Friday, January 13, 2012

Totally blacking out drapery panels

Our NYC client is hoping for total blackout from her new draperies.  They're being installed this morning so I'll update this post with pictures if "someone" sends me any!  These upholstery weight panels have 2" 2-finger pleats tacked 1" down from the top, at approximately double fullnesss, with a low-bulk top.  The tack thread is wrapped around the front of the pleat rather than stabbed through the sides.
I tried to do everything humanly possible to be sure light did not bleed through any stitch holes.  We did not blindstitch the lead edge; instead we sewed it, turned, then sewed in an extra strip of blackout to cover the first stitch line, folded back 1/4" to be sure the entire lead edge is filled with blackout.  Not easy to describe, but it worked perfectly.

For the lining seams, we bonded double-sided adhesive tape to the wrong side of the blackout, then cut into 3/8" strips with a rotary cutter.

Then the strips were adhered to the seams.  Merlyn, if you're reading this, THANK YOU for this tip! 

It looked fine as it was but we decided to cover the strip with gimp, also using double-sided adhesive tape.

Short pieces of blackout "bandaid" strip were applied over the pleat seams- another place where light sneaks through.   Leftover blackout strips were sent with the installer so he can cover up anyplace that I might have missed.
Next time I think I might go ahead and blind-stitch or hand-sew a rolled lead edge border, as usual, and adhere a blackout-lined coordinating gimp or other flat trim over the seamline.  I think it could be a beautiful detail.


  1. Hi, I came across your blog while searching the internet for drapery ideas for my living room. Your work is gorgeous!! I'm interested in that double-stick adhesive tape you use; it looks like it provides a strong bond. Any chance you would share where you get it? Thanks!

  2. Hi Shirley- I get most of my workroom supplies from Rowley Company.

  3. Can you please explain more about how you prevent holes in the side hem in the black out lining? I'm wanting to try another method besides what usually do. love your blog!

  4. Hi Joy-
    Boy, I wish I could explain more- honestly it was over 3 years ago and in re-reading my post I have to say I'm not even sure what I did! But further down I see I did write that in the future I'd probably fuse a strip of blackout over the seam and cover that with gimp. One thing I do remember, though, is that the double-sided tape I used didn't hold as well as I had hoped. So I would use a fringe glue such as the one Rowley carries, and use it to glue the blackout strip and the gimp. Or, if you have a Dofix, I believe that that would hold it very well. The product I used was not permanent enough.