Over the past two issues, I have shared with you my concept of how all window treatments start from just five basic pattern styles. When you mix and match these styles the basic pattern or patterns for any window treatment can be created. What makes many styles so unique and beautiful is the addition of what I call components and embellishments.
Components come in just three basic styles but have an endless array of unique looks. The three styles are known as cascades, jabots and horns.
A cascade is a term used to describe a pattern piece that usually hangs on the outside edge of a treatment and cascades down into a point. Cascades also are known as tails. They can be gathered or pleated depending on the style of the treatment. Pleated cascades are normally used in a more formal design while the gathered ones tend to be more casual.
Cascades are usually made as a separate piece and then layered on top of or under the basic pattern. The length of a finished cascade will vary depending on the look of the treatment, but most often the rule of thirds is used in determining the length. That means in a measurement from the point of mounting the window treatment to the floor, a designer or workroom will determine the finished length to be one-third, two-thirds or all the way to the floor. This isnít a required way to determine the length, but it is a good general rule when working with proportion. A good rule for the short point of a cascade is to make it at least as long as the length of the basic pattern style being used.
Jabots are very similar to cascades except the center of this piece is the long point and the outside edges are shorter. Jabots can be used on the outside edges of a window treatment or used as fillers spaced across the entire width.
Jabots are generally shorter than cascades, but can be made to any length or width depending on the look of the treatment. They can be gathered or pleated and are usually made as separate pieces.
Horns are the third component style. They can be sewn into the basic pattern piece and then folded to create the look or sewn as a separate piece in a cone shape and layered on top of the treatment. Keep in mind that all three components will usually have the backside of the fabric showing on both the front of the treatment as well as the back. A self lining or contract lining fabric needs to be considered when using these types of pattern pieces.
A good example of a treatment that incorporates both a basic style and components would be a Kingston or Empire pattern. Creating that treatment would involve using a swag, cascade and horn.
Embellishments are anything and everything you can think of to add to the basic shapes or components. Fringe, tassels, beads, bows, tabs or anything else that can be tied, tacked, stitched or glued to a treatment falls into this category. Some of the most popular embellishments today are micro cording and pleated ruffles. Some styles can take on a completely different look just by adding embellishments.
When you are looking at a window treatment be sure to note how the treatment is mounted. Is it on a board, rod or decorative hardware? Is it mounted in such a way that you really canít tell how itís hanging up there? When you see photos like that, discuss different options with your customer. Sometimes a simple screw in the wall is all it takes to hang a treatment.
Be sure to note if there are any special shapes at the top or bottom of the treatment such as an arched board or even one that bows into the room. A good method to create an unusual shape on the bottom of a valance is to create the pattern piece out of lining and to leave it extra long. Dress the pattern and hang it on a wall or off the edge of the worktable. Draw the bottom shape with a sharpie marker and once you are happy with the style, cut it out. Open the pattern piece back up and clean up your shape by folding the pattern in half to even up the shape on both sides of the center. Using a French curve or vary form curve can be very helpful when trying to get that perfect shape to your pattern.
Now that you have a new perspective on what really makes up a window treatment pattern I hope that you now will look through books and magazines with new eyes. Begin to pick apart what you are asked to make and sort the pieces in these style categories discussed over the past few issues. Really study the photo or sketch and search out all the parts and pieces required to create that exact look.
Now that the fear of not knowing what basic pieces you need to create that pattern is gone, grab your scissors and start creating that next great window treatment.
Margie Nance owned and operated a wholesale drapery workroom for 10 years prior to purchasing The Custom Home Furnishings Academy from industry expert, Cheryl Strickland, in 2005. Now located in Charlotte, NC, CHF Academy pressents professional hands-on training, online training and has the largest resource for educational books and videos for the window covernings industry. Visit on the Web and join online forums at www.CHFschool.com; (800) 222-1415, (704) 333-4636.