If you are thinking about making a stiff pelmet
for the first time and are wondering where to begin, then take a look at these tips taken
from our practical guide TEACHYourself
are all the rage at the moment with a return to a more minimalist look in interior design.
They are very effective when used in a traditional setting over curtains, but for a more
contemporary feel why not team them with a roman or roller blind. The effects can be
is a stiff pelmet?
|Its so easy to
confuse pelmets with valances, but they are in fact two entirely different types of window
dressing. A valance is much softer in appearance with a gathered or pleated heading. A
pelmet however is flat and usually has a shaped lower edge. The scope for design
variations is endless, so why not try your hand at creating something totally unique!
bare in mind that making a stiff pelmet is somewhat different from creating other lighter
weight soft furnishings such as cushions and curtains, which you might already be familiar
with. The approach to making a stiff pelmet is a small step closer to upholstery, but it
is still easy to achieve a really professional look without any extra heavy duty tools or
special craft skills. We have covered two types of pelmets in our step-by-step guide TEACHYourself STIFF PELMETS.
In part one we deal with traditional pelmets made of buckram.
The second part takes you through the more modern approach, making a rigid pelmet with an
MDF backing for a truly modern feel. The guide will also help you decide which option is
right for you.
your design options
|A few of our top tips for
designing successful stiff pelmets:
- Traditional or modern? Combine your pelmet
with dress curtains for a really tailored look and finish off with a roman blind for added
privacy (as seen above).
- Team your pelmet shape and fabric choice
with a co-ordinating roman blind and finish off with a trimming to match.
- Choose a really eye-catching fabric, design
a simple decorative shape for the bottom edge and apply piping, cord and decorative
|Click here for additional design ideas and sketches.
the right face fabric
|With stiff pelmets it is particularly important to choose the right face fabric.
You are going to need to cut the fabric into various shapes and tension it over a backing
material, so avoid fabrics that fray too easily. Initially it is also a good idea to steer
clear of fabrics with a pile as these are particularly difficult to work with. Start with
a stiff, closely woven cotton and leave the expensive silks and brocades until later!
What about a pattern? Small patterns, particularly stripes and checks are
very effective on a stiff pelmet, but if your choice is a fabric with a large pattern,
make sure you design the shape of the bottom edge to show the fabric to its best effect.
|Pelmets look best with a trimming
applied to the lower edge, as this adds both weight and definition. There are a vast array
of trimmings available today and some of the colour combinations are exquisite.
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.
the proportions right
|Now that you've
considered the shape, fabric and trimming for your stiff pelmet its time to test the size.
Whether or not your stiff pelmet is a success will largely depend on getting the
proportions right. It would be a shame to create a stunning design with fabrics and
trimmings that are really eye catching, but to end up with a pelmet that looks out of
place! If the balance is wrong, the pelmet will either look too heavy or too squat!
About a sixth of the overall curtain length or window size works well. A
good tip is to invest in some graph paper and do a scale drawing. You will then be able to
see straight away if you have got the balance right.
|For this type of sewing
project you will need several more unusual materials than when making lighter weight soft
furnishings. These include heavy duty Velcro, glue, MDF or buckram, which you may not have
to hand. If you are planning to use MDF you will also need to make a trip to your local
DIY store and think about 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
mishaps! If you are completely new to making soft furnishings, then its also a good idea
to ensure that you understand some of the basic sewing techniques before getting started
on more complex projects. These include the different stitches (hand and machine sewing)
and seams that are used when making soft furnishings. We've got this covered in our free guide to Basic Sewing Equipment and Techniques
which you can download, view, save or print off in no time at all.
|The Simply Furnishings team has also
produced a unique step-by-step guide to help you tackle your stiff pelmets project with
confidence. TEACHYourself STIFF PELMETS offers all the
practical advice you'll need on how to make stiff pelmets, including a full list of
materials and tools, design guidance and step by step cutting out, sewing, assembly and
installation instructions. Time to get to work!