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Silk dupioni window treatments

flytootall | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

We are building a house and the walls will be 19′ high.  I want to make silk dupioni curtains and use those giants grommets that I’ve seen in some magazines.  I have never made this type of window treatment, but I plan on using a lightweight iron-on interfacing on the silk, interlining it with that flannel-like interlining fabric, and then lining it with drapery lining.  I saw that someone had mentioned a Sunset book on making drapes, but I don’t think I need a book, since these window treatments don’t appear to be that complicated to make.  If someone has experience in this type of window treatment, I am open to any and all suggestions.  Thank you.



  1. ShannonG4d | | #1

    I would recommend NOT using the fusible interfacing on drapes.  The heat from the sun will cause the interfacing to separate; I speak from experience:)  The flannel interlining will be quite sufficient for support. 

    I have three windows with dupioni drapes, underlined in baby flannel, and then lined in drapery muslin.  They hang beautifully, look very 'rich', and I love them!  I know you'll enjoy yours, as well.


    1. flytootall | | #3

      Fortunately, these window treatments will be placed between the windows and will never get any sunlight.  They are for show only.   I know from experience also that the sun will completely fade any curtains or drapes that are not lined.  I tried ironing on whisper weft on a large piece and it does give the silk dupioni a nicer finish.  Thank you for the warning, as I would not have thought of the interfacing separating from the heat.  I live in Houston and the heat is a killer.   I will be using drapery interlining that is white.  I bought it in Guatemala for $2.00/yard and it is 72" wide!  The curtains always look so nice in the pictures.  Should I use weights at the bottom?  I wonder how they get those 18' curtains to flow so well.  They are always the same at the bottom as they are at the top.  I thought about threading some heavy wire in the bottom hem and forming it to look exactly like the top.  I stayed in a hotel last week and the shower curtain had those huge grommets.  The grommets were plastic (I've seen them at Hancock's--they snap together) and I love the look.

      1. mygaley | | #4

        I have sewn custom drapes for 10 years and the way we get the panels to "flow" is to fan-fold the drapes, having the top exactly like you want them to hang on the rods. Then, have your helper hold the top of the first fold, and pull and fold to the bottom hem so the fold is from top to bottom. Continue with each fold until you have a narrow panel that is folded evenly, including lining, etc. Use soft ties (Lining scraps) about two-three inches wide to secure the header, the hem, and about every 18 inches in between. If you don't have a helper (teenage boys are good for this they are so strong), then wrap bricks in lining scraps and use them to hold the ends while you are folding. Allow to hang on rods for 1-2 days before removing ties and the fabric will remember these folds. Don't tie so tight you crinkle the fabric.Yes, use weights at corners and at every seam. Also, do not trim off the selvedges but snip them about every 2 feet on each fabric. This allows some give, but not too much stretching on your hems and seams.If for some reason you want to use metal grommets, I never had any success with them until I read here to use a vise to close down on the parts with even pressure. I live next door to an automobile body shop and it's convenient for me. Also, the men that drink coffee there seem to be interested in this mechanical part of the job. :) Usually someone volunteers to do it for me. God bless you Galey

        1. flytootall | | #5

          You are a wealth of information!!  However, you lost me with the bricks.  I don't have a visual of this.  My curtains will not be very wide, since the distance between the windows will only be about 2', maybe less.   If the curtains go all the way from the ceiling to the floor, where do these bricks go?   I have a very strong husband, but I'm failing to see where a strong person is even needed.   I found a place in New York that sells a very heavy tool used to hammer the grommets with a mallet.  I took a picture of it and my husband claims he can make one.  The tool was $80.  It looks like a giant tool like one I used to use to put in grommets for a belt.  It is a two-piece tool.  I found a place where the grommets are $1.85 each (it is a 2-part grommet) and they come in all sorts of finishes.  Course I have to buy 100 of them, but I think I have enough friends who want the same type of finish, so 100 won't be a problem.

          Thanks, Linda

          1. mygaley | | #6

            Please forgive me: I can see how you would be wondering about the bricks!?!? What I meant was to use them as helping hands to hold down one end and the middle of your panels' folds while you were folding the other end. This is good if you are working by yourself. Cover them (use safety pins) so they won't rub off on your fabric. As to the strength reference, by the time I have folded some 21 foot panels, lined, interlined, with weights and grommets, I am wishing for strong muscles. The way I get them is to lie in wait for my DS age 19 and his friends to pass through my kitchen and then ask them to help! Glad to hear your husband is helping you; after all this time my husband can cut fabric, dress folds in panels, insert hooks--he does everything but run the machine. By the way, when you're dealing with multiple layers of fabrics/seams, a good way to flatten them some is pad the top and underneath with a dish towel and then hit the problem area with a hammer. I especially use this with denim, but it's good for drapery headings, also. LOL It works! God bless you, Galey

        2. mimi | | #15

          Galey: What a great answer!  This is what I like about the Taunton sites, you are all so considerate and helpful.


    2. mem | | #9

      I have seen a very stiff interfacing which is designed for drapes and I wonder whether the grommets dont need something quite stiff?  I have made curtains with Bumpf which is the name given to the baby flannel like interlining and they are so lovely . I did rows if catch stitching to hold the bumpf and the fashion fabric together . The are parallel to the sides and about 2 feet appart .The lining is actually separate to the curtain as the lining and actual curtain are cleaned differently even though they are both dry cleaned.

      1. krin | | #10

        Wow there is a lot of information being posted with a lot of great advise.

        1) I agree with one of the first posts, iron on interfacing for this type of silk will not help the draperies. It will eventually separate with the heat of your window.  It serves no purpose in blocking out sun.

        2) Having had my own workroom and now teach classes.. the best way to bet silk to hang straight is to use drapery lining and interlining (which is a soft flannel cloth) This makes your draperies hang beautifully.

        3) We have been doing research into the various grommets available for draperies without having to buy a big tool and all the grommet individually.  It is a grommet tape that you sew onto the top of your drape, it has the grommet already in the tape.  You sew it on, cut out the circle and then pop on the decorative front grommet which comes in several different colors.  It is plastic, not metal.

        The key here is the thicknesses of fabric at the top of the drape... Will it sandwich okay between the tape and the grommet.

        4) You mentioned Houston and the sun....  One more thought, not to confuse all.  There now is a blackout lining which we sometimes use for insulating drapes from the sun.  It can be used of course for room darkening, but in Arizona it is used to protect the draper from sun damage on roman shades.  But then you have stated these drapes are not really hanging in the windows...

        Just a few thoughts. Hope I haven't confused the issue




        1. mygaley | | #11

          I am not the one to whom you are replying, but I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful answers, especially the information about the grommet tapes. God bless you Galey

  2. Ckbklady | | #2

    I would add that depending on the color of the silk, you may have show-through of the flannel - so don't use flannel with a baby print on it.

    I would also suggest that you take a goodly-sized piece of the silk (say, a 12" square - you can make it into a wee cushion later) and tape it with same-sized pieces of the linings you plan to use to the window. Then look at it in all kinds of light and at all times of day to see if it gives you the look you're after. A sheer silk can show seams in bright sunlight if the flannel is also light.

    :) Mary

  3. user-122474 | | #7

    Hi, I made Silk drapes this spring, with only traditional ceiling height. but did have them pool at bottom, I did the goblet style pleat, which turned out very elegant, I ended up making a huge board to work on them, two  4 x 8 sheets of peg board - which I covered.  I also had a girlfriend come and help because of the volume of fabric.  Good luck in making that length, you do want to have enough fullness even if you only have that 2 ft space, too narrow and could look skimpy for such a luxurious fabric as silk..

  4. mygaley | | #8

    AirportMom pointed out some useful things about making drapes. In the custom drapery business we use 2.5 fullness (total width of drapes) as a starting point. This means if your space to cover is 24 in your panels (without side hems--don't add for hems) need to be 24 + 24 + 12 = 60 in wide. If your fabric is already 60 wide, then one unseamed panel will do it. I always hem my side seams rather than just folding over the front panel because that way the light comes through the same. Look at a drapery construction book; if you have to seam panels to have the width, use an uncut width in the middle and split a width for the side(s). Always have a pleat or fold where the seam is. These two items, total fullness and split widths, were hard for me to understand at first, but they are very important. NOTE: Since you are using extra-large grommets, I'd work out my width full-size on paper, including side hems, seams if any and Grommet Placement. To use the number of grommets you desire, you may have to alter fabric width some. This is a little extra work but you can use the template for grommet placement when you are ready and remember Measure Twice, Cut Once (thank you Bob Vila) My Galey PS These are the best online instructions I ever have found: Ethel Mahon http://www.workroomprofessionals.com.

    Edited 9/6/2006 1:06 am ET by mygaley

  5. nursewing | | #12

    I am curious what you used for grommets. I have a hobby workroom of sorts & few years ago i purchased a real  grommet tool  dye kit. Very expensive but makes great grommets. Looked at the plastic ones at Hancocks & felt they were not durable enough forlong drapes.


    1. flytootall | | #13

      I haven't made the window treatments yet, since the house hasn't even been started!  I do have a place in New York, 3G Trimming Corp., that sells the giant grommets for $180 for 144 pieces.  On the back of their card, I had written $40 for 144 stoppers.  At this point, I don't have a clue as to what stoppers are.  Anyhow, they only sell wholesale, so you need to have a tax ID number.  Email me at [email protected] if you want more information on this company.

      1. nursewing | | #14

        Where do you live?


        1. flytootall | | #16

          I live in Houston, TX.

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