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Many of you are probably wondering what on earth a lambrequin is? It is a unique style of rigid, fabric covered window dressing that forms a complete frame from for the window and is installed without curtains - read on to find out more!

What is a lambrequin?
A lambrequin is very similar to a modern stiff pelmet made of MDF, but is a lot more rigid. In the case of a lambrequin, the top pelmet board is actually fastened to the front and sides to form a box frame. A stiff pelmet is only attached to the top board (fastened to the wall) at the installation stage.

Still a bit confused? Check out these simple design illustrations >>
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If you are new to upholstery but keen to have a go, then a lambrequin would be a great place to start. It is relatively simple to make and requires no complex skills. Alternatively, if you have tackled some simple modern upholstery before and are keen to apply your skills to window dressings, then this could be just the project for you. Lambrequins are a great stepping stone from which you may then feel you want to move on to headboards or simple upholstered stools.
Lambrequins are very popular at the moment as they suit the minimalist look in interior design. They are particularly useful for dressing small windows and are just perfect for cloakrooms and bathrooms particularly when teamed with roman or roller blinds. This article aims to give you the insight and inspiration you will need to begin designing and making your own Lambrequins and features extracts from our practical guide TEACHYourself LAMBREQUINS.
Where to begin?
Making a lambrequin is somewhat different from making the lighter weight soft furnishings that you might already be familiar with. However, you will be able to produce a really eye-catching article that will be a talking point with your friends without any extra heavy duty tools or special craft skills. This simple upholstery work involves the use of glue and staples, so gear yourself up accordingly. Do the carpentry work and gluing in the garage or workshop and then move into your sewing room to finish off. Your best dining room table is definitely not the place to work!  Spending some time at the design stage is invaluable with lambrequins as with all soft furnishing projects, but take special care with the following:
Choose the right face fabric
Bear in mind that you will be cutting the fabric into a certain shape and tensioning it over a frame, so choose a tightly woven fabric with no stretch and be wary of fabrics that fray easily. A stiff, closely woven cotton is ideal - no velvet, checks or stripes for your first project! It you are using a patterned fabric, then make sure the shape of the lambrequin complements the pattern to best effect.
Window size and location
Lambrequins suit small windows best, so do not plan to make one for a large drawing room window as the scale is destined to be completely wrong! The lambrequin has to be fitted outside the window recess, so steer clear of windows with immediately adjacent walls or the lambrequin is likely to look unbalanced. As with stiff pelmets it is important to get the proportions right. This is not an exact science but ensuring that your final design looks balanced and in proportion to the window and setting will be aided by producing a scale drawing or a template to hold up to the window.
Selecting a trim
Lambrequins look good with a trimming applied to the inside edge as this adds both weight and definition. Here we have used a twisted cord trimming to match the accompanying roman blind. There are a vast array of trimmings available today and some of the colour combinations are stunning. Our second introductory guide TEACHYourself SOFT FURNISHING SEWING TECHNIQUES contains a handy section explaining the many different styles of trimmings you can choose from.
For inspiration its always worth visiting a branch of KA International or the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre for the ultimate in stylish trimmings, but don't forget that a wide variety of good value trimmings are available from high street fabric retailers and department store haberdashery departments. There's bound to be somewhere near you. Check out our Supplier Directory to find your local fabric retailer. 
Next Steps
For this type of sewing project you will need several more unusual materials than when making lighter weight soft furnishings. These include a staple gun and glue, which you may not have to hand. You may also need to make a trip to your local DIY store to purchase the MDF and consider how you will have the board cut to your desired shape. Make sure you take your time over the preparation stage and plan thoroughly to avoid expensive mishaps!
This said, making a lambrequin is not just about cutting and stapling, there are also some important sewing steps involved! If you are completely new to making soft furnishings, then its a good idea to ensure that you understand the basic sewing techniques used - ranging from different types of hand and machine stitching and seams, to the techniques for jointing trimmings. You can use Simply Furnishings'  free guide to Basic Sewing Equipment and Techniques to learn these essential skills. The guide can be downloaded, viewed online and printed or saved to disk in no time at all and it should prove a valuable addition to your workroom!
We have also produced a unique step-by-step guide to help you tackle your first lambrequins project with confidence. TEACHYourself LAMBREQUINS offers all the practical advice you'll need on how to make lambrequins with a truly professional finish, including a full list of materials and tools, design guidance and step by step cutting out, sewing, assembly and installation instructions. We hope these tips will prove useful and that we have helped to inspire you to give this exciting new sewing project a try!

Good luck!
Wendy Molnar

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