Also, if I decide to use a mount board, could you also offer suggestions or guidelines for creating cascades and swags?
SOLUTION: Pleated shades are an excellent choice for the decor in your client's traditional room setting. The wonderful advantage of pleated shades is that they can be made to be total blackout (ideal for a bedroom) or to softly filter light. Pleated shades also combine function with a soft fabric look for a wonderful transition from the window to any room setting.
In your customer's master bedroom, the pleated shade will serve as an excellent undertreatment for a second and third layer of window treatments if you choose to cover them with draperies and accent the room with a swag and cascade treatment.
When it comes to swags and cascades, you may have a few choices to make, though! The first option would be a loose swag treatment, in which the fabric is one continuous piece dressed on a decorative pole. This treatment will offer a decorative look that is not quite as formal as the traditional swag and cascade treatment and could make a good counterbalance to the room furnishings.
A traditional swag and cascade treatment also is an excellent choice—and might be the best choice given your client's furnishings and how closely she would like the room to follow style. I would recommend that you consult with a custom drapery workroom—or one that specializes in swags and cascades—before designing this treatment.
Whichever style of swag and cascade you and your client choose, it is important to choose the proper fabric.
Suggestions for the loose swag treatment are soft fabrics, such as linens, cottons and lightweight rayon or acetate with a soft hand. It is also recommend to choose a fabric that is not too shiny on one side. This finish may make the fabric slippery and it could be difficult to keep it from sliding off the pole. Be sure to have your installer dress the window to your client's satisfaction.
Traditional swags and cascades also demand a fabric with a soft to medium hand. Suggestions would include chintz, a glazed and high surface luster fabric; antique satin, composed of simple warp yarns and complex single-slub filling yarns; lightweight damask; and brocade fabrics. All are excellent possibilities.
In either case, stable fabrics work best. Do not use a fabric with an open or loose weave, as it will not offer the stability needed as it hangs. Keep in mind the drapability of each fabric when deciding on which to use. I also would recommend lining the swag or cascade with the same or contrasting fabric. This will depend on the statement you would like your window treatments to make.
Addressing the issue of guidelines for creating and sewing this window treatment, there are books offering sewing tips (many offered by sewing machine companies) as well as companies offering patterns and formulas for creating custom window treatments. I highly recommend, though, seeking the advice of your workroom first for the design and, later, the installation of custom swags and cascades your customers will love for years!
Editor's note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years
experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and currently is an educator
at Moorpark college in southern California.
She is a published author and frequent public speaker.