Using Forgotten Talents – Designing a Window Dressing

I have been working on designing new window dressings for our living room.   I am not sure why we have lived here for nearly 13 years and not had curtains yet.    We let the blinds down at sunset and raise them as the sun comes up in the morning.   Softening the look of naked windows has never been a high priority.   It makes it easier to pull this kind of stunt this when you have no neighbors.   Only if you have strong field glasses and are determined pervert are you going to know what goes on in our house.

I had lots of helpers as I thought about how to best approach this project.

I had lots of helpers as I thought about how to best approach this project.

Recently our window coverings failed and the manufacturer no longer makes that design.    It meant that we were going to get completely new window covering in the living room.   I chose Roman shades this time.   Some how that made it seem like it was time to make some window dressings for these new shades.

I knew what I wanted, but also knew that nothing ready made would really work for windows the size ours are.   We have two different sized, over-sized windows in our living room.     I have designed curtains from scratch before and learned to let some one else design the curves when possible.   I purchased two  patterns at the local Joann’s each with some of the elements I wanted.    One had jabot and one had swags.   I wanted some pleats but the pleats in neither  patterns were  going to work so I was going to have to do the math to get that right. The pattern was designed for a window 36 inches wide, ours was 81 inches.     Adjustments were in order, serious adjustments.

I then got my 40% off coupon and headed to Joann’s again, this time for a bolt of true-grid.   For those of you unfamiliar with tru-grid, it is a lightweight poly/pellon type  fabric with one inch grid all over it.   I always use it when making window coverings or other home dec items.   It has enough body to allow me try it out like an old-fashion muslin pattern.   I like it better than muslin  because the grid allows me to keep things square and in alignment.   It also is transparent enough that I can fold a pattern for a window in half and make sure that the right and left  sides are symmetrical.   I have taped things together when I need to slip a additional piece in when my math has been wrong. .   I have stapled pleats before  to try out a look and then pulled them out to cut the actual fabric when I knew I had it right.

Pieces from two different patterns, tru-grid, pattern weights and a ruler.

Pieces from two different patterns, tru-grid, pattern weights and a ruler.

The first window pattern is underway.   I added three swags, with the middle one center in the large window.   I have tested the symmetry and have somehow gotten my jabots out of sorts.   That needs to be resolved before I move on.      I have left room for the pleats but haven’t yet decided if I am going to do them as innies or outies.   The stapler will let me get a better feel for that.

The second smaller  window is going to just be two swags with a jabot on each end.   I am hoping that I can just pull out the middle swag and make a few adjustments in the pleats and let ‘er roll.

I share this with you not because you likely care about my windows, but to inspire you not be afraid to try your own creative window coverings.   I don’t recommend that your first project be the living room, but if you can use a sewing machine you can likely make a window dressing.   Maybe a guest room, or your home office would make a great first project.    There are lots of patterns out there.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match.   Tru-grid doesn’t have to be bought  by the bolt, but it makes that trial window covering a great way to figure out really how much of that window fabric you need and if your idea is going to work out as you see it.  Fabric is expensive and it saves lots of heartache.   Be inspired.  Be creative


9 comments on “Using Forgotten Talents – Designing a Window Dressing

  1. intriguing. I’ve never tried actual drapes – just simple kitchen curtains. And since there are no curtains in this house (we just bought it a couple of months ago), now is as good a time as any to learn, eh? 🙂

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