arlene interiorsPhoto Credit: Arlene’s Interiors

Swags are elegant treatments for tall, narrow windows yet easy-to-make. This window covering is pleated at the sides to create rounded folds and is used most often in formal home décor. Use them in tandem with cascades or jabots.

You will need:

  • Drapery fabric, 54” [137 cm] wide. *
  • Drapery lining, 54” [137 cm] wide. *
  • Twill tape, 1” [25 mm] wide.
  • Decorative trim (optional).
  • Pelmet mounting board**
  • Coordinating thread.
  • Staple gun.
  • Kraft paper.

* for yardage required, see Cutting Instructions below times the number of windows.

** Pelmet should be slightly wider than window frame.


Swag Width = the horizontal dimension of the mounting board or pole hardware. (A)

Swag Depth = the vertical drop of the swag, measured from the center of the board or pole line to the bottom of the swag. (B)

Swag Sweep = the bottom curve length of the swag from the board line, down to the longest point and up to the board line. (C)

Cascade Length = the vertical drop of the cascade from the board line down to the desired finished length. (D) Traditional proportions are equal to 3X the swag depth.

Cascade Width = 1/3 of swag width + mounting board width. (E)

Design Tip: To obtain the sweep measure, mount the pelmet board or pole hardware over the window. Drape a length of weighted cord from one end of the finished treatment to the other. Hold the cord on top of the hardware at each end at the point where the fabric will end. This will give you a finished curve length which includes the pelmet board allowance. Measure the length of the cord and that will be your sweep length.


swag draft

Swag Section

Draw a straight line on center of paper. Plot point A on line.

A-B = 2 X swag depth + 5″ [12.7 cm] (the featured sample swag depth is 18″ [45.7 cm] long.)

Square across from A and B.

A-C = ¼ of the finished swag width.

A-D = A-C.

B-E = ½ of the swag sweep

B-F = B-E.

Square up from E and F.

E-G = ½ of swag depth.  (Note: the angle of C-G will be greater than illustrated)

F-H = E-G.

I is located midway A and B.

Draw a square box with one of its sides touching on the centerline (A-B). Draw a diagonal line through the opposite corners of the box. This is the grainline.

Cascade Section

J-K = finished cascade length + 1” [25mm].

J-L = C-D.

Square down from L

L-M = A-I.

Join M to K.

Square across from K.

J-N = width of mounting board

Square down from N.

O is located at intersection of K and N.

The grainline is parallel to J-K.

Add seam allowances to pattern pieces.

Marking the Pleats:

The length of the pattern and the pleated sides combine to give the swag its character. The length of the pattern determines the fullness of the swag. The sides are pleated into folds which distribute the fullness and give the swag visual interest.

swag1_illus5Mark the center of the top and bottom edges of the swag pattern (A-B).


Fold the pattern along the center and mark the pleats as follows:

5″ from the top for first pleat. This will determine your “picture” size. (see design tip below)

4″ up from the bottom.

Divide the space between the first and last pleat into equal pleats of 4-6″.


All of the pleats between the first and last must be equal in size. Mirror  pleatsmarkings on opposite side and open pattern flat.


On the top edge of the cascade pattern, mark the first pleat as follows:

5” from inner edge of cascade tail (L).

Divide the space between the first pleat and the corner (J) into equal pleats of 4-6″.


CUTTING (per window)

Swag – cut 1X self

Swag lining – cut 1X lining

Cascade – cut 4X self

Cover pelmet board* with self fabric.

Design Tip: The center of a finished swag is the “picture”. It showcases the motif of the fabric. The first fold on the swag acts as the picture frame. The top of the swag pattern should be aligned on the fabric surface to maximize the motif size in the swag.

For the cascades, you may wish to create a contrast edge by using a solid coloured lining, as the back side of the cascade will be visible.



1. Turn under seam allowance on top edge of swag and press flat. Repeat step on swag lining.


2. With right sides facing together, align and match outer edges of swag and lining.

Baste decorative trim between self fabric and lining along bottom edge, if using.

Pin/baste and sew, leaving top edge open. Turn RIGHT SIDE OUT and press flat.

Edge-stitch the opening closed.


3. Turn under seam allowance on top edge of cascade pieces and press flat.


4. With right sides facing together, align and match 2 pairs of cascade tails. Pin/baste and sew, leaving top edge open. Turn RIGHT SIDE OUT and press flat. Edge-stitch the opening closed.


5. Transfer pleating markings to cloth of swag and pair of cascade tails.




6. Use a pelmet board, preferably one that is covered in self fabric.  Mark the center of the board. Mark the center of the top edge of the swag. Set aside.


7. Staple the top edge of the cascade 1″ [25 mm] up on the top of the board, draping the long side of the cascade across the end of the pelmet board. Fold around the corner of the mounting board and pleat at the first fold. Staple point of the pleat along the edge on topside of the pelmet.


8. Continue pleating all of cascade tail to the end. Mirror the pleats on the left side exactly the same as the right, with the other cascade.


9. Staple the top edge of the swag 2″ [50 mm] up on the top of the board, aligning the center marks.


10. Pleat the first fold, right side and left side. Align point of the pleat along the edge of the top of the pattern. (This first fold sets the ‘picture’ on your swag). Staple top edge in place.


11. Continue pleating all but the last fold.


The distances between the pleats and the angle at which they fall off the board should be equal for all pleats. Pleat the left side exactly the same as the right. The ends of the swag will overlap the cascades.


12. Pleat the last fold. You will also have to take the end of it and pull it up onto the board to secure. This will cause the bottom edge of the swag to tuck neatly up.


13. Neaten the top edge of the treatment by covering the staples with twill tape.



Design Tip: Embellish the swag with decorative fringe, trims, banding, or tassels.


008_01 foley & cox homeFeatured: Mitered Pillows by Foley & Cox HOME

Clever use of the stripe from Foley & Cox HOME creates the illusion of mitered corners. With careful cutting and matching, a smart striped home décor fabric takes on a novel contemporary style when stitched into a mitered designer pillow. Select a favourite striped fabric and coordinate the colours with your home décor for this easy DIY project.

You will need: (for each pillow)

  • 54″ [137 cm]wide balanced stripe home decor fabric*
  • 1 loose fiber-filled knife-edge pillow form
  • matching all-purpose thread
  • kraft paper

* calculate required yardage by reviewing Cutting Instructions times the number of pillows desired.



Measure the pillow form from seam to seam (length & width). Using a ruler and right-angled square, draw a SQUARE template following these dimensions. Divide the paper pattern into 4 equal sized triangles by drawing two straight lines from opposite corners, intersecting in the center.  Cut paper into 4 pieces along lines.  TRACE off onto additional paper, add a 1/2″ [12mm] seam allowance to all edges of each of the four triangles.


layThe paper triangle patterns have two sides of equal length.  Label the pattern with the letter X, at the center point, between these two equal sides. Label the corners on the unequal side with the letter O. With the points and corners of each triangle facing in the same direction, position the triangles on the striped fabric so each O-O line is parallel to and measures the same distance from a stripe. Mark and cut 8 identical triangles from fabric; four for pillow front and four for pillow back.008_03 foley&cox home

Design Note: To create the “cross” motif, align X facing in the same direction and position the triangles on the striped fabric so each O-O line is perpendicular to and centered on a stripe.


1. With right sides of fabric facing, and raw edges even, pin and stitch together one short edge of two triangles, matching stripes.  Press seam open. Repeat for remaining 3 pair of triangles.


2. With right sides facing, and raw edges even, pin and stitch together two triangle assemblies matching stripes and center seams. The Xs of the individual triangles will now be in the center and the Os will make up the corners of the pillow.  Press seam open. Repeat for remaining pair creating a mitered pillow FRONT and mitered pillow BACK.


mitered3. With right sides of fabric facing, pin pillow front to pillow back along all edges.  Sew front to back using ½” [12mm] seam allowance and leaving a wide opening at the center of one edge. Clip corners and press seams open.  Turn mitered pillow cover to the right side through opening and press flat.


4. Insert pillow form into cover through opening.  Pin opening closed around form and using a hand needle and thread, slip-stitch opening closed.

Design Tip: Embellish the pillow edges with corded piping or a brushed fringe to change the pillow style  from contemporary to traditional if desired.


Featured: Ruffled Empire Shade

So, you want to make your own lamp shade…

The good news is that anyone can make a lamp shade – in a jiffy.

There is no bad news, so let’s get started.

The easiest (and most common) lamp shade is the conical “empire” shade. You can make the conical structure yourself by purchasing a shade frame or use the structure of an old lamp shade.

You will need:

  • 1 candle-stick lamp
  • 1 metal “empire” lampshade frame
  • 1/3 – 1/2 yd. of fashion fabric (a tightly woven, non-fraying fabric works best)
  • 5 yds. of double-sided satin ribbon, 2″  wide
  • Approx.10 yards of bias tape, (in matching colour) unfolded and pressed open
  • Topstitch thread (in matching colour)
  • Coordinating thread
  • SoboTM fabric adhesive
  • Straight pins


1. Make the Ruched Satin Trim

zigFold the cut end of the satin ribbon at a 45° angle and press. Follow this foldline with a hand-sewn evenly spaced running stitch in a zig-zag pattern. Use the topstitch thread to make the running stitches. Draw up on the running stitches to create the ruched trimming. Make enough trim to go around the circular top and bottom of the shade frame.

2. Tape the Shade Frame

prod_1569_empireThe first thing you’ll need is cotton bias tape in a colour that will match the colour scheme you have in mind for the final lamp shade.  Press the bias tape open flat.

Wrap the cotton tape around each strut (the metal bars that make up the lamp shade structure) and around the rings at the top and bottom. You’ll eventually sew your lamp shade to that, so make sure your cotton tape is wrapped tight. Use the fabric glue to tack the ends of the tape together.

3. Measuring for the Shade Cover

lampshade-mmtMeasure the height of the lampshade (A) and cut the material 2 inches longer. [50 mm]

Measure the distance around the base of the lamp shade frame  (B) (lower circle at the widest point) and cut the material 2 inches wider. [50 mm]

4. Hem the Top and Bottom of Fabric.

32hemming51Turn under ¼” [7 mm] of the top and bottom edge of the fabric and press. Turn these edges under 1″ [25 mm] and press. Machine-stitch the top and bottom hems.

5. Sewing the Shade Cover.

Make a French seam by turning the shade fabric wrong sides together and sew the ends together, using a ¼” [7 mm] seam allowance. Press seam open. Trim seam allowance 1/8″ [35 mm] from stitching.  Fold the material right side together and press a knife-edge along seam. Sew a ¼” [7mm] seam allowance along pressed seam to encase the seam allowance.

Hand-stitch an evenly spaced running stitch along the bottom and the top of the material to shirr the fabric .

6. Draping the Shade Cover.

invisible-stitch1Place the material over the structure and gently pull it down until it fits snugly over the lamp shade frame. Pull the running stitches and draw around the top and bottom of the frame. Now sew the pleated fabric to the cotton tape that you’ve wrapped around the lamp shade frame. Do this by hand using a blind stitch.

6. Finishing the Lampshade.

Now all that remains is the finishing touches to your lamp shade. Attach the satin ruched trim around the top and base of the lampshade by gluing it in place over the stitching. Use straight pins to hold the trim in place while the glue dries. This will give your new lamp shade a finished look.


NOTE: Take care with the colour selection. A good choice here can turn a good lamp shade into an exquisite lamp shade. Consider using a contrasting colour.





Featured: Square Tufted Box Pillows by Restoration Hardware

Young or old, few ever outgrow the love of laying on the floor while visiting or watching television. What you need are some big comfy floor pillows that you can use for those times when the gang is over at your house and there is no room on the couch. If the pillows are big enough (24 to 36 inches) they can also be seat cushions around a big coffee table for the overflow from the dining room. If you can’t quite envision these in your house, how about making a stacking set of these giant pillows to give to a student or a young couple in a new apartment. They never have enough seating. Cover the cushions with an upholstery fabric and pipe the edges for a real professional look.


Small Square Cushion: 18″ sq.

Medium Square Cushion: 24″ sq.

Large Square Cushion: 30″ sq.

You will need:

  • Approx. 17 yds. of cable cord, ½” thickness
  • Approx. 4 ½ yds. of brushed cotton, 54″ wide colour A
  • Approx. 3 ½ yds. of brushed cotton, 54″ wide colour B
  • 2 yds. of hook & loop fastener, ½” wide
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1 covered button kit, 1″ diameter (6 buttons), optional
  • Heavy-duty thread (optional)
  • 2 yds. of polyester batting, 60″ wide
  • Polyethylene Foam, 4″ thickness/30″ wide x 72″ long
  • Upholstery spray adhesive




To prepare the welt, cut 2 pieces of fabric each measuring, the length of the cushion (X) plus 8″ by the required depth less 1″, adding ½” to all edges for seams.

Cut 1 piece of fabric measuring, the width of the cushion (X) times 3 less 8″ by the required depth, adding ½” to all edges for seams. Make sure to cut the depth from down the length of the fabric.

Cut the top and bottom cushion pieces to the required size, (X by X), adding ½” to all sides for the seam allowances. If patterned fabric is used, make sure to centre any design on the fabric.

Cut bias strips of contrasting fabric 1 ½” wide to make the piping. Make enough length to go around the perimeter of each cushion plus 5″, twice.

Cut foam to size. (X by X)


Spray each foam pad with spray adhesive and wrap in batting on all sides.

Cover 2 button blanks with contrasting fabric for each cushion.

Join enough bias strips for the required length and wide enough to cover the cable cord plus the seam allowance. Lay the cord in the centre, on the wrong side of the bias strip.

Fold the bias strip over the cord matching the raw edges. Stitch the 2 sides of the bias strip together along the length. Use a zipper foot or cording foot on the sewing machine to ensure that the stitches are close to the cord.

On the 2 smaller welt side pieces, turn under ¼” and then 5/8″ along one long edge, making sure that any design or nap on the fabric is the right way up on all the pieces. Press. Open the fold and center the hook side of the fastener tape on one piece and the loop side of the other, leaving 4-1/2″ free on each end. Stitch fastener tape in place. Re-fold edge and sew length of turned edge.

Lap hook and loop together to create a width of 5″ when combining the 2 welt side pieces. Sew across the ends to secure.

Join the welt pieces together to form a ring, making sure that any design or nap on the fabric is the right way up on all the pieces.

Pin the ends of the strips, right sides together, and stitch, ½” in from the raw edges, using a flat seam. Press the seams open.

Place the contrasting piping around the outer edge of the bottom cushion piece, right sides together and matching the raw edges. Align the seams on the welt to the corners of the cushion piece so that the piping gently curves around at the corners (clip cording seam allowance if necessary). Starting and finishing at the back of the cushion and joining the ends of the piping cord to neaten. Baste in place, 1/2″ in from the raw edges. Sew in place using a zipper foot.

Stitch the welt to the bottom cushion piece.

Attach the piping cord to the perimeter of the top cushion piece. Starting and finishing at the back of the cushion and joining the ends of the piping cord to neaten. Pin the top section to the top edge of the welt, ½” in from the raw edges and matching the corners. Stitch in place using a zipper foot on the sewing machine so that the stitches are close to the piping cord. Turn right side out through the opening.

Insert the covered foam pad into the cushion and close the lapover on the opening.

If using, attach a covered button to one end of heavy-duty thread and anchor through center of cushion. Draw thread throuh foam pad and out other side of cushion. Attach a second covered button and return thread through center. Tighten up slightly to tuft pillow and pass thread through first button. Knot thread.