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Ripple Fold Drapes: A Journey

When we renovated our kitchen two summers ago, we decided to add drapes to a feature window that previously had only had horizontal blinds.  Our kitchen design was very modern, so we didn’t want anything too fussy for the drapes.  I had seen the displays for Ripple Fold drapes in our Fabricana Home stores and had always admired their simplicity and functionality.  I installed the track and created the panels and voila!  The calculations had to be precise, but the installation was simple and the results were beautiful!
 
Flash forward to the present!  It’s been almost 9 years since we moved into our very traditional house built in 1909.  At the time we moved in, we wanted a very “luxe” dining room.  We put up damask wallpaper on one feature wall, installed our beloved crystal chandelier, added a deep brown area rug, and I created shimmery, traditional, pleated drapes in a rich deep taupe shade.  9 years later we are ready for a refresh with the hopes of lightening up the space.  We have replaced the deep brown rug with a light seafoam patterned rug.  We are currently looking at grass cloth for the feature wall, and considering various mid-century light fixtures to replace the crystal chandelier.  The drapes are also going.  With the success we had with ripple fold drapes in the kitchen, we are very excited to bring this fresh, streamlined aesthetic to our dining room!  
Follow along with me as I relay the process through photos…
 
Calculations:
It is best to hang your drapery rod before starting.  
Click the link below to access the fabrication chart for Ripplefold drapes.
 
Measure your drapery rod.  My rod is 85” and the drapes are split in the middle, so I have two panels covering 42.5” each.  I also decided that I was creating drapes with 80% fullness.  I scanned the chart under “Panel coverage” at 80% fullness and stopped at 41" – 45”.  The chart indicated that I had to create 2 panels that were 85” wide when hemmed.
Measure from the lower edge of the drapery rod the desired length of your drapes.  For me this length was 92”.
My goal now is to create 2 lined panels that are finished at 85” wide and 92” long.
The first thing I did was cut the panels for the lining.  The finished drapes are 92” long, but I wanted the lining to sit 1” higher than the drapes, so here are my calculations for the length of the lining:  91” plus 8” for the hem (4” doubled) and 1” for the header brought me to 100”.  
The width of the panels is 85” and my lining needs to be the same.  Since there is a seam down the middle of the lining, I had to add ½ seam allowance to each of the pieces that will be used to create the lining panel.  My calculation for the width of each piece is 85” divided by 2 plus ½” for the seam (85” divided 2 = 42.5”.  42.5” + ½” = 43”).  
My calculations revealed that I needed to cut 4 pieces of lining each 43” wide by 100” long.  I cut these panels and stitch two together (twice) along the length with a ½” seam allowance to create the two panels.  I then press the seam open.
              
 
       
I marked the hem 8” from the bottom and pressed this in place wrong sides together.  Then I opened up the 8” hem and tucked the raw edge toward the crease and folded the hem back in place to create a 4” doubled hem.  I pressed and pinned the hem in place and then stitched the hem very close to the fold (i.e. about 4” up from the lower edge).
          
 
            
       
In designing the drapes, we decided on a two-colour scheme.  The top, main portion of the drapes are made with Fabricana Home’s beautiful Tuscany linen in colour Granite.  The lower of the drapes are made in the same fabric in colour Ocean.  The bottom portion is doubled with the crease becoming the hem.  The width of the drape is 85” but there will be seam down the middle of the drape.  Each panel with thus be 42.5” plus 2” for side hems plus ½” for the centre seam (i.e. 42 ½” + 2” + ½” = 45”).  The depth of the lower portion (colour Ocean) is 18” plus ½” seam allowance and it double so total depth is 18.5” x 2 = 37”.  Thus I had to cut a total of 4 pieces which were 45” wide by 37” deep.  I then stitched the panels together in pairs (2 panels for each side of the window) along the 37” length, pressed the seams allowances open, folded the pieces legthwise with wrong sides facing in and pressed the crease (which will become the hem).
                 
 
Next I had to cut the panels in the main Granite colour.  The drapes are 92” long, but the lower 18” are in the Ocean colourway, so my panels are 92” minus 18” plus ½” seam allowance where the drapes join to the contrast colour plus 1” at the top for the header (i.e. 92” – 18” + ½” + 1” = 75.5”).  The calculation for the width of the panels is the same as for the contrast (i.e. 45”).  Thus, I cut 4 panels 75.5” long and 45” wide.
     
 
I then joined two panels with a 1/2” seam allowance and pressed the seam allowances open.  I repeated this process for the other side of the window.
 
I then lined up the contrast panel with the main colour, lining up the centre seams.  Next, I pinned a single layer of the contrast panel to the main panel, right sides together, along the full width of the panel.  I then basted this in place with a 3/8” seam allowance.
               
 
             
       
The next operation is a little tricky to describe.  I wrapped the other long edge of the contrast fabric around the main colour and overlapped it on the basted seam that I had just sewn.  Basically, I was “sandwiching” the main colour between two layers of the contrast colour.  I then pinned the new layer in place along the length of the seam and sewed with a ½” seam allowance.  The drape kind of looked like a lumpy sleeping bag at this point.
                 
 
I then turned the contrast fabric right sides out (releasing the main colour from the lumpy sleeping bag!) and it started looking more like the drape that I had envisioned.  I then pressed the seam allowances toward the contrast, first from the front of the drape, and then from the back.
     
      
With my panel stitched and pressed, I was ready to attach the lining.  Along one long edge, with right sides facing, I pinned the panel to the lining matching the upper edge.  The hem of the lining was intentionally shorter as shown.  I then stitched along this edge with a 1” seam allowance.  I repeated this procedure for the opposite side of the panel.
     
       
Leaving the right sides facing and working with the top of the drape and lining, I lined up the centre seam of the main fabric with the centre seam of the lining and placed a pin to hold them together.  I then pinned the lining to the drape along the top edge starting from the centre and working my way out.  Because the main panel was 4” wider than the lining, there was an extra 2” of main fabric at each end that overlapped the seam allowance.  This overlap became my 1” doubled hem for the side seams.  I took a few photos to help show what was happening here.
          
             
I then stitched across the top of the drape with a 1” seam allowance (this is the width of the header tape).  Next I trimmed off the corners to reduce bulk.
     
       
I then turned the lined drape right side out, rolling out the seam along the top of the drape and pressing it flat.  I also pressed the sides of the drape.  This was a bit tricky.  I needed to expose 1” of the main fabric while also pushing the seam allowances of the lining toward the outside edges of the drape.  Essentially, the main fabric wraps around the edge of the lining.  With that step completed, the panels were ready to become Ripple Fold drapes!
     
       
At one end of the specially designed snap tape, I had to re-space the snaps so that they were spaced at 1” centres.  I did this by creating a crease in the snap tape and pinning it in place.  I then pinned the snap tape to the top edge of the drape, lining up the edge of the tape precisely with the top edge of the drape.  I tucked the raw edges of the snap tape under at each end.
              
 
   
 
Using a zipper foot, and pivoting at the corners, I then stitched the tape in place along both edges of the snap tape.  The bobbin stitches show on the front of the drape, so I made sure that the bobbin thread was a very close match to the colour of the main fabric.
     
       
With the snap tape in place, I needed to apply the snap carriers.  For my 85” panels there were 18 snap carriers required for each, but there were a total of 21 snap across the top of each drape.  The other three snaps are applied directly to the centre carrier called a Butt-Master (I kid you not).
     
       
Now it was time for the fun part – hanging the drapes!  The snap carriers pop in to the glides in the channel rod.  The glides are connected by a cord so they stay evenly spaced when the drapes are closed.  I started from the end of the rod and continued applying the snap carrier to the glides.  When it came to the last three snaps, I applied these directly to the Butt-Master (it still makes me smile).
     
       
Here is the view of the top of the panel with all of the carriers applied.
       
 
Here are shots of "before" and "after".  We are so happy with the results!  Our dining room has received a much needed shot in the arm!
     
 

 

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