Wednesday, May 6, 2015

135" of drama. And arched shades.

On installation day, it often happens that we are so wrapped up in the details of the work, we forget to really look and see how beautiful the treatments are.  That's what happened to me with this job for Denise Wenacur: drapery panels 135" long flanking sheer arched relaxed shades.  When I got home and saw the photos on the computer, I was astonished at how dramatic this room had become!
The panels are two-finger Euro pleats with 6" buckram.
The shades are a very sheer voile, mounted on very discreet frames that blend in with the woodwork.
Making those frames was the biggest challenge of the project.  There was a lot of trial and error.  I chose to use FirmAFlex for the arched part.  It's white and I hoped it would blend in with the wood, but in the end I covered it all with fabric after all. 
The first template was made from paper, and then a second template from foam board.  I wanted something that was rigid, to fit into the space without flexing, for testing; but also a material that I could modify if corrections were needed.
John rigged up a way to stabilize the sheets of FirmAFlex so it could be cut with a jigsaw. 
The arch was attached to the dustboard, then a narrow strip to the top.  This is the back, facing outside.
The narrow edge became the front.  All the surfaces were eventually covered with fabric, hiding the little angle iron, the raw edges, and the joins.  In the window, the frame just disappears and looks like the woodwork.
When the shades were fabricated, the ladder tape stopped just above the board line, and I ran a line of basting thread along the board line as a reference for stapling later.
I'm getting ahead of the story now, but here, the shade already stapled on and hung on a Workroom Valet, you can see how the basting line guided the fabric placement.
But back to the fabrication story.  When it was time to put the shade on the frame, I eventually decided to run double-sided tape along the arch, and carefully fold the fabric (cut following the arch) up over the edge, easing in the fullness, and sticking it to the tape.
Next came the part where I forgot to take pictures of applying a narrow piping to the edge, and covering all remaining surfaces with fabric.  Then Rollease traversing clutches were mounted and rigged, the shade strung, and leveled- then packed for installation.
On installation day, our talented installer Mario dressed the draperies to perfection. 
In order to get the pleats and spaces right, I made mockups of the stripe and marked everything before trimming down the widths for joining.
In the adjacent dining room, two-finger Euro pleat panels are drawn to each side.  Sheer relaxed shades under the panels are just like the living room shades, minus the arch.


  1. These are beautiful and you did a remarkable job creating them!! Thanks for sharing your talents!!

    ~ Darlene

  2. Deborah, how visible were the traversing clutches from the front? I can't tell in the photo. Lovely work and, as always, the tutorial is appreciated!

  3. Thanks Frances- and the clutches were barely visible. Most of the clutch mechanism was behind the panel. So only the cream-color fiberglass rod was really in the line of sight, and it was not noticeable at all- just another horizontal line. Also the eye is naturally drawn upward so it's not really paying attention to that area.

  4. Really truthful experience. How long it takes to done all process?

    1. Jolie, it was several weeks of hard work! Thank you.

  5. Wow! Love these sheer arched roman shades!! I'll be making my first arched roman shade and will need to build a very narrow depth like you did here. I'll be using the autodescend from Dofix with the space saver brackets. My depth will be 1". Any tips on building the arch with such a narrow depth? Also, how did you install the treatment? Did you use angle irons on the dustboard only? Or Did you screw up inside the arch portion into the trim? I have so many questions! Feel free to email me at Thank you so much!! I LOVE LOVE your all of work!