COVERING UP WITH FABRIC
Measure up the area to be covered, and check the width of the fabric you intend to use. Calculate the total width of the area to be covered. For fabric gathered on to curtain wires, you will need at least 10 times this width; for stretched and stapled fabric you will need to add an allowance for joining widths plus about 10 cm (4 in) for turning down the sides of the area to be covered, and for a pleated and stapled finish you will need to allow 2-3 times the width of the area, plus side turnings.
Divide the total width of fabric required by the width of the fabric you plan to use to give the total number of drops of fabric. Each drop of fabric has to be the height of the wall to be covered, plus 10 cm (4in) top and bottom for making a casing or turning and stapling – make allowances for any pattern repeats. Multiply the length of each drop by the number of drops to give the total amount of fabric required. Battens have to be fixed all around the room to carry the stapled fabric or the curtain hooks.
The battens can be nailed in place with masonry nails, screwed, or glued with a strong building adhesive. The fabric lies away from the wall, so you will have to adjust the positions of light switches, fittings and sockets, raising them away from the wall and edging them with battens so that you can fix the fabric around them. Always turn off electricity at the mains before doing this; if you do not feel confident about working with electrics, ask an electrician to do this for you.
If you want to hang pictures afterward, remember to position battens in suitable places. For gathered fabric, string curtain wires around the room along the battens. Fit extra wires above and below sockets and switches, above doors and above and below windows. Make up panels of fabric for the major areas to be covered, turning under a narrow hem down each side. Form casings top and bottom by turning under a double 5 cm (2 in) hem and making two rows of stitching 2.5 cm(1 in) apart, 2.5cm(1 in)- from the finished edge of the panel.
Thread the wires through the casing and hang in place, adjusting fullness across the wall. Mark the position of electrical sockets on the fabric curtain. Take down the fabric, cut an H shape and turn hems to make casings above and below the area removed for the sockets. Neaten the sides of the opening with zigzag stitch before rehanging.
For stapled fabric place extra battens vertically down the corners of the room and around doors and windows. Join widths to make up panels of fabric for each area to be covered and press under 10 cm (4 in) turnings all around. Staple one side edge of the first panel to a vertical batten at the end, working from the wrong side of the fabric with the panel of fabric turned to face the adjacent wall. Work across the wall, stapling the top edge of the fabric to the horizontal batten. Stretch the fabric, and then staple the bottom edge in place. (This may be easier with two people, one working at the ceiling and the other working along the skirting.)
If the window has angles or curves, as with bay or bow windows, check that the track can go around the bend. For medium- and heavy-weight drapes, and pale-colored curtain fabric, it is worth using a cording set so that you can draw the curtains without putting unnecessary strain on the leading edge of the curtains – this helps to prolong wear and reduces the need for cleaning.
Heading tapes Heading tapes either have drawstrings running through them which pull up to form a gathered or pleated heading plus woven loops to fit the hooks into or they have woven slots into which Standard tape Pencil pleat tape pronged curtain hooks are fitted to form pleats across the top of the curtain. Many heading tapes have the effect of stiffening a few centimeters ‘ across the top of the curtain, which gives a crisp finish and helps heavy curtains to hang well.
The manufacturer will indicate how much fullness is required in the curtain for the different sorts of heading tape. Roman blinds and Austrian blinds have special tapes with rings sewn to them at regular intervals to carry the cords for pulling the blind. Cased headings involve making two lines of stitching across the top hem of the curtain so they can be slotted onto a pole, rod or wire. Lining tape – Triple or pinch pleat tape.