One of my favorite things to design in a home is custom draperies. When I am first starting out with a new client they often want to purchase ready-made, or massed produced draperies, from a big box store like pottery barn, to keep it on the cheap. Massed produced draperies are great for secondary rooms, or projects that just don’t have the room for a large expense. But if your budget allows, nothing, and I mean nothing compares to CUSTOM draperies.

A lot goes into custom draperies. First, you need to develop a budget. And this isn’t a random number that you pull out of your magical rabbit hat and hope on a wing and a prayer that it can be done. For example, if you have a large two story window, you will need twice the fabric, lining, and interlining. SO, you will need twice the budget. Many times when I start on a job with a client they will immediately tell me all the fabulous things they want, and need to do, not realizing that their champagne taste cannot be done for the $1200 they have budgeted. This can lead to disappointment, but if you plan ahead, and have a realistic budget, you can have the champagne, with a glass!

Do your research on local workrooms, or hire a designer to help you develop a budget for the room you have in mind. You can also visit wonderful blogs, like In Stitches, to learn terminology, and read up on books like Design Directory of Window Treatments,  by Jackie Von Tobel, to familiarize yourself with the treatments you love.
After you have developed a budget, a fabric needs to be selected. Fabric plays a major role in the look and feel of the room, but must also be appropriate for draperies. In the custom world you will hear us use the word “hand”. If a fabric has a wonderful hand, that means it will hang well, and drape beautifully. Very, very important! Drapes are like a ball gown for your room! Once the fabric has been selected and ordered a decision can then be made on the type of hardware you want to use.
For this project, I chose a beautiful cotton/linen sheer, with an embroidered knit. We chose this fabric not only for it’s beautiful hand, but the embroidery was key to help in noise absorption for my client’s tall ceilings.
Gates Studios
After a fabric has been chosen, it is ordered, and sent to the workroom to start production. Depending on the area you live in, custom draperies can take 3-8 weeks to make. Here in Nashville the average turn around time is 6-8 weeks, but when I lived in Las Vegas they could be done in two!!
Naked window before
Once the workroom has completed the draperies, a time is scheduled to install them, and this is a very exciting day. Your naked window gets transformed in front of your eyes into that beautiful ball gown.
The hardware goes up, and one by one the custom panels get installed.

Very carefully the team goes through the draperies and dresses them, making sure they are hanging just perfectly, and refining the pleats to fold immaculately.

After each fold is attended to, the draperies are complete, and hanging flawlessly. Bravo team!! My client was over the moon about this installation today, and was very pleased with the decision to purchase custom draperies, over ready-mades, and I could not agree more!