Learn about Life in the 1920s

Drapery Questions and Answers

1. What is the correct length for glass curtains?

Glass or inner curtains, hung inside the window casing should hang to the sill. Curtains hung on the outside casing, whether used in conjunction with overdraperies or not, should hang to the lower edge of the apron, or to a point 3 to 4 inches below the edge of the sill.

2. What is the correct length for draperies?

There are three definite lengths, according to location, style of room and class of window.

Sunrooms, breakfast rooms, small bedrooms and in such schemes as will call for simple effects in cretonne or similar material, draperies hung to the lower edge of the apron will be correct. In larger rooms having schemes of a general nature, side draperies of all materials should hang to the floor. Where windows are placed at an unusual height from the floor, such as piano windows, the draperies should hang to the lower edge of the apron only. In some of the more ornate decorative schemes, and particularly in rooms of Spanish design, the side draperies may be sufficiently long so that the bottom ends will spread out on the floor.

3. When should material be split in the making of overdraperies?

The splitting of material, or the practice of using halt widths for side draperies, is usually prompted by a desire for economy, rather than by the demands of decorative correctness.

The correct width for side draperies is determined by the space they are to occupy. Their beauty is in their fullness and from 50% to 100% of extra width should always be allowed for pleating or shirring.

4. Should curtains or draperies be hemmed on the machine or by hand?

Materials of average weight can be hemmed on a machine. However, if material is light — such as rayons, voiles, etc., they should be hemmed by hand. They should also be hand- hemmed if velour or any deep-piled fabric is used.

5. Should window shades be hung on the inside or outside of the window casing?

Where window shades are to be used they should be hung as close to the glass as possible. With the use of draw curtains, shades are not a necessity. With two-tier draw curtains on double hung windows, as will be seen in the many illustrations in this book, the light and air can be controlled to better satisfaction and with truly decorative effect.

6. Are valances used as much as formerly?

Valances are decorative in effect and are used according to the demands of the particular drapery scheme chosen.

Wood poles have, because of their decorative value and greater utility in the control of light and ventilation, replaced the valance in general popularity.

7. If valances are used, what types are best?

Shirred or ruffled valances are very suitable in bedrooms, or in schemes using very light weight materials. The ruffled valance is correct in rooms of the cottage type and by using draw valances, a valance may be used with correct effect on an in-swinging casement window.

In depth, a valance should never exceed one-sixth of the window length. They may be less and shirred or ruffled valances of four to six inches on ordinary size windows are very effective.

8. How full should ruffles be cut for ruffled curtains and how wide?

Cut ruffled material one and one-half times as long as the combined width and length of the curtain. The ruffles should be 3 to 4 inches wide when finished. Allow one-half inch for seam and hem or picot edge.

9. When should draperies be lined?

As a general rule all draperies should be lined, and when such silks as taffeta are being used they should be interlined as well. The work of lining and interlining should be expertly done. Like clothing, draperies depend upon good tailoring for their excellence of appearance. While there is an advantage in having this work done in a drapery workroom, nevertheless—good draperies can be and are made in the home, and with good sewing, careful fitting and close attention to every detail in making, this can be done.

10. How deep should headings be on curtains or draperies?

A. Curtains or draperies when hung with heading hooks should always have enough heading to cover the rod.

B. When curtains or draperies are shirred on the rod, the heading should extend from 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the rod.

11. Is it permissible to hang draperies or curtains inside the window casing?

ANS. Glass curtains are hung inside the casing where the windows are recessed and where shades are hung either inside the casing or they are not used at all. Overdraperies are usually hung outside the casing except where it is desired to leave beautiful woodwork exposed.

12. May draperies and glass curtains be hung on a single rod?

This is not recommended. By so doing you not only miss the desired effect, but the arrangement and handling are awkward. You need at least one inch space between the glass curtains and overdraperies to have them hang properly.

13. Is it possible to attach brackets to steel casement windows?

There are Brackets for steel casements and recessed windows which are especially adapted for this very use.

14. Is it possible to attach brackets to plaster walls?


15. If side draperies are hung over the out- side casings on double or triple windows or split widths on small windows, is there any way to eliminate the expanse of rod across the center?

If you use No-Valance Side Drape Extension Rods, swinging rods, swinging cranes or stationary side drape rods, you can secure the desired effect.

16. Can hold-backs and tie-backs be used with draw curtains?

Yes, when curtains are to be drawn, simply detach them from the hold-backs or tie-backs. Certain materials, particularly the cheaper kinds, have a tendency to become mussed and creased when held in the hold-back. This gives an unsightly effect when the curtains are drawn and for this reason we do not advise the practice in a general way.

17. What are the most popular materials for glass curtains?

Silk gauze, rayon gauze, marquisette, voile, dotted grenadine, nets, casement cloth and pongee.

18. Should glass curtains and draperies be weighted?

Curtains and draperies hang in more graceful folds when weighted tape is used in the bottom hems.

19. How should hooks be spaced on curtains and draperies?

Usually three inches apart on light fabrics and four Inches on heavy materials.

20. How should bay windows be draped?

Bay windows may consist of two or more windows at an angle to each other but where the space between them is not more than six to eight inches they should be draped as a unit. If valances are used, they should be continu- ous, thus tying the window together in an attractive, continuous effect.

21. Are overdraperies necessary in bathrooms?

Overdraperies are not ordinarily recom- mended for use in bathrooms. They keep out the air and suggest lack of restraint in decoration.

22. Should glass curtains present a uniform appearance on each floor on the outside of the house?

By all means.

23. Where should brackets for overdraperies and curtains be mounted?

Brackets should be mounted so that when the draperies are hung they will cover the entire window casing or trim both at the sides and the top. This lets in more light. The only exception is where fine carved casings are used which should be left uncovered.

24. How should overdraperies be hung to decorate French doors?

The drapery hardware should be mounted on the wood casing above the doors and as near the outer edge as possible. Then by hanging the overdraperies so that they may be drawn, the French doors will be free to swing and will permit the maximum light and view.

25. Is it necessary to drape French doors between rooms?

Shirred curtains are generally used on French doors and are hung from the top rail as shown in Figure 21, page 17, except in cases where privacy is demanded, when all the glass panels should be covered.

26. Is drapery hardware for draw curtains expensive?

While cut-to-measure traverse equipment costs more than plain rods, draw curtains are growing rapidly in popularity because of their wonderful convenience in controlling light, ventilation, privacy and view. This type of drapery hardware lasts a lifetime and will outwear a great many different sets of draperies. Traverse equipment never goes out of style.

27. How wide should curtain material be for fullness when used on a door?

Drapery material should be approximately double the width of the door or even more to give the desired effect.

28. Where doors and windows in the same room are both draped should the material be the same?

Yes, for the shirred curtains. Overdraperies are not necessary on doors.

29. Is it necessary to use an overdrapery over each mullion?

No, ordinarily the effect is better on a series of windows when you divide them into fewer groups by means of the overdraperies. The continuous line adds length and grace to the general effect.

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