Thanks for your “heads up” and for your patience – the PayPal links for our new consulting services announced Wednesday are up and running again!
Yesterday was the first post in this series on window coverings. It provided an overview of the hows and whys of window coverings. Today we’ll review the types of ready-made curtains available to you. Each style makes its own visual statement – and the one you select for your room depends on which most appeals to you and best fits the style of your space.
Ready-Made Curtain Panels
Today, more than ever, there is a wide selection of ready-made curtain panels. Choices include style, size, and type of fabric. Most ready-made panels are designed for installation on a decorative rod and you can generally find a good selection of rods at the same place you purchase your panels. Overall, ready-mades are great for budget decorating as they mean less labor (for the curtain maker and you!) and less money.
Department stores, bed and bath retailers, on-line sources, and home improvement stores are just a few of the easily accessible places you’ll find ready-made curtain panels. They come in a wide variety of fabrics including: cotton, silk, linen, velvet, lace, sheer, and polyester.
When first introduced, ready-made curtains were generally available in 48″ wide by 84″ long panels. Today both the widths and the lengths vary greatly so you can find a size for most standard windows. If, however, you have a very unusual custom window you may need to alter ready-mades or custom order curtains to get the fit you need.
Rod Pocket Panels- Rod pocket curtains have been around for ages and are readily available. They have a “sleeve” or a “pocket” at the top that a rod simply slides into. Some panels are made simply by folding the top fabric over and stitching the edge to the fabric. Others fold the top over but then add another row of stitching to create a channel – when hung these have a ruffle look to the top edge. Rod pocket panels look best when they are gathered so before purchasing measure the width of the window (or if they’re just going to be used as decorative side panels measure the wall they’ll cover) and buy panels that their total width is 2-3 times the width of the space you need to cover – if you don’t, they’ll look terrible when you close them as there will be gaps where the window shows through. Rod pockets provide a traditional look.
Tab Top Panels - These are a very popular style panel and are easy to install. The decorative rod simply slips through each tab. Tabs can be made from the same fabric as the drapery or they become decorative elements in their own right when created from a contrasting fabric. Tab top panel curtains are very easy to install. Simply slip the rod through the tab top loops. They provide a casual look.
Hidden Tab Panels - Some panels sport rod tabs on the back of the drape. Like standard tab tops, the rod simply slides through each tab but since they are on the back of the panel both the tabs and the rod are hidden from view. The result is a rolling ripple effect on the front of the panel – providing a dressier look than the casual tab top panel. Hidden tabs provide a more modern and streamlined look than tab top panels.
Flat Panels- Flat top panels are simply like a large flat piece of fabric that’s been hemmed on all sides. In order to attach them to the rod you add ring clips to the top of the panel. Decorative clips are readily available in a variety of styles, colors and materials including metal and wood. They can be fancy, decorated with carvings or jewels, or very simple, utilitarian and unembellished. Flat panels provide a dressy or casual look depending on the fabric and clip combination.
Grommet Panels – This panel has metal grommets installed all along the top, the size of which may vary from small to very large. A decorative rod slides through the grommets easily and, somewhat like the hidden tab, provides a ripple effect on the front of the drape when open. Grommetted panels provide a very modern look.
Pinch Pleated Panels – A pinch pleat is a classic drapery that provides a more formal look than the other panel tops. For hanging pinch pleats you may use a tradition I-rod which is not visible when the panels are installed or you may use a decorative rod that has rings on it to which the pinch pleat clip is attached – the rod and rings remain visible. Pinch pleats provide a custom look.
More on Panels
For my convenience I showed you curtain panels from our affiliate www.amazon.com but there are a tremendous number of online and brick-and-mortar stores that sell curtain panels. Shop around and find the ones that work best for your room and budget.
In my post next Thursday I’ll show you ideas for customizing ready-made panels so you can enjoy the ease and affordability of an off-the-shelf curtain while decorating with a unique, one-of-a-kind window dressing.