Looks like we have what we like to call a good old fashioned predicament here.
Everybody likes the look of window treatments, whether they be shutters for the contractor types, plantation blinds for their function, or draperies and curtains for their softer and more relaxing appearance.
But not everybody feels the need to call a contractor. For the do-it-yourself types, it's just another fun project where you can really put your creative abilities to the test.
so how do we do it?
First, you need to measure your length.
We recommend measuring from the floor all the way to 2/3 the distance between the top of the window frame and the ceiling. For a more in-depth article about curtain sizing, check out our previous blog post here.
Normally you would add 16" to this measurement, but since we measured all the way to the floor let's just add 15 1/2". You can add or subtract length according to taste. However, we don't recommend subtracting any more than an additional half inch for a total of an extra fifteen inches. This helps you avoid curtains that are too short for the window they hang in.
Next, measure your width.
We recommend measuring an additional six to ten inches inches past each side of the window to allow the curtain to fully open without concealing the window. This is really important on these beachfront houses and condos near Panama City Beach and Inlet Beach!
Now take that figure and double it. This will ensure that your curtains have a nice, full appearance. No skinny mini draperies for us, no sir!
Now it’s time to get to work.
These curtains are more for decoration and light filtering than anything, so let’s just use the fabric as is without attaching a liner to the back. This is going to make the sewing much easier as well.
These taller windows are where wider drapery and upholstery fabric really make your life a whole lot easier. But first let’s get the fabric ready for use. Using a straight edge, mark a line along the length of the rough area at the top and bottom of the fabric. This is called the selvage, and it may look cool but curtains and selvage aren’t exactly friends. Trim it off so your curtains hang correctly.
Now that that’s complete, you can choose which direction you want the fabric to run. Most drapery and upholstery fabrics come in widths of either 54” or 118”. Assuming you have a wide enough fabric that has that extra 15 1/2 inches we added to the overall length, you can simply turn it sideways.
It it may not sound like that big of a deal, but that stops you from having to sew multiple panels together to form one solid drapery panel. Believe us, it’s a huge time saver. That’s why we always recommend fabrics that come in 118” widths.
Get to sewing!
Each side of the curtain must be folded twice, each fold consisting of one inch of material. Make sure and use a ruler to keep those edges square! So fold once, press with an iron (unless you’re using a fabric that isn’t heat safe), then fold again and press a second time.
Now for the side stitches.
Make sure your needle is strong enough to penetrate the three layers of fabric we now have before us. A #14 needle should be perfect for the occasion. Now place your stitch along the two folded edges we’ve placed at each side of the curtain. Don’t get too close to the edge or you might risk falling off the side of the drapery. An eighth of an inch away from the folded edge should do the trick. A good stitch length to use is 3.0 for just the right amount of strength.
A trick we like to use is placing a piece of tape on the sewing machine as a reference point so we can sew more quickly without having to keep our eyes on the tiny little measuring marks on most sewing machines.
Now do the same for the top and bottom of the drapery, but with different measurements.
On the bottom, make and press two folds of three inches and sew. Starting this seam with the sewing machine can be a little difficult due to the thickness of the fabric, so we recommend placing a piece of fabric behind the foot to help get it started.
Now do the same for the top, with each fold being five inches.
Time for the grommets!
Mark your “crosshairs” where the grommets will be placed exactly 2 1/2 inches from the top of the drapery and 2 1/2 inches from the side. A good general rule for distance beteeen each grommet is 9 inches, but this can of course differ depending on window size. A little quick math should do the trick.
Now use the template that came with your grommets and draw a circle around each ”crosshair”. Now cut those holes out and pop the grommets in place and voila! You’re done!
Congratulations, you’re up there with the pros!
you deserve a beer.
Contact us with your projects, we’d love to feature you on our blog!
Here are some great resources for you to check out.
By Draperies By Design
This is something a lot of people seem to struggle with, just like deciding on what size suit a gentleman should wear.
If you want those draperies, shades and curtains to look absolutely tip-top, they've got to be not only the right color but the right size. And that not only goes for the window treatments themselves, but the rod as well!
Get on with it!
Okay, so to make it as easy as possible we've separated the three main problem areas we've encountered in the wide world of windows.
Length of the drapery
Drapes and other soft window treatments can be high water, just like the pants your neighbor should've donated to charity years ago. There are three lengths we suggest, and each one lends a strikingly different look.
First, there's The Highball as we like to call it. This is where the draperies or sheers hang less than an inch above the ground. For the vacation rentals in the area we recommend one to two inches of space between the draperies and flooring, depending on the amount of traffic a condo or vrbo property experiences near the windows.
Second we have The Kiss. And it's just as intimate of a relationship as it sounds. This requires the absolute most careful measurements to be taken as well as the use of those same measurements during the installation process. Fortunately for you, we handle all of this for you so you don't have to worry about a thing.
And the most elegant of all, there's the puddled look for that timeless, Victorian look. Nothing flaunts pure elegance and opulence like The Puddle. For the uninitiated, this is where the draperies are allowed to drape liberally over the floor. Very stylish. Posh, some might say. Talk about putting on the ritz, this is the way to do it. Not recommended for rental properties however!
Height of the rod
This is another way that drapery companies and designers alike can fall, well, short.
If you ask us, the best rule of thumb is 2/3 the distance to the ceiling at least. Anything less than that can be pushing it if it's not pulled off just right. Push, pull, get it?
Width of the rod
This is also very important! Not only from a design point of view, but from a function perspective. With all the beautiful beachfront condos and houses we have on the Gulf Coast, there's one heck of a view out there that we need to preserve.
Rods should extend a minimum of six inches to either side of the window. We prefer much more, however.
But what about my condo with wall to wall windows, you say?
Well we have a sort of innovation for that. We call it... (Drumroll please...) The Opti-View! What's that you say?
We use bent architrac rod technology and a little extra fabric to extend the drapery (typically blackout draperies in these beachfront properties) to allow most of the stackback to collect out of the way of that killer view!
If you're asking what stackback is, it's the width of fabric that collects to the side of a window when the drapery is open.
And as you might imagine, it blocks the view to the great outdoors. No bueno.
How wide should the panels of my draperies be?
This is the last point we have to cover for today, but my no means is it the least important. Most manufacturers make draperies approximately double the width of the window.
This ensures that when you close the curtains, they keep a nice, soft billowy appearance instead of just looking like a sheet hanging in front of your magnificent view.
For another fantastic article on drapery size and length, be sure to check out the following resources.
Okay, so we already know that window treatments are pretty. They look GREAT, increase the control over how much light you let into your home or office and also increase amount of privacy you have.
But is that it?
Well according to www.energy.gov there's a lot more to it. Even regular plantation blinds are reported to give as much as a 45% reduction in heat gain providing that they are "highly reflective."
So how does that translate?
well, from the standpoint of blinds, anything with a glossy surface is bound to provide more protection. Even real wood blinds with a shinier texture will fit this bill quite nicely. Something you have to think about in damp environments however is the (small) possibility of warping.
On the other hand, one thing you're gonna hear us talk a LOT about is solar shades.
Also known as roller shades, these bad boys are both incredibly affordable and specifically tailored to reducing the heat that filters no- POURS in through some of these beachfront homes we have in areas such as 30a, Panama City Beach, and Seaside.
What's that you say? You like the wooden, beachy look?
Well fortunately for you, there are not only solar shades made with what appears to be wood, but actual woven wood shades!
The price point is a little higher but man, the look is what sells. Both of these window treatments come in room darkening, 3% visibility, and blackout as well.
Summing it up
There's a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to blinds, shades, shutters and of course draperies.
They can actually SAVE you money in the long run due to energy savings.
Thanks for reading!
Owner of Draperies By Design
Robert Huey is the Emerald Coast's leading expert on window treatments. From a humble beginning as an installer for interior designers in the area, he has rapidly become an expert of every single type of window treatment, both interior and exterior.