Silk draperies. Is there anything more gorgeous than yards and yards of shimmering silk? I’ve had the pleasure of working on some silk panels for a client’s dining room this week. I thought I’d take some time to show you how they all come together.
After cutting the silk, lining, and interlining to length, I smooth the layers out on my worktable starting with the silk face down, then the interlining, and last, the lining face up. I’ve already folded in and finger-pressed the hem on the silk to the finished length, and sewn in the hem on the lining. When working with silk I always interline the panels. Interlining is a soft, flannel-like material that acts to give body to the drape, as well as provide a layer of insulation, help prevent light bleed-through, and protect from sun rot. You can skip this step to save money, but the final product is not nearly as stunning, and its life-span is likely shorter.
You can see in the picture below I have tucked the interlining into the bottom hem (the hemmed lining is folded back out of the way). While sometimes panels can be made without tucking the interlining into the hem, I like the way it adds extra body to the hemline to prevent it from appearing too thin and flat. This is similar to the English method of panel making. I also always hand-sew my silk panels. It is a couture method of finishing the treatments, and looks so much better than machine stitching. You can barely make out the stitching in the hem below:
Next I fold in my side hems and pin. I roll all the layers of lining and interlining into the side hems for a nice full, rolled edge look. I don’t iron them because I do not like the look of a hard edge:
I have a wonderful padded and gridded table. I am able to iron directly on it, pin through it, and get perfect measurements every time. These panels will be 98” long when finished:
Then the hand-sewing begins:
The ultimate couture finish – from the front you can’t even see the stitching:
I insert drapery weights into the bottom corners, and then all side and bottom hems are completed. Then I mark the top for the pleats. I use a mathematical formula to determine the distances so the spaces are exactly equal between the pleats. These will be goblet pleat panels.
Have you noticed that so far, I have never once moved the panel off of the table? This ensures the panel will stay square so it hangs square to the window, and helps to keep the silk from wrinkling excessively. Only now that the pleats are marked will I take it off the table to sew them in on the machine.
Once the pleats are in, this panel also gets trim on its leading edge:
Finally, I hang the finished panel in my workroom to verify it is behaving as it should, and to assist in folding it for transportation and installation:
My client has 2 windows in her dining room, so I have to make 3 more panels. These will be hung on 2” diameter wooden poles with decorative rings and beautiful finials. You’ll have to wait until the installation for a final shot of the room. I can’t wait to see how these finish off her space!