Monday, November 5, 2012


This past spring I made some velvet pole swag treatments.  I drafted the pattern myself using Ann Johnson's book and was pleased with the results, but the velvet caused me a lot of grief due to the bulk.  I swore I'd never suffer again making swags.

By wonderful coincidence, a workroom that was going out of business had a Parkhill swag system for sale at about half the price of new- and I jumped on the opportunity.  The instructions came on an old video so I called Scot Robbins, the US distributor/rep, and he sent me a DVD.

Naturally I did not have a single swag order until last month, and I wondered if I'd made a mistake; but finally I had the chance to use it.  First I mocked up a sample swag the size of the six I had to make.

What makes the Parkhill system so easy to use is the adjustable template which creates fingers that are stapled to the board side by side, and the book of tables for every possible variation.  Fusible tape seals the face and lining together and eliminates virtually all excess bulk.    

I took my time fabricating the actual swags; I was still a little nervous.  But once they were done, I examined them carefully for anything unacceptable and discovered that they were.... well, perfect.  There are two treatments, mirror images of each other.

An amazing bonus to the system is the jabot pleating jig which is really fun to use AND eliminates pleating anxiety.

I'm a believer!  I'll still need my pattern-drafting skills- in fact I'm drafting some raised swags this week that are totally non-conforming to any hybrid swag style I can find, so I'm deep into the mocking-up process right now.  But for standard swags, you can't beat the Parkhill system for speed and accuracy.  Scot says that as I grow more experienced using it, I'll be able to figure out how to use it for unusual swags, like arched, asymmetrical, etc.  That will be fun, but right now I'm just thrilled to have it for standard swags.


  1. I can always tell a Parkhill swag - the proportions, shape and folds are perfect. Great job on your virgin outing with the system, Deborah. And wasn't that sweet customer service from Scot - especially when it wasn't "OEM"!

  2. thank you, Merlyn! I'm happy to say that I have another Parkhill job coming up- can't wait.