• Susan - Workroom Tech

30 Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 53 / Around the Corner - Drapery Edition

On this episode of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30 Minutes with Workroom Tech, host Ceil DiGuglielmo and workroom expert Susan Woodcock talk about "drapery corners".


You can listen to the podcast here: Episode 53: Around the Corner - Drapery Edition

and this episode has video! Click below to play the YouTube so you can see the drapery samples Susan shares and read below for how-to instructions.


This is the second in a series of "corner" topics. The first was Episode 45, Around the Corner - Pillow Edition and that was such a popular topic that Ceil and Susan thought that drapery corners would make a great podcast, too. The basic and most obvious corners on draperies are the outer edges. This is where the side hems, bottom hem and top heading (hem) meet. Susan shared that most draperies are made with the bottom hems finished first, and then the side hems are folded over on top. At the top heading you will find different methods used at the corners. With low-bulk drapery headings, the top is folded over first and then the side hems on top. With a double-fold drapery heading, you can choose to have the side hem on top of the heading or under the double fold heading. In the photo below, the side hem is folded on top of the double-fold buckram heading.


For a clean finish, a ladder stitch is used to hand sew the the end on the corners.


When you pull the thread, the ladder stitch closes the edges together.

Hand sewing side hems helps to prevent take up. See Episode 6 of 30 Minutes with Workroom Tech to learn more about how to prevent smiling draperies. Here is a link: Episode 6


For English method drapery, the bottom corners are mitered and hand sewn. The linings do not tuck under the folded hems but are hand stitched on top. This is a beautiful finish which takes extra time and careful attention. It's a luxury drapery method! You can learn more by reading Susan's article in Drapery & Design Professional Magazine, Volume 2021, Issue 1. You can find back issues of the magazine online in the industry archives at The Curtains and Soft Furnishings Resource Library.



Draperies with Narrow Width Banding on Side and Bottom Edges


When sewing banding around the side and bottom edges of draperies you have two options. A straight join or a mitered join at the corner. The choice depends on the fabric and whether the weave or design will look best with a diagonal or straight seam.


With narrow width banding (under 1-inch wide), layer the lining and face fabric with right sides out. The banding is sewn to the edges and wrapped to the back. This is a binding method like you would use for quilts, coverlets or placemats.


For drapery you may not want to have the face fabric and linings encased. There are benefits for having the layers free hanging - that's what Susan prefers to do if possible. With this method you can finish the bottom hems first and then sew the banding down the leading edge and across the bottom.


The banding can be cut on the bias or straight-of-grain.


The drapery is layered with hemmed face fabric, face down (the bottom hem can be a separate strip cut 8 inches and folded in half); hemmed lining fabric face up on top and inset from the bottom edge; and a folded strip of face fabric is used for the side hem and placed on top of the lining. The side hem can be finished using your preferred method.

Banding strips for the 1/2-inch finished banding shown are cut 2 1/4 inches wide (banding finished width x 4 + 1/4 inch). Sew the banding on the front along the edges using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. To create a mitered corner, stop sewing 1/2-inch from the edge, fold over the banding as shown in the photo below and resume sewing 1/2-inch from the edge.

Turn banding right sides out and press from the front.

Double fold the banding to the back, creating mitered corners. Finish the banding on the back by hand sewing or with an iron-on tape.

You can learn more about sewing banding on Episode 16 of the blog/podcast.


A wider width banding is a popular style and makes a statement! Susan recommends cutting the banding wide enough to include fabric to fold to the back for the side and bottom hems. The banding can join with a straight seam or a mitered corner.


Banded Corner with Straight Seam


In the sample shown in the video and below, the banding is finished 2 1/2 inches. Adjust for your banding size. Cut the banding straight-of-grain.

2 1/2 inches x 2 = 5 inches + side hem allowance 3 inches = 8 inch wide cuts for the side

2 1/2 inches x 2 = 5 + 8 inch bottom hem allowance = 13 inch wide cuts for the bottom


Sew the 13 inch banding piece to the bottom of the face fabric using a 2 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fold over and press from the front.

Sew the 8 inch side hem banding piece using a 2 1/2 inch seam allowance, sewing all the way to the bottom on top of the hem banding.

Press the banding from the front.

Flip over the panel face down. Fold and press the bottom hem to make a 4-inch doubled hem. Finish the hem by sewing or using a fusible hem tape.

Fold the side banding from the front to the back to create a 1 1/2 inch doubled side hem.

Cut away excess fabric and add a drapery weight.

Continue by adding lining and finishing the top heading and side hems. The side hem on the leading edge should be hand sewn or finished with a fusible hem tape and not machine sewn.


Banding with Mitered Corner


The method for sewing a wide banding with a mitered corner is similar to what was shown above, but the sewing steps are different at the corner.


In the sample shown in the video and below, the banding is finished 2 1/2 inches. Adjust for your banding size. You will need the bottom hem banding long enough to extend at least 3 inches past the front edge of the fabric and the side hem banding 4 inches longer than the face fabric. Cut the fabric straight-of-grain.


2 1/2 inches x 2 = 5 inches + side hem allowance 3 inches = 8 inch wide cuts for the side

2 1/2 inches x 2 = 5 + 8 inch bottom hem allowance = 13 inch wide cuts for the bottom


Sew the bottom banding on first with the right sides together using a 2 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press from the front so that it is flat and neat. Sew the side banding using a 2 1/2 inch seam allowance. Stop sewing where it meets the bottom banding.

Press the side banding so it is flat and neat from the front. Turn under the bottom edge where the banding pieces meet, creating a 45 degree angle and press.

Glue baste under the edge - or use pins to hold the mitered fold in place.

Fold the banding pieces face-to-face and sew on the crease line.

Trim off excess fabric for a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Press the banding from the front. Turn over so the fabric is face down and continue to finish the drapery by folding the bottom hem, side hems and adding lining.

The finished banding with a mitered corner.


Drapery Panel with Ruffles on Side and Bottom Edges


Like with banding on draperies, having the lining free hanging is a good idea for ruffled edges, too. To add ruffles, layer face fabric face up, ruffle, folded side hem face down and then the bottom hem face down. Sew around the edges and turn right sides out and the hems will be in place. The photo below is a small sample showing how this looks.


You can learn how to make a ruffled panel in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Custom Home Furnishings Magazine, pages 41-43. You can find back issues of the magazine on the Curtains and Soft Furnishings Resource Library.


Would you like to learn how to sew banding on draperies? Join Susan for her online class, Applying Fabric Banding on Draperies. Two online class sessions will take place September 10 and 17, 2021 at 12:00 p m ET. You can learn more and register for the class here: WT Online: Applying Fabric Banding on Draperies



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