Monday, March 29, 2010

Shirred Top Drapery

The whole point of the various header styles on draperies is to control fullness.  Only rarely does anyone want a completely flat panel of fabric on a window.  If it is to have fullness, it must be contained somehow- hence, the pleat.
There are other methods, and here is one: shirring.
In this workroom sample, the gold silk is outlined in a rust microcording, a separate rust layer is added from the back, and the whole thing is shirred.  A two-cord shirring tape has been sewn and hidden- I wanted it to look as finished from the back as from the front.  
I would like to credit Heather Luke, an English curtain maker, for the inspiration for this curtain.  Her amazing curtains are all made by hand, and I wanted to develop a technique to achieve a similar look with faster methods so that I could offer it to my clients.  
(SHE doesn't use shirring tape!, and therefore doesn't need to hide it!)


  1. I really like it. Going to have to remember this.

  2. Hi Tammy!-
    I need to do a whole post on inspiration I've gotten from Heather Luke's books. That's where I first saw a style like this that I thought I could adapt from my clients. She is a curtainmaker in England, I forget exactly where- maybe Penny knows?- Her curtains are very labor-intensive and I wanted to develop a similar look with techniques that would speed up the process. HER shirred curtains are shirred by hand! ha.

  3. Can you share a bit more about your method for hiding the shirring tape?

  4. Sure-
    The shirring tape is sewn on through all the layers all in one step.
    Before folding over the header fabric to the back, pin the shirring tape in place. Then fold the header (in this case there's the extra rust header) and re-pin through all layers, removing the pins underneath as you go. Sew this top line first.
    Then sew the middle line, through all the layers.
    For the bottommost line of stitching, trim the header (in this picture the gold) so that you have enough to tuck under the raw edge as you sew.
    Mostly these sewing lines can be done by feel as you go. You must be very careful not to sew over the shirring cord or else you won't be able to pin them.
    The extra rust header layer makes the first step harder; without it you can mark a line on the header fabric and sew in the tape by feel as you go.
    You also could double-top the header, pressing it into place, and then you wouldn't have to tuck it under the last row of shirring cord.
    This is probably clear as mud. :(

  5. "Double-top the header" ? What does this mean please?

  6. Double-top..... refers (in my past experience) to folding the face fabric to the back rather than sewing the face to the lining right sides together and turning.... you cut the fabric twice the size of the pocket + heading, fold it under, so there are two layers of face fabric in the back layered over the lining.... don't know if I'm making this clear in any way or not?