Unusual Curtain Design

The display in the shop

A few months ago a customer asked me to copy the design of some curtains that she had seen in a big department store. Of course,  I said yes.  I  knew the display that she meant because I had admired it myself. The fabrics are from Harlequin made up into a cascade Roman Blind with a gross grain ribbon with hand sewn mother of pearl buttons and matching curtains interlined with a dual contrast band attached at the first pleat.

Arkona velvet in Lapis cascade blind

This cascade Roman blind was very straight forward apart from the pile of the very heavy weight upholstery velvet which meant that pressing was out of the question. The blind is over one width wide with two outside joins. The way we got over making sure the seams laid flat was to use double sided tape . It worked a treat! and not an iron in sight.

Close up of button trimming on hem.

The trim at the bottom of the blind was a bit different to anything we had done before. Mother of pearl buttons were hand sewn at regular intervals on to contrast gross grain ribbon. The ribbon was then hand sewn on to the hem of the blind before the turning at the back was secured. Once the blind was hung up on the track to check it worked properly we discovered that the ribbon trim added weight at the bottom and the trim was  hanging down towards the back of the blind. We sorted this out by doing a row of stab stitches just above the ribbon trim to hold into place.

Close up of heading and contrast dual band.

As you can see from this picture from the workroom the contrast band has been sewn on to the curtain fabric which is Harlequin Celeste in Duck egg. The band is made from Harlequin Lucido Plains in Mushroom with the Arkona velvet in Lapis.

We had to work out our pleats and spaces  to determine the size of the width of the band. In this case the band is 6cm wide with cartridge style pleats of 12 cms. In a two width pair of curtains there were 10 pleats in each curtain.

We were also able to work out where the seam needed to be so that it did not appear in the front of any of the pleats. In this case the second width was reduced by approximately 5cms..

The construction of the contrast band

It took one of my girls a whole day of development work before we came to workable way of attaching the band to the curtain and also achieving the look required. There is a 6cm band of the Lucido Plains with 2cms turnings each side. Inserted into the middle of the band was a 6cm strip of firm sarille interlining.

We then attached two separate strips of the Arkona velvet to the outside edges of the band. These were held in place with 3mm double sided tape at the cut edge. You can also see the herringbone stitches used to keep the edges of the Lucido Plains together and flat in the middle.

Close up of dual contrast band.

This picture shows how the band was top stitched onto the curtain at the position of the first pleat by top stitching into the groove. To stop any puckering with the different weights of fabrics we used a 3mm double sided tape to hold everything in place and flat. This was done before the curtain was constructed.

View of the top of the curtain so show the size of the pleating.

This picture clearly shows that the size of the pleats and spaces are of a similar measurement. You can also see that the pleats are left open at the top as they are secured at the bottom with a self covered button.

The dual bands of the finished curtains.

Here you can see the finished bands and pleats. By adding a button at the base of the pleat which flattens the fabric makes the top of the pleat come forward to give a rounded look.

Finished curtain

As you can see the stack back of this heading is bigger than normal because of the type of pleat used. I recommend that this type of heading only be used for dress curtains which my customer was happy with.

The finished curtains and blind installed

There was a lot of development work technically with this whole design as we were working with such different weights of fabrics but the overall effect was very pleasing. It is rewarding to be able to produce a job that is challenging and to know you have done a good job and also please the customer.

22 thoughts on “Unusual Curtain Design

  1. These look stunning! I can just imagine the discussions and trials that went in to designing these.My husband and I are going to be in the UK next month and would love to visit your workroom if you are amenable to the idea. We both work in the business and find we never quite switch off, even on holiday….
    Your blogsite is great and Peter gave it a mention in the newsletter for the Soft Furnishing Associates members site this month. Hope you got lots of hits from it.
    Kind regards,

  2. These panels are beautiful! The larger-than-usual stackback with this heading style could be a plus in some instances; I’m thinking of those times when a client has fallen in love with a pricey designer fabric and we need to make it look like “less is more.” Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Rebecca. I try to make the blog about the unusual things we do rather than the same old pleats etc.

  3. I love your work. It’s so nice to see something different and try out new styles. It helps keep bespoke curtain making one step ahead of the mass produced market.

  4. Penny,
    First time on this blog, love the curtains, very unique.
    I had a question. I was hemming some curtains I bought and just learning how to sew, I hemmed them 1 1/2” too short. I have 5 panels, $100 each, so I want to use them. I thought about adding fringe to the bottom to add some length. Do you have any suggestions on how I can fix this problem?

    • Christina
      Sorry to hear about your curtains. You can add a fringe trim to the bottom or alternatively add a band to the bottom in a contrasting colour.

  5. Beautiful Romans and curtains. I recently was asked to make a roman with a heavy Andrew Martin velvet, but I struggled to get a needle through it as it was so thick. Also I was concerned about movement due to the velvet pile!

    • Dear Sarah
      Personally I would not make a roman blind in a velvet. I talk from experience it just does not suit a pile fabric….
      That’s whats great about this craft you are always learning.

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