Right now one of the hottest trends is toward delectable details—so gorgeous we eat them with our eyes—we visually savor the refinement and precision, the well-thought-out aesthetic indulgence. This trend satisfies a bit of passion for beauty; a small, rewarding indulgence. In other words, today we love details that are irresistible!
BEGIN AT THE TOP
One way to satisfy the craving for aesthetic passion is to begin with a great drapery rod in the metal of your choice and consider supplementing it with resin products. These items are so substantial that they have taken the place of floral fabrics. They are three-dimensional, real and solidly handsome.
Styles now are broadly appealing with many distinctive shapes from which to choose. The effect may be light in scale, almost delicate, and yet strong enough to support the weight of luxury textiles. Or hardware can be powerful and heavy. Unlike simple hardware of the past, today’s drapery hardware is artistic—becoming accessories that command attention to its details.
THE ICING ON THE CAKE
The second major irresistible detail trend is passementerie, which includes the entire spectrum of manufactured trimmings, either hand-tied or machine-made of silk, rayon, linen or cotton. In this article are definitions of the categories of passementerie. After all, the more you know, the better you sell.
• Borders are flat, narrow textiles—2 1/2 to six inches—woven with complex Jacquard designs similar to lampas or tapestry. Borders are used on window treatments, upholstery, accessory items and as wall trimmings.
• Braids or Galloons are flat, woven narrow textiles from 5/8-inch to four inches in width, which may be in a dobby or Jacquard pattern. Edges may be straight, looped, scalloped or cut.
• Flat braids or Galloons are woven in satin, tabby or twill weaves, sometimes with floral designs.
• Raised openwork braids or Galloons are made of gimp plied yarns (smooth and tight), which form open half or full scrolls. Braid is applied to window treatments, skirts of table covers, upholstery and bed linens.
• Cord and Rope cord consists of plied yarns twisted together ranging from 3/16-inch to one inch in diameter. Rope is never over one inch in diameter. Yarns may be plain plies, twisted with a few turns per inch; or gimped plies, wrapped very tightly around a core with many turns per inch. Cord may be one color or multiple colors and used alone or in combination with tassels or gimp.
• Barrier rope is used to keep foot traffic restricted, and may be finished with a metal cuff and hook to be attached to upright heavy poles.
• Cord tiebacks are single or double decorative cord in a continuous loop on each end to tie back draperies (see also tassel tiebacks below).
• Rail rope or Stair cord is used in place of a handrail. These may also be combined with tassels (see tassels below).
Fringes are complex elements consisting of a heading such as gimp, braid or galloon and an attached skirt.
• Base fringe has a thick netted or woven yarn heading, almost like macramé usually with tassels or cut yarns at the bottom.
• Boullé or Bullion fringe is made of cords instead of yarns which are 2 1/2 to 12 inches long. Longer lengths are typically used on Victorian style upholstery and table covers; shorter lengths as top treatment or drapery fringe.
• Cut moss or Moss edge fringe is a narrow plain heading and a full, generous skirt of fine yarns cut or looped.
• Fine cut fringe has a flat skirt or thin yarns attached to a variety of headings from wide braids and galloons.
• Glass bead fringe is a heading with glass or composite beads attached to the yarn skirt. May be simple or very complex, short or long. The effect is jewelry-like.
• Loop fringe has a flat skirt of very fine looped yarns.
• Netted tassel fringe features crisscrossed yarns between the heading and fringe.
• Rat tail fringe is a type of openwork galloon with a heading and large half-round loops or scallops in gimp yarns.
• Tassel fringe is a heading, a looped fringe to which tassels are attached. Tassels may be spaced and sparse, lay in tight procession, or even be overlaid in various lengths, called multi-tasseled fringe.
• Glass or Ceramic bead fringe is made with the addition of ornamental beads or drilled shaped pieces in place of or in combination with tassels.
• Wood mold fringe utilizes small balls or ornamental wood pieces in place of fringe attached to a heading.
• Cotton ball or pom fringe is a country, casual fringe in which tassels are replaced with round tufts or poms made entirely of cotton.
• Bullion fringe has cords in place of yarns attached to the heading. The cords are looped at the bottom and twisted together.
• Gimp or Guimpe is flat, narrow woven textiles, 3/8-inch to 3/4-inch wide woven in many styles, plain or with scalloped loops. Used as upholstery tack coverings, as trimmings on walls, lampshades, pillows or other decorative areas.
• Flat gimp is plain or woven with a scroll, diamond, ribbed or chevron pattern. Raised surface gimp utilizes piled yarns wrapped around a core in ornate scroll designs.
• Corded gimp has a cord sewn either on the edge or the center.
• Grosgrain is uniformly ribbed, closely woven trimming ribbon in various narrow widths with a right crosswise rib and finished edge. It is usually available in solid colors.
• Ribbon is a narrow fabric that comes in different widths from 1/4-inch to three inches with selvage edges, commonly of rayon, silk or velvet and used for trimmings.
• Rosettes, Bows, Tufts, Frogs are a category of single item decorative trimmings used as a single finishing touch.
Rosettes are made of yarns or fabric to resemble a rose.
Bows are made of passementerie such as braid or yarns to form a custom bow and may be used in combination with other elements.
Tufts are small (1 1/2 inch and smaller) circles of yarns in loops or cut yarns used as detail trimmings.
Frogs are units of arranged cording in a decorative shape from 3/4-inch to five inches wide. May be called frog rosettes. Historically, they are used as looped clasps on Chinese clothing. Today frogs may also incorporate tassels and become complex elements.
• Tassels and Tiebacks are a category of passementerie often used together.
Tassels are individual elements made of a head and skit of yarn or cords with an optional variety of embellishments, which may include netting, tiny tassels, overlaid cords, frogs or wood or glass beads, to name a few. Tassels may be attached to cords for various purposes.
Cord Tiebacks are single or double cords or ropes that are bound together in a cuff at the end with a loop to attach to a hook on the wall as a drapery is tied back.
Chair tassels or Chair ties are a long cord with a tassel on each end that anchors the chair seat to the vertical stile of the chair.
Chandelier tassels are used as ornament around the suspending chain or pipe or at the bottom of the chandelier.
Festoons are cords or thin ropes with tassels at each end, intended to swag or festoon at the top of the draperies. They are be used as a valence or in conjunction with a valence.
Key tassels are short, very full tassels three to 4 1/2 inches long, traditionally attached by a key to a furniture piece. May be used as decoration on window treatments or attached to drawer knobs, for example.
Ladder tiebacks are a variation of the cord tiebacks in which a series of loops gives a knotted effect similar to ladder rugs.
Tassel tiebacks are substantial, sometimes very ornate tassels on a looped cord or rope used for holding back drapery panels.
• Lace and Apparel trimmings as edging window treatments with trimmings from the apparel fabric store has become more common, trimmings have included pleated, plaited ribbon and lace of many types, such as chantilly, Battenberg and eyelet. Buttons, belting, appliqués and other trimming items are being creatively incorporated into trimmings.
Jewelry and Floral Accents can be made up of many materials, from resin to rolled steel to seashells to costume jewelry such as beads and broaches. These can be used as or with tieback holders, hung as pendants at the end of jabot or tabs, or stitched or glued to the face of the fabric. Magnets are used to secure jewelry manufactured for drapery ornamentation, which means their placement and effects can be changed as often as desired. Silk greenery and florals and even dried flowers can form top treatments, be looped over drapery hardware, and be used as or with tiebacks. Small objects of art from any source can be cleverly used to accent window treatments. Advice: Don’t allow creativity to usurp good judgment.
Fabric trimmings include custom fabricated ruffles, banding and items such as rosettes. These items can be somewhat complicated to calculate for yardage and pricing for the labor to sew. As a general rule, add one to two yards for ruffles and banding, and 1/2-yard for each rosette. Be certain to meet with the fabricator/seamstress on pricing as well as yardage requirements for ruffles, banding and rosettes. These items may need a little practice to calculate. Remember that banding is added up in linear inches and that pricing usually must be converted to feet or yardage for fabrication. Both ruffles and banding are strips of fabric cut from the yardage. Banding is flat and top stitched or fused, and often cut on the bias because it will lay flat better. Ruffles are gathered or shirred to two or three times fullness. The amount of yardage will depend on the number of strips needed and the cut width (finished width plus turn-under hem allowances).
Braid, cord, gimp and fringe are usually sewn or glued onto the drapery treatment. Banding is either sewn on or fuse-bonded with a heat-sensitive fabrication tape, and may be layered. Ruffles vary considerably in size and the way they are applied. They can also be layered and are often added to create greater depth, luxury or a country or feminine theme.
Trimmings, both passementerie and fabric trimmings, can add a substantial amount to the price of draperies. They also can provide luxury and beauty to the window treatment, giving it an exclusive, custom look. Don’t be afraid to suggest trimmings to a client—it is often the difference that can set your designs apart from the competition. However, do use good judgment in placement, color coordination and amount of trimmings used. Be sure it is appropriate for the level of formality and the theme of the interior—compatible and complementary.
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She has authored several books including Window Treatments, Understanding Fabrics and Interiors: An Introduction, 3rd Ed. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.