Newbie (to forum) Drapery help please!

OhMartiApril 19, 2014

What have I gotten myself into?? We have recently moved into a very large house with tons of very large windows (many west facing) and not a trace of window treatments to be found. Our plans are for this home to one day be a bed and breakfast.

So as to not have to rob Fort Knox to get my windows covered (I hear there's no money in there anyway) , I've decided to make my own treatments. I'm starting with the master bedroom which has one west-facing French door window combo (100" wide) one west-facing large window (150 wide), and a third south-facing French door window combo (168" wide). My plan is to put center-opening, 106"-long, insulated draperies on each set.

So I set out with measurements in hand (I used an online fabric calculator) to the Fabricut outlet which is about 30 miles away. They had 47 yards of beautiful silk fabric (gold tone on tone stripe) that matched my colors beautifully for 5 dollars/yard. Not enough for my project so I kept looking and they had 17 yards of another fabric that perfectly compliments the first tone on tone for 6.99/yd. I needed a total of 60 yards for the project. I swallowed hard and wrote a check for my 60 yards of fabric AND liner, trim, thread, buckram (thinking to myself that custom drapes couldn't cost much more than THIS). My plan was to add a 24 inch finished length to the top of the tone on tone panels. To make a long story short(er), there simply wasn't enough fabric to do this and to not have a skimpy drape. I really needed about 30 yards of a complimenting fabric to have nice full panels. So after much running around in town, I found a fabric that will work (colorwise) and it was on sale so I got it. Now, here's where it gets a little dicey.

This 30 yards of fabric I bought is solid burgundy, kind of ruched or smocked fabric. The fabric has little flower like things that are stretchy. I will attach pics at the bottom. The ruched/smocked fabric will be at the top of the tone on tone fabric.
Now for my questions:
1. Do you think there is a risk that using the ruched/smocked fabric will make the drapes not hang straight? I plan to run my line of stitching through the smocked flowers to anchor it a little. Or maybe I need to add some kind of stabilizer here?
2. Can this type of fabric be lined successfully? I'm pretty sure it can but just need some reassurance.
3. I was originally going to do goblet pleats but now with this funky fabric, really have my doubts that it will work. Any ideas on this? Could buckram be used with this type of fabric?
4. Because these windows are so large, I really wanted the window treatments on traverse rods so they can more easily be opened and closed. I need ideas (if I'm not doing the goblet pleating) for how to do the top and how to hang them.
I appreciate any and all ideas!


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This is the tone-on-tone stripe for the lower part of my draperies.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:24PM
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And this is the fabric that I didn't have quite enough of. Maybe I can use it for scarfs - or would that look TOO fussy with the ruched/smocked fabric?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:26PM
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Marti -
Welcome to the forum!
Have you been on other Garden Web sites besides sewing?
I hope some sewing people will respond with advice for you.
I have sewn several drapes, but I still consider myself a novice.
There are some occasional posters on this site who have sewn drapery professionally. Some times, this site does not get much "traffic", though.
If you are not getting many responses, please post this question on the Home Decor forum of Garden Web. Lots of sewers over there!

There is so much math involved in drapery! I'm going to try and
condense your above post to get a clear picture. Correct me if I've messed up.

You want to cover 3 windows in MBR :
2 on the same wall: One is 100" wide, the other 150" wide.
1 on other wall : 168" wide.
All will be 106" long.

Fabric you have purchased (not counting lining or buckram):
47 yards of gold tone on tone stripe
30 yards burgundy ruched/smocked
17 yards gold floral/sage vine

Your plan is to have 2 fabrics on the drapes : Top 24" burgundy, lower part gold stripe.
You may use the gold floral/vine in accent pieces in the room.

Below, I've put together some ideas in response to your questions:

1. I think there may be some risk in the drapes not hanging straight with the smocked fabric (at the top). However, if you put the smocked fabric at the bottom, that may help.
I've not sewn with smocked fabric and have no clue if a stabilizer can be used.

2. What type of lining did you purchase? I assume that all of your fabrics can be lined.

3. I've never done goblet pleats, but have seen descriptions/video online. I think either of your fabrics could be made using goblet pleats, but the smocked (& the gold) would benefit by having buckram.

4. I only have one traverse rod in my home. It's great for opening & closing (one-way draw) my French Triple Pleat drape on the wide sliding glass door. If the drapes were goblet pleats, would they get messed up and not stack neatly when drawn? I never thought about that.

P.S. Can you post pics of the fabric from a distance? How about a pic (from a distance) of the burgundy next to the gold stripe?...lay them flat on the floor, just one above the other.


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Decor site

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Thanks so much for the warm welcome and response Laurie! This is my first time to post to the sewing forum - though I have lurked around GW for years. Thanks for the advise to post to the home décor forum. I just did that and posted more pics as you suggested.

I purchased thermal lining to help with the hot west sun and I am planning to line the entire curtain. (Are there fabrics that can't be lined?? Yikes, my inexperience with draperies is really showing! I also hadn't considered that goblet pleats might not stack. Hmmm...) I considered putting the burgundy at the bottom of the drape but was afraid it might look more like a prom dress than a drapery. LOL. Also, I have a couch that sits in front of the large window so if the foo foo is on the bottom, it won't show much.

Oh my goodness, I may have REALLY messed up (again!) with my fabric. I'm trying to stay away from the crazy expensive fabric and it doesn't leave me a lot of choices when trying to match weight and colors. And I thought the hard part was going to be the actual construction!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I would not use the smocked fabric unless you underline it first with another, more stable fabric which can carry the weight of the rest of the drape. There are tutorials on line on how to do it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Underlining

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Annie - You are always someone that people can count on for good advice. You are awesome!

Marti - Thanks for posting the new pictures above and for your most recent post on the Home Decor site which shows many photos of your master bedroom!

I am so pleased you posted all those photos including your inspiration photo. I can TOTALLY see how those drapes will look perfect for your space. Your furniture is magnificent. Besides the furniture, the best match for your new drapes will be that gem of a floor lamp standing next to your sofa. I love that lamp : )

Your inspiration photo is helpful, but I'm not certain how that drape was constructed. It almost looks like the ruched fabric
is not sewn (at the bottom of the ruching) to the main fabric.
It almost looks like the main drape panel was sewn. Then, the ruched part was (likely underlined as Annie suggested) constructed like a valance and then attached (at the top & sides?)
to the main drape.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marti's Post on Home Decor - Includes Room Photos & Inspiration Photo

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 7:15PM
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Do you have a large enough work table for this job? Most small workrooms would outsource these panels to a large workroom, simply because a large workroom has the work space and the manpower to make such large draperies. It's a lot of fabric to work with.
Because the smocked fabric is stretchy and will grow, either use it on the bottom or make an attached valance, rather than making it an extension. This way, if it grows, it won't be very noticeable. If it grows as an extension, it will look baggy.

You needed to calculate the fabric based on the rod width, not the window width, because you need to allow for stackback, so it needs to be wider than the window. Not 100% sure what your measurement is based on, but if it's just the window width, you still won't have enough fabric. You need about 15 more yards based on my calculations.

It would cost a lot more than what you paid for fabric, to have these custom made, btw.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:51PM
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shadylady2u - I'm so glad you saw this post. You have helped me in the past & I was hoping Marti would get some of your advice, too. You bring up a major consideration for drapery!!

For me, space is a major challenge when making drapery. My "workroom" is my living room. The "work table" is the floor. I have to move some furniture out & some against walls or windows.
That's the largest room in my house and the only way I can cut & construct my drapery. Not professional, but it gets the job done to the best of my abilities.

A long time ago, I made a one way draw (unlined) drape that was for a window 125" wide, 83" long. That was very difficult for me & I'm glad it wasn't lined.
Marti's windows are large. Due to having a center draw instead of a one way draw, that would make it somewhat easier to manage.

My recent one way draw drape was lined with Hanes Outblack ivory lining. I took some pics during construction.
This drape was for hardware measuring 75" from bracket to bracket. My 3 panels of 54" width each, gave this a 150+ inch
width which gave the drape a 2 times fullness. The finished drape length was 87".

Probably not clear from the pics, but,
my living room is "sunken", so the sewing machine is in the entry & not on the same level as the LR floor.

On the 1st pic below, you see the drape fabric (wrong side up).
2nd pic shows the lining on top of the drape fabric.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:03PM
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Good job Laurie! Nice and square. Kudos to you for being able to work on the floor. Working on more than 2 widths is quite the job!

Since she's wanting traversing goblets, I figured 5 widths each panel, for the widest window, that would need a 200" rod. That's a lot of fabric to handle.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:31PM
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