What do window treatments and ball gowns have in common?  Surprisingly, a lot!  As this vintage, Christian Dior gown construction illustrates, beautiful tailoring and style are not effortless, in window treatments OR haute couture.

Buckram, interlining, hems, headings, blind-stitching all go into well-made couture and well-made draperies, too.  A talented seamstress makes all the difference, but are you not sure where to start with all the rest of the details?  What type of pattern?  What type of lining?  What type of header/pleat style?  Well, let's get started!  

What type of pattern?

Is the room already hopping with texture and color?  Than perhaps, the draperies should be understated and textural, for example, a heavy-weight linen.  If your room is visually "quieter", we might need to inject a little dimensionality, with a subtle graphic or organic pattern.  A graphic or organic pattern might be an embroidered pattern of a leaf, trellis or modern diamond.  If you are feeling like you need something bold, a stripe or floral can't be beat.  

What type of lining?

Largely a factor of what your main, drapery fabric is, lining plays a huge factor in how your draperies, look and last!  Regular, typical lining is in a sateen, smooth cotton.  Primarily in white or cream, this is the work horse in an interior designer's arsenal.  If you like the look of your home's exterior to be uniform, than the lining of all draperies should be the same from room to room, as the lining will be visible from the street when the draperies are drawn.

If your fabric is lightweight or a silk, you will want to interline your draperies with a flannel interlining.  This will give your silk or other light fabric protection against the sun's damaging rays.  Which means you will have your face drapery fabric, the flannel interlining and then the regular lining, that will face the street side of your home.  This will increase the weight of your finished draperies, so you will want to make sure your drapery hardware can handle the load of your gorgeous, new draperies.  As someone who has assisted in many drapery installations and staggered under the weight of large panels, believe me when I say that your hardware needs to be STRONG under pressure.  If you draw them twice a day, every day for twenty years, the drapery rod, rings and finials will truly be put to the test.  Dependable hardware will cost a bit more, but will always go the distance.

Beautiful drapery hardware like this is better suited to stationery, side panels and not fully-traversing draperies that need a stronger rod/ring mechanism

"Wait, do I even need a lining?", you may be asking. In some instances, no.  With a sheer drapery, the gauzy effect would be completely lost with a lining.  Going out on a limb, I am going to say that all other draperies, with the exception of the sheers, do, indeed, need a lining.  It gives your draperies structure and form and keeps them from looking a bit like limp laundry hanging out on the line.  

 What type of pleat/header style?

Your personal style and the style of the room will dictate your selection of a pleat or header style.  A traditional space will warrant a goblet pleat, smocked heading or modified pinch pleat.  


Goblet Pleat

Smocked Heading

Modified Pinch Pleat

 A transitional space will demand a modern pleat, boxed pleat, a modified, ripple-fold heading or a pencil pleat drapery.

Modern Pleat

Boxed Pleat

Modified Ripple Fold

Pencil Pleat

A clean, modern space will need a tailored, surface pleat or simple, ripple-fold heading.  


Surface Pleat

Ripple Fold

So many treatment styles and so few windows, right?  All these styles have been shown in solid fabrics, to better illustrate the tailoring, but of course, they are all possible in striped, floral, and geometric patterns.  Draperies add a softness and a finishing touch to a room, in a way nothing else can.  Which treatment style will you use in your space?

July 16, 2017


DuAnne Edwards said:

Liked seeing the picture examples—-they made the discussion more understandable to me! Thank you

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