While the title, “The Complete Photo Guide to Window Top Treatments,” may be somewhat deceiving, leading one to believe that this book will be filled with photographs of every top treatment you could ever imagine; the book, at least for those interested in creating their own top treatments, is very wonderfully revealing.
No, not every top treatment is featured in this book. However, the most popular are, and construction is very carefully described.
The book begins with a perfunctory introduction: Choosing a Style. Unless you’re a complete window treatment rube, you’ve already heard about or read or experienced this information before: what a swag, valance and cornice are. Obviously, this is a section for the novice do-it-yourself home decorator. It makes an attempt to discuss current trends, but mostly covers each styles’ defining attributes.
After this, the fun begins: instructions for a selection of 20 swags, valances and cornice boxes that appeal to both common window shapes as well as what is termed as “problem” windows such as corners or bays.
Once you have chosen a style, step-by-step instructions explain and demonstrate through well-done photography, how to construct the treatment from start to finish. Another handy aspect is the “What you need to know” sidebar within each set of instructions, which helps with planning, fabric selections, and how and where to mount the treatment on, in or outside the window frame.
TO THE POINT
Chapters cover swags such as freeform, bias, tapered scarf and tailored swags; jabots; flip toppers; triangle valances as well as lined rectangle, stagecoach, butterfly, rod pocket, balloon, cloud and a host of other valances (definitely the lion’s share of the book) and finally cornices: upholstered, mock and soft.
Each chapter shows two to three images of each treatment, then shows how to make one of them. There is a list of materials needed, cutting directions and advice on how to make the pattern. While most of the sewing instructions involve very clear, clean photographs, there are some well-done illustrations as well. Directions for construction are short and to the point. One does not need to wade through a lot of text to understand what is needed to be done.
A section at the back of the book: Top Treatment Basics, probably should have been placed at the front of the book—not that installation is crucial until the end, but the chapter also covers working with designer fabrics, matching patterns and using trimmings. In this book’s defense, however, it does make mention of this section in the introduction as being important to the end result. A Terms to Know glossary at the back is a little sparse—just one page long with 19 terms, but covers the definitions well.
For those who wish to make their own treatments, this is a terrific book to pick up.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN. She is a former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine and is the author Dream Floors, Hundreds of Ideas for Every Type of Floor, and Dream Windows: Historical Perspectives, Classic Designs, Contemporary Creations. Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.