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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 36 / Ripplefold Drapery with guest Ann K. Johnson

On episode 36 of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, special guest Ann K. Johnson joins Ceil DiGuglielmo for a conversation about ripplefold drapery. (Air date March 25, 2020)

You can listen to this episode here: Ripplefold Drapery

What is Ripplefold Drapery

Ripplefold drapery has been used in commercial settings for many years. It's a flat drapery with basic fabrication; a snap tape is sewn to the top heading of the drapery and then snapped into special carriers on a traversing track. It's popular now for residential design. New hardware options allow for high end design with ripplefold drapery, and the clean lines are popular for contemporary interiors.


60% = 1.6x fullness

80% = 1.8x fullness

100% = 2x fullness

120% = 2.2x fullness

Workrooms set their own standards on fullness for lined and unlined

ripplefold treatments. Ann's preferred fullness 80% for lined ripplefold drapery, and 120% for sheer ripplefold drapery. Standards are only guidelines and she adapts to the client's preferences.

Snap Tape and Carriers

Snap tape is sewn to the top of a flat, finished drapery panel. All the snaps on all snap tapes are 4.25-inches apart from the center of the snaps.

The fullness is established by the snap carriers on the rod - which are connected by a cord, and not the snap tape which is sewn to the drapery.

  1. The longer the cord between carriers, the less fullness because there are fewer carriers on the finished rod face.

  2. The shorter the cord between carriers, the more fullness overall because there are more carriers on the finished rod face.

The photos below show ripplefold carriers 60%, 80%, 100% and 120% fullness

Workrooms can manipulate the fullness a bit by cutting and splicing the

snap tape to create larger or smaller spacing. Large, commercial workrooms may even create their own snap tape using snap setting tools.

The photos below show ripplefold tape cut to spread the snaps further apart, and folded to bring snaps closer together.

Using Ripplefold Charts

Hardware suppliers provide charts for workrooms, with information for sizing the drapery panel:

1) Flat fabric after hems are sewn / how many widths required for the finished drapery

2) Number of carriers required / for ordering the correct number

3) Size of stackback based on the style of carrier used

Before checking the chart, you must determine:

1) Type of master carrier - butt master or overlap

2) Desired fullness

3) Finished rod face width

When calculating fabric, remember to add both side hem allowances and any

returns over 2”. When calculations have you very close to a half width, add an

additional half width to the calculations to give you wiggle room to work around


Heading Styles

Simplicity and efficiency is the essence of ripplefold. The basic fabrication method is to simply turn the face fabric to the back and stitch the snap tape over the cut edge.

This uses a minimal fabric allowance and has two lines of top-stitching. For commercial workrooms, this is an easy and fast fabrication.

The workroom may also create ripplefold with the same low bulk heading as used for a pleated drapery, and then sew on the snap tape. If this is your usual fabrication method, it might be easier and more efficient to use a known method.

For a cleaner look, there are methods for finishing the top without topstitching the tape.

This is ideal for room divider panels that can be seen from both sides

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