Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reversible Draperies Tutorial - Part 1 (measuring, cutting, joining widths)

Just before Christmas I diverted from minis to my “big house” (the one I live in).  I wanted curtains for my dining room for the holidays.  I couldn’t decide between all the beautiful fabrics so I thought I would try to make a reversible drapery – with two different fabrics (it was still hard to narrow it down!).  I thought it might work because I was needing stationary panels (ones that just stay in place and don’t get pulled across the window).  The “lining” side could be a second fabric and I could just turn them around when I get tired of the front fabric.  So… it worked!  There were a few tricks I had to do to make them reversible (see the tutorial below).
The face fabric I chose with the pinch pleats (toile) is called “Villa Tuscano Toile” in Tangerine by Ronnie Gold.  On the “front” (orange toile) I made double pinch pleats instead of triple.

The ‘lining’ side is called Elton by Kaufmann in the color “Yolk”.  On the 'lining' side you can see  the  “inverted pleat” – it’s actually just the back of the pinch pleat!  I plan to reverse to the yellow side for spring and summer.  The Elton fabric is a loose weave but very lustrous when you see it up close, which I can't capture in the photos.


I didn’t use drapery hooks but instead sewed the rings into the pleats hiding them somewhat.  That way I don’t have to keep removing the hooks every time I turn the curtains around making lots of holes in the fabric.

The tricks I used that are different from regular lined drapes are  1) both the front and lining panels are exactly the same width (usually the lining is smaller) 2) making both hems aligned evenly with each other; 3) sewing in the rings instead of using hooks and 4) instead of folding the fabric around the header tape I just sandwiched it between the front and lining fabric with a seam across the top.  These fabrics were thick enough to make pleats without the extra folded layers.
See below for how to make reversible draperies. 

My measurements: Tangerine Toile – 27 inch vertical repeats, I cut 5 repeats (125 inches)
Elton Yolk needed 10 repeats for 125 inches; finished length 111 inches, 7 pleats plus 2 end rings for 9 rings total each 1-1/2 width panel)

Helpful tools: a 6 inch wide see-through quilter’s square, yardstick, water erasable fabric marking pen

Working surface: I put all the leaves into my dining table, covered it with a blanket and pinned the blanket below the table (Note I wasn’t careful with the steam iron and raised the wood grain of my table so don’t make my mistake!!)

Notions: Drapery heading, 4 inch wide (paper type non-woven buckram, “header tape”), pins, needle and thread for basting, drapery rings – the kind with a double ring (one smaller for sewing onto the panels and one larger for going over the pole), drapery rods.

  1. When buying fabric that has a large vertical repeat (10 inches or more) buy at least 1 extra repeat for each cut (for 4 panels, buy at least 4 extra repeats).  Most home décor fabrics only sell in full yards so take into account.
  2. To figure how much length to cut for each window panel you need consider: a)  The finished height you will hang the curtains (usually measured to the bottom of the rod if you are using rings). b) The vertical repeat of the fabric. c) Add 8” for hem (double 4” hem)  d) Consider also the drapery rings.  Since I didn’t consider this my panels were all too long, a happy mistake since I wanted them to break on the floor just a little.
  3. For final yardage, consider whether you want double or 1-1/2 widths (1 width being 54”, for most home-décor fabrics).
  4. Measure and mark fabric with water erasable fabric marker
  5. Measure and figure out how to cut and match seams for the ½ widths.  I figured out how many repeats I needed for each panel length then cut all panels with the same number of repeats starting at the very same spot in the design.  Trim off any extra (or work it into the top or bottom hem). Then every panel will match up exactly with each other when joined and when hung.
B. CUTTING – VERY IMPORTANT before you make your first cut, STRAIGHTEN the edge.  If you don’t do this every length you cut after this will not be straight.
  1. Line up a quilter’s wide square ruler or an L-square against (parallel to) the selvege.   Place a yardstick 90 degrees against the lower edge of the square, near where you are going to trim the fabric.  Check that the design is straight against the yardstick (but it may not be).
  2. Mark along the yardstick with a WATER SOLUBLE fabric marker.  Cut on the line through both thicknesses. 
  3. Now you can measure and cut your panels using the measurements (# of repeats) you have calculated.
  1. DON’T TRIM SELVEGES YET!  You will need to see how the pattern matches up first; sometimes manufacturers extend the design a little bit on selveges for overlapping seams, so don’t trim it off until you have decided how to seam it together.
  2. To cut the half widths, fold fabric in half lengthwise and cut down center fold to make a half width.  DON’T SEAM THE WIDTHS AT THIS CENTER CUT EDGE – LET IT BE THE SIDE HEM!!
  3. On some printed fabrics there are registration marks, or even copyright symbols along the selvege that can be used to match widths at the right spot for the side seams, so you can match the design.
  4. Match up the full and half widths together selvege to selvege instead of center to selvege (to take advantage of the extra design for overlap on the selvege edge).
  5. Seam full and half widths together matching design then trim off selveges.
  6. Iron the seams open flat.  It will look so much nicer when they are done (and very professional).

In Part 2 I will tell how to seam the two sides together and finish the draperies.  Here is another photo of the front and back of a panel:

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