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Aug 5, 2014

Curtain Fabric Choice + Rings or (Just) Rods?



Here's my curtain fabric choice.

It's a 100% polyester, semi-shear flax weave.  One of the best things about it is that it's 110" wide -- which means all I needed were six yards (and I only had to cut the fabric once, width-wise).  Having had linen curtain panels for the last few years, the nicest thing about this poly is the drape: heavy and fluid.  The color is "silver," i.e., a pale gray.



It's a bit less sheer than the linen we had, but the weave has more visible texture and a slight sheen.  It has more of a mid-century modern feel.



The cut edges were jagged, so the first thing I had to do was cut even horizontal lines on both ends.



Fortunately, the grain of the fabric is easy to see, so using my triangle, I ruled a straight line and cut along it with my rotary cutter (on the floor: my tried-and-true cutting surface).   Next, I found the exact halfway point, and cut the six yards in two.





Now I had two equal panels ready to be hemmed.



I wanted the top hem to be of a width similar to the previous curtains.  I turned the edge under 1/2" and pressed (the poly responded very well to my steam iron).  Then I folded a 4 1/2" inch hem and pinned it all along the width of the panel. 







Fortunately I already had matching thread.  I zigzagged along the edge (upon it, really).  The stitching is completely invisible.



Next, I attached the ring clips, spacing them evenly.  I'm keeping the selvage along the side edges and simply trimming the visible fringe.







Maybe because this fabric is heavier than the linen, the hem doesn't fall in neat folds (as you can see above).  Then I remembered the reason we'd used the ring clips in the first place: without them, the ready-made West Elm linen panels were too short for the window; the rings dropped them down nearly 5".

These won't be hemmed for a few days yet, so I decided to attach the second panel without the rings, and instead simply run the rod through the hem.  You can see the difference below.



Michael thinks the curtains look better without the rings.  I like the idea of rings but I have to admit that the ring-less side looks neater and the fabric falls more naturally into even pleats.  (It's still easy to open and close and it's not like we're going to be opening and closing them every ten minutes anyway.)





What do you think: go with the ring clips or just the rods alone?  Or is there another (relatively simple) option that would be even better?

Thanks for your help and have a great day, everybody!

54 comments:

  1. They look better without the rings. Love the fabric!

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  2. I love the fabric although I was kinda sorta hoping for more pattern. The rings IMHO are a little sloppy. The over the rod is nicer although you should create a rod pocket with another line of stitching below the rod. I usually put a line just below the top fold of the fabric which gives it a tiny ruffle along the top which you may not like.

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    Replies
    1. Cheryl, I was JUST thinking about that. Since the rod is relatively thin and the hem is 4 1/2", if I halve it there will be 2" above the rod (I'll still have plenty of length below.) Maybe the ruffle would look more finished and less like a dorm room.

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  3. I actually like the more tailored look of the ring-less, ruffle-less pocket, as long as it is easy to slide back and forth.....and the fabric sort of echoes the wonderful painting geometrics, too.

    ceci

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  4. That's the fabric from yesterday's post I was hoping you'd chosen :)

    The rod arrangement is much cleaner and fits nicely with the mid-century feel of the fabric.

    Spud.

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  5. If you want to use the rings, you can sew some canvas tape (or pleating tape) to the back for the rings to clip onto. It will look much neater but you'll still have a little more volume than the rod pocket.

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  6. I prefer ring-less, as the ringed panel looks a bit like a shower curtain and the color of the doubled fabric is so much deeper that the drapes between the clips is as you say, messier. I think a lining panel would deepen both the color and texture as well as give you more control over light levels but that might require a double rod. I believe the overall effect would be even richer.

    You definitely chose the best fabric, imho. Beautiful stuff with just the right amount of texture and in a great neutral color. Let your furniture/pillows/art/Michael/Willie be the 'accents'! :D And seeing that flax weave at the Kenmore with its mid-century table makes me want to hop into the kitchen and whip up a tuna casserole. Awesome choice, Peter!

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    1. You are (and have been for a while) my new favorite commentator on MPB. The crowd sets a high bar (and from time to time, a salaciously low one), and lately you have been nudging the bar higher.

      Mouse, you are the blog equivalent of the charming guest on the talk show circuit of old, who beguiled and delighted just by showing up.

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    2. Oh, wow. Thank you very much for such a generously kind compliment, Testosterone. Everyone else here is much more knowledgeable than I so I'm privileged just to put in my $0.02. And I always look forward to salaciousness so I hope I don't disappoint! :D Thanks again -- very nice of you.

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  7. No rings and no ruffle on top... to me a ruffle looks a little dated and the larger opening will let you open them more easily. I do love the fabric and like that it lets in the light with a little privacy too.

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  8. If the fabric slides easily along the curtain rod, then forget the rings. It looks much neater without.

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  9. Grommets! Tailored and clean folds!

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  10. Definitely without the rings. I love the look of large hems on sheer fabrics. I might have hugged the rod on the top hem a little tighter. (my preference). I would have done another row of stitching along the the top edge. I think they look marvelous and I am going to redo some of my windows now. Oy, thanks

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  11. I say ringless with no ruffles. The rings look like a shower curtain to me. Nice fabric!

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  12. I like them without the rings as well, but keep the deep rod pocket. If you tightened it up, they would be more difficult to open and close. If you don't want to tug at the fabric, you can get those wand thingies you attach at the top to pull the curtain either way. Nice fabric - it looks great and should hold up well.

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    Replies
    1. Yes- "ruffles" or a less deep rod pocket will make them more difficult to open and close. Not only is that a drag (sorry) but puts more stress on your fabric. Be sure you use clean hands when opening window treatments- of course I have a teenage son and a builder husband so perhaps you don't have to worry as much about that :) . I love the drapes, especially without the rings.

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  13. Ringless! But what about using grommets (metal circles) instead?

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  14. Grommets were my thought too. I do prefer the rod to the rings.

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  15. Definitely ditch the rings. When I make curtains, I often stitch a straight line an inch or so down from the top edge straight across each panel. The curtains seem to drape better and seem more full. I've even stitched a line across the top of sheets I've bought at Target and it seems to make them hang neater. I've found tab top curtains at thrift stores then removed the tabs and made rod pockets. Both rings and tabs look like shower curtains.

    Nice choice of fabric. Understated and classic.

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  16. Definitely without the rings, and I absolutely love the fabric. It is airy, simple and classic. Great job.

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  17. Grommets for sure. Love the fabric!

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  18. I have to say that I am infatuated with the idea of the rings, but agree with the reality of the no-rings. Similarly with the grommet idea. I love the idea, but I think it has been around a while and might be dated. I like the rod pocket look. For some color on my windows, I put a second narrow panel of drapery fabric at the sides. So mine goes drapery - sheer- sheer- drapery all on one rod. It put a pop of color in, doesn't block any light to speak of, the sheers move back and forth just fine, but I only needed one length of fabric per window. And no hardware to buy. Enjoy your new 'day-core'!! :)

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    1. I'm anti grommet too-if they aren't dated now they will be soon!

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  19. If you don't open the drapes very often, then just the rods. If you open and close your drapes daily, then the rings. You need more rings per panel to neaten up this look. Also check the total width of your panels versus the width of your windows. Traditionally, for sheers, you measure your window width and multiply it by 3, that will be the total width of all your finished curtain panels. For fabric with a bit more body than traditional sheers you can use a 2 to 2.5 multiplier, but certainly not less than 2. Having enough curtain width helps the look appear rich and full. Nothing says dorm room and first apartment more than skimpy curtains.
    I think the fabric choice is brilliant and just right for the job. The slubs in the fabric mimic the movement in your new painting!

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  20. I have those ring clips, and they never hang well and the curtains pull off - BUT -
    If you have any twill tape, I'd sew it on the back the ring/clip distance from the top edge, clip the ring clips to that tape and hang em that way. Or sew plastic rings on tape: so the curtain slides on the rings but they don't show.

    Have I done this with my own curtains? The ones right there I can see from this keyboard? NO. But I'm going to. Real soon.

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  21. I never have a problem with rings but I have more (less space between them) and either much lighter fabric sheers or in the opaques a 4" strip of stiffener in the top to stop it sagging.

    With your fabric I like the rod & no rings

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  22. Another option would be to add curtain grommets to the header. They kind of mix both the rod and rings. Would open and close easily. Look good with sheers and are very on trend at the moment. I picked this link at random off the net to show you what I'm talking about. We get a lot of curtains with them here in Europe but not sure if they are stateside yet.
    http://curtains.homedecorpics.org/2013/12/curtain-grommets/

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  23. curtain tape with smaller rings hidden away

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    1. Does the tape come with the rings attached or do you have to stitch them on yourself?

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    2. Tape has got little pockets in 2 or 3 levels (depending on the width of the tape)that you can attach hooks to..The hooks then go onto the rings. By selecting different levels, you can get the rings, which help to slide the curtain on the pole more easily, but have them hidden away. And by using the tape, you can even choose to make pinch pleats or pencil pleats.

      I'm not sure I'm actually explaining very well- but here are the 3 items you'll need:
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/3-Pencil-Pleat-Curtain-Tape/dp/B003MXKYYE/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1407350470&sr=1-3&keywords=curtain+tape

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plastic-Curtain-Rail-Track-White/dp/B003MNM06O/ref=sr_1_14?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1407350517&sr=1-14&keywords=curtain+hooks

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Large-Wooden-Curtain-Rings-Poles/dp/B00IHP9LAA/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1407350547&sr=1-1&keywords=curtain+rings+for+poles

      The hooks are the connectors between 1 and 3. You stitch the tape on to the curtain. Everything else is detachable, so you can wash your curtains

      This was probably my favorite set of videos when I made pencil pleat curtains recently- this is the whole shebang, but you can skip the lining and interlining if you want the lightweight option- I made mine for thermal insulation for French doors
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2uFeO5u_44

      Good luck!

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  24. I was going to suggest grommets too, if you don't mind the hassle of making them (you have to cut holes in your fabric and it sometimes feels like it takes forever, also if the fabric unravels easily you may need to overcast the edges by hand).

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  25. No rings - they make the drapes hang sort of haphazardly.

    I hate sewing home dec. I've been neediing to sew a new cushion for the bench on our porch (sun and cat shredded) but can't work up the enthusiam. Ugh.

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  26. Without the rings and just as they are without adding a ruffle. Love the fabric and colour (grey is all the rage for interior design here at the moment following a TV interior design programme that used it a lot). Gemma (England)

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  27. To get your curtains to hang nicely fold them into the required folds and tie loosely with string. Hang them up and give them a good steam with your steamer. Leave them to dry hanging up. This will take out any wrinkles too. If it was me I might lose the rings. Love you fabric choice.

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  28. Lovely fabric! I vote no rings no ruffle.

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  29. Definitely no rings. No ruffle. I would wIT couple of weeks to do the bottom hem. I think they look really good!

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    1. Considering the bottom hem and length is a good subject for drapery discussions. Assuming the drapery has an ideal length, if you have the luxury of waiting for the right moment, hold off until they hang a few days during a period of relatively high humidity and then mark the longest acceptable length. Since these panels are polyester they will probably be relatively stable, although even polyester drapery fabrics can stretch and shrink with changes in humidity.

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  30. Lovely fabric. No rings, no ruffle for me.

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  31. Definitely rods. I do like the idea of adding a pull rod for ease of opening and closing.

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  32. If you use the clips, that upper hem needs some serious interfaceing. It's the one place that cheap, cardboard-esque fuzable interfacing is just right.

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  33. Ruffles? Did someone say, "Ruffles"?

    Queen of ruffles here: http://www.dorothysoriginals.com/pages/catalogs/ruffled-products-catalog.html

    My eyes! My eyes!

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  34. I'm with Michael. No rings. Your sewing of long straight seams is inspiring me to do all the home sewing I've been putting off... maybe.

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  35. No rings - it just looks better. Trust me (and Michael) on this one.

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  36. I vote no rings, no grommets, especially since the fabric slides on the rods easily. The fabric seems a bit fluid for the rings, also IMHO the rod should be raised so the top window trim is hidden if you were to use the rings. And unless you add interfacing all along the top, I think grommets might have the same floppy appearance?

    I've seen curtains with a clear plastic wand attached to the inner-most curtain ring or hook to use to open & close in order to save cleaning the drapes and wear on the header from pulling on them, this might be an option? But then, you don't have grubby-handed teenage boys around either.

    JustGail

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  37. Alexander (the Great)August 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Just the curtains on the rod! I love how the weave of the fabric echoes the lines in the excellent found painting.

    I am usually restrained in opinion, but would like to add that I think grommets are rarely attractive and in this case would be a home dec fashion faux pas of a grand order.

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  38. The curtains just need a row of top stitching to encase the rod pocket.

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  39. DEFINITELY grommets. much neater .

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  40. No rings, the curtains look better with the rod, neater also the poly fabric will be easy to take care of and it combines curtains and sheers in one.

    How did you like your home dec project? Having done alot of home dec myself, just curious how you like it compared with making garments. If you ever get into heavier fabrics you will need to get a "stronger" sewing machine.

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  41. No rings, no grommets, no ruffles - they look fine on the rod as is. Great fabric choice.

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  42. Like the rod pocket ... maybe a top seam 1/4 or 1/2" below the fold. I suggest you take a look at the outside view when it's dark out and the lights are on inside. You might be aghast at how little privacy you actually have.
    Beth S

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  43. No rings...like the person above...think about the privacy issue when the sun goes down. It's nice to have some density between you and the public eyes.

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  44. You have seven million suggestions but here is my 2 cents...back tabs. At least that is what I've been calling them. In your case, take grosgrain strips and sew them at 5 (or so) inch intervals along the top hem. If you search back tab curtain tutorial some good links pop up.

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