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Friday, November 18, 2011

Turban Swags

If you want to learn how to draft your own swag patterns and troubleshoot to fine-tune your swag, you can't do better than to consult these two books by Ann Johnson.   These books are regular lunch-time reading for me.

I pored over them when I had a recent order for two Turban swag valances, and learned that a Turban swag is not simply a swag with one side made wider to wrap around the board; rather, it is a hybrid: the top-mounted side is a regular swag, and the return-mounted side is a boxed swag.  Two patterns must be drafted and joined.
Both of the valances for my order were quite wide, and were to have only two swags each.  That meant that the top-mounted half was actually the equivalent of half of a 100" swag!     
In this case, the top is pleated, and the return sides are scrunched.   We had to do a good bit of improvising because of the nature of the slinky, stretchy, satin fabric- more on that below.
This is not the glam shot- in fact the swags are barely dressed- but you get the idea.

I followed the instructions for dropping plumb lines from the board to determine the line where the regular swag and the boxed swag meet; and I draped chain weight to get the exact finished measurements and the specified short point at the overlap in the center. 

I made my pattern and when I stapled it onto the board, it fit just the way I wanted it to except that I found I needed to trim a little off the bottom curve.  I just used a Sharpie pen to draw the bottom curve where I wanted it, then trimmed off the excess.

The fabric was a slinky, stretchy satin- and it was interlined.  Here it is, again, not quite dressed!
It was an extremely difficult swag to drape, in the end; although the mock-up draped just the way I planned, the actual swag was so heavy and stretchy that I had to modify it to make it fit the specifications.  Pleats on the returns absolutely would not hold their shape so we turned them into scrunched/gathered returns. 
Luckily the installer is very talented and was able to dress the swags perfectly once the valances were hung.  The decorator and the homeowner were delighted, and I was relieved when they called to tell me so.  


  1. is their a pattern for the Turban Swag?

  2. Yes, from M’Fay, pattern 9225 “Turban Swag” available through The Workroom Channel.