SWAGS & TAILS WINDOW DRESSING LACE & VOILE
The prettiest and most romantic of fabrics, lace gently filters light into a room whilst ensuring privacy. Usually light in color, lace has distinctive qualities of texture and drape, spangling sunlight, creating shadows and fluttering in the breeze from an open window. Muslin and voile, either plain or sprigged with flowers and garlands, can be turned into wispy swags or brief draperies to head a classic window, or they can be reefed up into festoons.
But these fine fabrics drape gloriously when generous lengths are looped and swathed around curtain poles and allowed to descend in full-length cascades, or a full curtain can be knotted halfway- down to flare out again at the hemline. Sheer curtains can overlap across the full width of a window and then be tied back in graceful loops, one side set higher than the other and the overlapping edges accentuated with tassel trimming.
Figured lace should be used much more sparingly than muslin or voile. Lace curtains need very little fullness; in fact some panels look most effective when hung flat against the window using a cased heading or curtain rings and a slender pole. Lace panels with integral borders running round three sides sometimes have a lightweight drawstring tape across the top, stitched so that it doubles as a cased heading. Pelmet (valance) lace is also available and can add a further layer to a lace window treatment.
When voile or lace curtains are needed for privacy, sew cased headings and slot the fabric in un-join widths (to avoid ugly seams) on to rods at both top and bottom, anchored within the window frame so that they hold the fabric lightly taut across the face of the glass. This method particularly suits French windows and glazed doors and is essential to hold fabric close to pivot and sloping windows.
The casings top and bottom are made with two lines of stitching, forming a (stand’ or heading. Simple ties draw the curtains in at the waist. A plain roller blind screens the top part of the window, and can be drawn down necessary. RIGHT A pair of lace panels has been fitted over a slim brass rod to hold these curtains close to the frame oj these generous bedroom windows. The width of each curtain allows for gentle gathers hut still shows off the pattern of the lace.
WINDOW DRESSING MAKING LACE & VOILE CURTAINS
To show off intricate patterns on panels of lace, whether antique or contemporary, you need very little fullness. Use either a cased heading or clip-on rings to achieve this effect. Take particular care when measuring for lace panels: if they are hung by rings from a pole, measure from just beneath the pole; if they are hung from a plain track or rod, measure from the top of the fixture. Headings for any type of sheer curtain fabric may be made in a number of ways, depending on the nature of the fabric and the effect you want.
A cased heading, which enables you to slot the fabric onto a curtain rod or wire, is the simplest to make. For more formal gathers there are special lightweight curtain heading tapes. Because of the transparent nature of the fabric, seams must be made as invisible as possible with borders arranged carefully around the edge of the curtains. Allow ample fullness with fine voile and other fabrics – up to three times.