery work. I think you have 2 choices for keeping the room warmer: you can purchase both the 100% cotton AND the interlining. The interlining is just what it suggests: it is inside, between the face fabric and the lining. I use it in all my work here on the East Coast -- it gives the fabric a weightier look, especially if you use silk (I am sure that is NOT what you are planning for the sewing room!). Most of my designers request it for the look it gives the finished drape but it does help to insulate. The only problem is it is a third layer of fabric and you would have to decide if that is troublesome to you OR if your machine could handle it or not.The second choice is thermal suede. I would not be afraid to use it if I were you. You should not have a problem with your home machine -- it is not as thick and heavy as Black-out -- but it does have a kind of "rubbery back" that you simply need to be careful with. I would experiment with a small piece of it and see if you are comfortable using it. I think if you get good tension on it by holding it taut as you sew it, you will be OK. There is a lining fabric called "Roclon rain-no-stain". I find it thin but it is listed as an insulator. It definitely does not absorb water -- when water drips on it it simply pools up. That might help. If I were you I would get a small amount of both interlining and thermal suede (I would think you could buy them at a local JoAnn's or a place like that at least to try it out) and do a little experimenting. Please feel free to let me know if you need any more help. I have more info at my blog: drapery101.blogspot.com and you can contact me through that site if you need to.Good luck! Let me know how it is going. Kristen

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            Maybe I can clear up some confusion on drapery linings and interlinings for you.Linings come in 4 basic kinds-
            cottons sateen-like satins but the thread loops run across the width of the fabric
            plain weave-like a broadcloth or muslin fabric
            blackout-a rubbery or suede like finish that blocks light and moisture
            interlining-a plain weave like muslin that has a brushed finish like a flannelette, but not quite as fuzzy, on both sides.Your lining choice comes down to a couple of choices.How much sun. Sunnier windows need heavier shading to protect the drapes and the room-poly cotton lining will last longer than all cotton, blackout blocks the sun.How heavy are the curtains. Light curtains need light linings or they look too stiff. A separate lining or blackout would be needed.How full looking do you want the drapes to look. Silk drapes look better with an interlining, just as a wool skirt looks better underlined, same principle. A lining is a protective layer as well as a fulling layer, and sometimes you need more.A sateen lining tends to be fuller or heavier than a plain weave. It is the difference in weight you look at. It also tends to be more sun blocking, and more air pockets for warmth. Thermal suede falls into the group of blackout linings. It has the added quality of being a cold blocker.I hope this helps. The pictures on the site do not show which cotton lining is which, I suspect the ones with the slight sheen are the sateen. But it could also be the water repellent finish. Some manufacturers have done away with the sateen and use an actual satin weave now. Makes no difference. Cathy

  2. Ralphetta | | #5

    I have custom shutters with fabric inserts on all the windows in my living room. They are old, but I still like them. Since the room is on the north side and my gas bill has gotten ridiculous I'm thinking of incorporating some kind of simple lined drapery that I could pull over the windows part of the time, The room is casual and I think I can make it work. I like having the shutters closed with the sunlight coming through them, so lining the inserts in this room isn't an option. (There would still be a lot of cold air coming in around the shutters anyway.) I've had other priorities and haven't spent a lot of time thinking it through but while browsing through books/magazines looking for ideas, I haven't seen anything using both shutters and curtains/drapery. I understand that it wouldn't be a popular idea but for the difference it would make in my heating bill, I could grow to adore it! Has anyone seen or done anything of this nature? It's silly to re-invent the wheel if someone can give me any first-hand advice.

    Edited 9/15/2008 11:39 pm ET by Ralphetta

    1. KRISTENWDS | | #6

      There is nothing wrong with layering treatments and I have put drapes over shutter many times - in fact I am working on that same kind of project right now. I am assuming the shutters fit inside - or tightly to the windows and as long as the drapery rod goes above the frames and out a bit on either side you should have no problem. If this is in a living room I would suggest a long drapery (to the floor). I am not big on making short drapes but they certainly work in many situations and it all depends on what your style and life is all about! You also mentioned insulation issues and a long drape would help keep the drafts under control. I would not hesitate adding a drape. If these are shutters that you actually open, be aware of the "stack" created by the drapery on either side so that you clear the shutters and the drapery does not interfere with the workings of the shutters. The stack of the drape is a simple thing to figure -- if you plan to make a fairly standard pleated drape, take your rod width measurement, divide it by 5 and the split that it half -- this gives you an idea of how much the drape will stack to the sides when they are open. Of course some of the stack will be determined by the fabric you choose and the hardware so once you have done the formula you might want to add a couple of inches to your number to be safe. This will also help you decide just how far out on either side of the windows you should take the drapery. (I do not mean to keep plugging my blog, but I have more info for measuring etc... that might help you at: drapery101.blogspot.comIf insulation is an issue, there is a lining product I use called "thermal suede". It is a bit heavier than a cotton or poly lining but it does help keep the drafts down. My concern with this product would be that it does take a little getting used to and if you are new to making drapes. you would want to get a piece and do some practicing. I can help you further with this should you decide to go that route -- just keep me posted. Also, I must assume that most on this site are sewing with home machines. I have industrial machines so I know I need to be aware of just how much thickness your machine can handle.The style of your drape is a personal choice. The advice I will give you is this: if you do plan to draw them regularly, make sure you do a pleating system. Some styles of "casual" drapes are meant to be stationary side panels and do not work as well to open and close. The advantage of pleating a drape is that it maintains a neat look as you open and close it and it is pretty much a hassel-free style. (Again, without going into many more long paragraphs right now, if you need more clarification on what I mean just let me know and I will do my best to explain!)So -- do not hesitate to add a drapery -- if I can find any photos in my many books I will see if I can attach one. I do not know if that is allowed on these sites. I have collected notebooks full of photos from magazines over the years and have them neatly organized - it is an important visual aid for me when I go out on my house calls. If there is an idea that I think will help you I will see if I can scan it for you. Let me know if you need any other info.Thanks! Kristen

      Edited 9/16/2008 7:56 am ET by KRISTENWDS

      1. Ralphetta | | #8

        I admit that whether or not this was an "acceptable" decorating style, my mind was made up to do it. I'm not going to make pleated drapes because I think it would be too traditional for my taste. At one time I had fairly heavy looking poles above the windows with swags on them. I think I'm going to use those poles with really large rings attached to the top of the drapes. I'm thinking about something that might resemble tapestries when pulled across the widows. (I'm just brain-storming, but it might help you see how I think.) I don't think I want a lot of pleats and fullness. I want something simple, bold and functional. Yes, I definitely think they need to be long for the same reasons you mentioned. In previous discussions I read descriptions of how people made separate "winter" linings that just hooked and unhooked like shower curtains to their draperies. I think that would work just great in here and would be easy to put together. I have SO many projects underway that I haven't given this much thought but winter is almost here and it's moved upwards on my to-do list. First, I must get finished with the dirty stuff like sanding and painting. I can't deal with fabric until that's out of the way.When you mentioned stacking, I thought at first you were describing the thickness of the opened shutters against the wall. Yes, mine are installed inside the window frame. I would love to see any photos you find because one thing I'm wondering about is how it's going to look on the sides with both the shutters and the draperies open. It doesn't seem like I would like the looks of either the draperies covering those shutters or to the side of them. They both seem unattractive.I will definitely go to your site when I can find some time. I appreciate your help. Drapes are one thing I haven't attempted and hadn't really wanted until now. It's great to know the things I need to beware of BEFORE I start cutting and sewing.

        1. KRISTENWDS | | #10

          Well, there are many things rolling around in my head!! Let me see where to start: I understand you're wanting to keep it casual so no pleats. The only caution I have is this - you must realize that the drape will not close evenly, but that may be OK because you want a casual look. Also, you will want the panels to at least break at the floor because you may not be able to control the finished length if you leave large spacing between your rings. There is NOTHING wrong with ANY of that -- I just like to warn you that they will not open and close evenly when not pleated.I have a thought for your winterizing idea - you could purchase snap tape that would be sewn at the inside top of the face fabric and the lining so you can snap it in when you want lining and unsnap it when you do not. That would also keep the tops even and you would not go crazy trying to control 2 separate layers of fabric.The stack I was referring to was the amount of fabric that "stacks" when the drapes are open. Are the rods you are talking about cut to the same size of the window frames or do you have some extra width in them? I prefer to have the rods 6" wider on each side of the windows to help with the stack issue I referred to. That way they may still lay against the shutters when they are open but they might almost act like hold-backs. And that is another idea: tie-backs or "hold-backs" that would keep the fabric from sitting against the shutters when all are open.I do not know if this is helpful -- I have not had a chance to look at my pics but I will take some time and let you know. Thanks.Kristen

          1. Ralphetta | | #12

            Yes, what you said helped to get me thinking. Since it was all vague in my mind when I read your first note, I hadn't thought things through. Fullness being even when they are closed would not be a problem for me, be cause I don't plan on much fullness. I hadn't thought about the unevenness at the hem with the wide top spacing I was considering. That's something I will keep in mind while planning. Yes, the poles I mentioned were much wider than the windows, although I'm not averse to getting something different. My thinking is that it needs to make a statement, since at this time, it won't have anything on it when the drapes are open. I don't want it to look unfinished or like it's exposed by accident.`I looked for photos to see how others had handled this.I have to be careful or I'll get too involved in this discussion now and use it as an excuse not to finish my other things! I'm easily distracted. The more I think about tapestry, the more fun I think I could have with that idea. It would fit with their original use/purpose. I know it conflicts with my statement that I wanted it casual, but heck, I think it would be fun trying to make it work. My mother used to collect tapestries, so that's probably why I thought of them. Bouncing my ideas off someone who understands the practical aspect is very helpful.One obvious problem: if I'd ever wanted drapes, I'd have done it years ago! I'll just be giving this a lot of thought as I paint and stain.Edited 9/16/2008 7:12 pm ET by Ralphetta

            Edited 9/16/2008 7:59 pm ET by Ralphetta

  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #9

    Hi Kristen. I love your blog! I worked for several years in a fabric shop that also did custom drapery and window coverings. Thank you for the wonderful clear whys of pattern repeats in drapery. Especially the matching of repeats around the room. It often was very hard to explain to clients why so much fabric was required when an estimate was presented. Cathy

    1. KRISTENWDS | | #11

      Hi Cathy --
      Thanks for your positive input. I have worked hard on the blog and knowing someone with the kind of experience you have had finds it to be helpful means alot to me. Thanks again -- Kristen

      Edited 9/16/2008 6:19 pm ET by KRISTENWDS

      1. KharminJ | | #13

        Hi, Kristen!I just checked out your blog! Terrific! Your writing is so clear - I really appreciate it. I've read many versions of "How to Measure for Drapes", and this is the one that has finally made all the arcane math "make sense". Looking forward to more ...Kharmin

        1. KRISTENWDS | | #14

          Hi Kharmin:
          I just have to tell you how much I appreciate your comment. This work is SO visual and the "math" can be complicated. I try to be as clear as possible and getting your comment regarding that tells me I am on the right track -- Thanks again! Kristen

  4. SewFancy | | #20

    I'm new to this forum, so sorry for being tardy!  Where were you 2 months ago?!!!!

    I've returned to sewing after many years, always had a stitching project or kids' hems to do, but now I have more time for fun (and a dtr interested in learning, yay!).

    Just did 4 sets of lined drapes for a second home with stash fabric, and boy am I rusty! Took a solid month for simple lined traverse (pleater tape) and pocket drapes. Needed the lining for the older home right by the water. Will be checking your blog, as there are still many rooms to do!

    Welcome to the Forum!

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