Adding a Border to Sheer Curtain Panels

Sugar PlumMarch 23, 2012

I have fallen in love with a sheer silk remnant. The pattern is a check / plaid in greens, yellows, and soft reds. I think the fabric would look great as curtain panels in my family room, as a change from my heavier lined panels, for spring & summer.

Of course, there isn't enough fabric to make full length panels. Do you think it would look odd to add a 12" border at the bottom in a solid yellow silk? The 12" border would line up with the windowsill. Plus, the border may help add weight to the sheers and keep them from blowing around as much.

I have seen sheers with borders on houzz, but the ones that I have seen there are solid sheers with the same color border (i.e. ivory sheer with an ivory linen border at the bottom) I'm just not sure about the patterned sheer with a solid bottom. I tried to lay it out in the store, and I think it looked fine, but I'm afraid to trust my judgement after my recent front door snafu :)

Thank you in advance for your opinions!

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I have made lots of window treatments for my home and I think your design would be great. If you love the plaid silk it will work! I think a solid would look good at the bottom especially since it would align with the windowsill. Go for it!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Sugar Plum

Stitchin1950, thank you for the encouragement! Because I am sometimes Miss Impatient (and I had a 50% off coupon), I went by the store just as they were closing this evening and purchased the plaid silk sheer remnant (9 1/4 yards) plus a 2 1/2 yard remnant of solid yellow silk for only $56.18 total!

I will post pics after I have them together and hung!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Sugar Plum, I'm impressed by the way you tackle tasks and jump right in. Looking forward to seeing the curtains, which sound very pretty! Great price, too.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Sugar Plum

Lazydaisy, thank you! I'm thwarted a bit on my door re-paint project because it is currently raining here, and the forecast calls for rain through tomorrow night :(

I am so glad I found this forum! I have gotten so many good ideas, plus wonderful encouragement, in the short time that I have been here.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:26PM
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I think a bottom border would certainly work. My only concern would be that the yellow would be the first thing you would notice.

Would it work to have a wide border on both sides of the panels instead?

Or, you could consider adding the solid panel at the top.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:10AM
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Sugarplum, try les917's suggestion about side borders. Perhaps you can split a length of plaid down the middle and skimp a bit on fullness to get the length you need if you use side panels in yellow. What size is the window? Will the border be at the floor?

Silk is usually a very easy fabric to work with, if a bit slippery. You mention that a border may add weight to the curtain and thus stability. Is the yellow the same sheer weight as the plaid? Sheer silk is very soft and billowy, which I think is a lovely effect at an open window. Perhaps you can add hem weights or chains to reduce the effect if you like.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Sugar Plum

The window is a triple window, 94" wide. The current panels that I have up are 92" long, and they hang from 2" rings on a wooden rod. The current panels are stationary, only one fabric width wide.

I had planned to make these sheers two fabric widths on each side to for fullness. Because I only have 9.25 yards, (which would only give me 83" or so in length) I would have to add something at the top or bottom to get the 92" length I need.

Les and Sherrmann, I could only do panels that are 1 1/2 widths of the plaid fabric, and not border the bottom. I don't think a yellow border would dominate the panel, however. The fabric is a fairly soft yellow/gold, and my couch is in front of this window (about a foot out from the window) so you would really only see the bottom border from some angles in the room.

The yellow solid silk is slightly heavier than the plaid sheer. My concern about billowing is because there is an outside door to the deck about 12" to the right of the window. We use that door multiple times per day letting the dog in and out, and I can see my less-than-observant son shutting the curtain in the door if it blows around a lot. I could always tack or pin that side down to the baseboard if it becomes a problem.

New question: should I do the curtains two fabric widths as I planned, or will that be too much fabric? If I go with 1 1/2 fabric widths, will that be full enough? My current panels are about 48" wide, but are pinch pleated, so they appear narrower when hung. They aren't fooling anyone that they could actually close / cover the window.

This window, to our back yard, is completely private, so I don't have the need for blinds, etc. It faces east, however, and on weekend mornings the sun can be a bit intense for a short time. I would like to be able to close the sheers occasionally to cut down the glare (not really block the sun). This would probably only be a couple times per month - most of the time the sun isn't an issue because we are at work / school, etc. We had houseguests a few weekends ago, though, and trying to sit in the family room for morning coffee was a bit of a challenge for a little while. Mostly, the panels will be decorative rather than functional.

Thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I am sure they will be beautiful, but I have one caution...sun is especially hard on silk. I have cranberry red silk dupioni drapes over white silk sheers in my north-facing bedroom. The lead edge of the red dupioni silk is faded almost white and shredding, and I will have to replace the sheers because they, too, are shredded almost completely. I had never seen a ray of sunshine in my room, and there is an overhang and trees, so when I noticed the shredding I investigated. There is a bit of morning sun in winter that touches the drapes for a little while. When I redo them this summer, I will add a shade for sun protection. Seems that even a little sun is very hard on silk.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:56AM
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Sugar Plum

What a shame about your drapes! Good to know about the sun's effect on silk.

My previous panels had some fading, but the fabric was intact, they were up for about 4 years. The current panels (my 'winter' look) have only been up since October, and haven't faded. Neither were silk, however. I will watch these carefully.

The back of our previous couch faded a bit also. Our current couch is a solid cream textured material (and I chose it both for it being a neutral and for its fade-resistance). I have been concerned about our cherry hardwood floors (down about 18 months), but so far there doesn't seem to be any fading there.

The sun can be so destructive - to our skin, to fabrics, etc., but I love the sunlight that pours into my kitchen and family room in the mornings.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:15AM
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With a sheer fabric, it will take more of it to get the look of fullness or weight on either side. But keep in mind that the more fullness or gathered the fabric is, the more you will lose the effect of the plaid.

I would try gathering it in your hand, perhaps rubber banding it, and throwing it over the rod to see what it looks like. It sounds very pretty, but being gathered like that may change the overall effect that you are seeking from the fabric.

How wide is the fabric - 54 or 60? If I am figuring correctly, you need about 196 inches for double fullness (2x94 + 8 for hems on both sides of two panels)and the fabric is 60" wide, at 9+ yards that will give you 180 inches of width and more than three yards ((108 inches) in length, leaving you about 16 inches lacking in width for double width. By adding borders on each side of two panels of about 8 inches (to allow for seam allowances), you would end up with two panels that are about 82 inches of sheer fabric with 6 inches on either side of solid, and more than enough length.

Now, I don't sew much, so perhaps I am calculating this incorrectly? Seems to me that you have a length issue, tho.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:32AM
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I love borders on curtains and almost everything else. Interestingly, I don't have a single border in my home or on my clothes. (In the Madmen era, when I was a kid, borders on skirts were a big thing.)

I read some of the posts above that were concerned about a wide yellow border calling attention to itself rather than to the plaid silk you love. How about this: Make your yellow border and then put a narrow strip of the plaid down an inch or two, or whatever looks best, from the top of the yellow all the way across the border. My mind's eye picture says that's gorgeous.

And I can't wait to see how your door turns out once the weather clears up.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Sugar Plum

I worked on my panels a bit yesterday in between my normal Saturday errands and housework catch-up. Here's what I decided to do -

I'm going with a double width panel. Because I'm not lining the curtains, I am doing a french seam to join the panels and a narrow hem on each side. The fabric is 54" wide, and I won't lose much width because of the narrowness of the seams & side hems, so I will still end up with about a 104" wide panel on each side of my 94" window.

I lose a bit of length matching up the pattern (I hadn't taken that into consideration before) but I still will end up with about 80" length of the silk sheer and will add 12" of the solid yellow as a bottom border.

I think I'm going to pinch pleat these panels, so I can reuse the rod / rings that I currently have on that window (adding more rings for the additional panel width). Gotta do some calculations for the pleats and spacing, but I usually wait until the panels are done before I map that out.

Susanka, I love the idea of adding the narrow strip, and I too can 'see' it looking great on another project. I may have misrepresented the sheer fabric - it is more of a buffalo check, a large plaid with 2" sheer color blocks with 1/2" of really sheer framing each block. Because of this large scale, I can't really add the strip because it wouldn't represent the fabric (probably only be one color, if that makes sense).

So today, I have my front door to worry about, and I'm anxious to get sewing now that I have everything layed out! Hopefully I will make progress on both projects - and I'll post final pics as soon as possible!

Thanks to you all!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:13AM
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