Monday, May 18, 2015

Another crazy fabric

Does anyone even use the term "casement fabric" anymore?  Fabric like this one probably would've been characterized as a casement fabric back when I was learning window treatments, but I don't think fabric like this didn't even exist back then.
At any rate, this super-expensive, polyester, open-weave, mesh-like fabric needed to be made into 2.5 width pleated panels. 
My first inkling of the challenges to come was with the very first cut.  Cutting along the grainline, if you can call it that, the fabric was 2" longer on one side than on the other.  At the other end of this photo, the grain is lined up with the grid, and weighted down.  At this near end, it's off by 2", and every single cut was like that.
Luckily, these curtains were going under cornices, so the important end was the hemline.  I explained the difficulty and everyone agreed that the bottom should be straight, and at the top, the grain would go where it would. 
I tried four or five ways to sew the widths together; I could not discover a way to sew and eliminate the selvedge.  I needed to use a zipper foot because the bumps were too high for a regular foot to sew alongside.
Pressing the seam to one side, the selvedge is visible but not objectionably so.  We made sure to place the seams alongside a pleat and to the return side of the panels. 
This fabric was unexpectedly heavy, but the designer requested chain weight, so I poured 1/2 bottle of black Rit dye into a bowl, added water and white vinegar, and left the white chain weight in it overnight.  In the morning it rinsed out to a perfectly matching grey.
The easiest part was the hand-sewing of the bottom and side borders- a pleasure, actually!
Seeing that grey chain weight through the fabric made me very happy.
3" translucent buckram was folded into the header and secured with fusible webbing, which melted to invisible.  The tops are doubled, and the pleating was 2.5" full, meaning 6" in the pleat, 4" in the space.  The fabric was too bulky for a three-finger pleat.  Under a cornice, the important consideration is pleating for the best drape-ability, and the two-finger pleat achieved that.  I had intended to tack the pleats by hand, but it actually was easy enough to tack by machine.  The designer called to say the panels look gorgeous!


  1. Deb, I just made silk lined panels with the exact same fabric, but in cream. Yes, fabric was a challenge. I did triple Euro pleats. I agree that two would have been neater, but the designer wanted triple, so triple it was! And they do look beautiful installed! Tracey Hibbard

    1. Tracy, how did you handle the header, and how much fullness did you have? On these I doubled the top over translucent buckram. With 6" available per pleat, I had to do two-finger pleats, couldn't get it to fold into 3.