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  • Advice Needed

    As a swag virgin (apart from NDA course sample!) I need a little advice. I have OD'd on information in all my books and online (hence my find on youtube) and have managed to come across conflicting advice.

    My client wants 2 swags overlapping on a board of 178cm. She wants each swag to cover 2/3rds of the board thus overlapping about 60cm. The advice regarding proportions I have read suggests no more than 20cm for overlap?

    Based on this size board the swags would need to be 120cm w by 54cm deep. One of my books says the swag piece should be 1/2 the finished width at the top and 1 1/2 the fw at the bottom. Another says that it should be same as fw at the top and 1 1/2 fw at the bottom. Which is correct?

    Also do you cut the bottom straight or curved? which looks better?

    AND (sorry!) The fabric I have is a faux silk with a lot of slubs in it. Do I still cut this on the cross or the straight of grain?

    I know it's a lot of questions but I know you guys can handle it.

    I would by the M&D book but can't really stretch to the £45 at the mo.

    I would really appreciate your help, all you swag experts!!
    Kim

  • #2
    Re: Advice Needed

    Applemoon - You have asked a huge question here. I will give you one ot two pointers though.

    1. I start off by draping a piece of fine plug chain between two pins on my wall board. This defines the finished width and depth of the proposed swag. then I drape a piece of good quality soft lining fabric into a finished swag scissor cutting the curve of the bottom to the chain and my vertical ends with scisors at the pins. choose which side you like best and then put a pencil mark top dead centre and bottom dead centre. Lay it out on the bench, draw in the vertical line and cut away the half you don't like. Make your paper pattern accurately from the fabric one that you draped and you will then have a perfect template to start setting out the lining of your finished work. I have never in my life heard of any proportion like 1&1/2 times the FW at the bottom of the swag. every swag you cut will have a different width and depth and a rule of thumb calculation of one and a half dose not exist in reality. A swag is never a half circle so this can never work.

    2. I never cut a swag on the bias because for me this creates an imbalance in the tension of the fabric. If you did this then you would need to cut your lining on the Bias as well. Bias cut fabric elongates and you cant tell if the lining is going to elongate at the same rate as the face fabric. If it doesn't then you will get v shaped twisted lines across the folds of your swag. Further to this what do you do with the pattern? You can't have it running diagonally through the swag so no I cut my swags square to the warp.

    3. Yes the bottom of a swag is curved. A swagged valance may have a straight bottom but that is a completely different animal and much more complicated to explain.

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    • #3
      Re: Advice Needed

      Thank-you so much for your reply. I have been fiddling with a piece of lining all day, pinning and un-pinning, and cutting strips off it. I think I am now happy with the dimensions and as the fabric is inexpensive I am going to take the plunge and see what happens. Sounds like I need to sign myself up for one of your courses though!!

      The idea of strining a piece of chain between the 2 points to get an idea of the curve is a great idea, I'll definitely be doing that. I'll report back.

      Thanks again,

      Kim
      Kim

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      • #4
        Re: Advice Needed

        Kim - - - Measure the distance between your thumb and little finger tips. This is usually 6 1/2 to 7 ins.

        Take your hand and hold its span, tip to tip, vertically up the edge of your lining material from the pin down. This is the amount of fabric that you will gather between your fingers and form into each fold.

        Lift this amount of fabric to the top left pin then do the same on the right. Adjust each end till you are happy with the centre drop of your fold.

        Do this four or five times so that you have got this amount of even folds down the centre of your swag. If you are not happy drop the lot and start again. when you are happy with the finished swag run a marker pen around the chain at the bottom holding the fabric gently over the chain. Hold out the waste fabric wings you have created to the left and right of your corner pins and shear them vertically to the exact point of the pin. Unfurl and lay on the bench. Cut around the line you drew over the chain. Halve the panel vertically and you will have your fabric pattern ready to lay on your paper.

        Stand vertically and push into your bench a pin on each point and in each V of this pattern. draw round your bottom curve and allow two inches at the top for your band to be sewn on later. join up the dots of your pin holes and cut it out. You now have your finished paper half pattern.

        If you wish you can now make from this a further full pattern which will now have the same spacings point to point and V to V on each side. Lay this on the wrong side of your lining and pin your pattern down on it. Pencil in the points at tip of point and in each V. Mark your curve. These are your sewing lines. Cut to within 1/2 inch of these lines neatly and place on the face side of your face fabric . Sew it - Bag it and pull the points out with a pin. Press it and rehang it picking up the points with pins and see if it looks good. If you are then you can turn it back out and interline it. Once you have made the first all the rest will make up identically. You only need to check the first one.

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        • #5
          Re: Advice Needed

          I just wanted to follow up on this post. I have finished these swags and they are hung. Customer absolutely delighted with them (she doesn't know I'd never done one before, ha ha!!). I'll get some pics and post them in the gallery when I get a mo. Thank-you very much for your advice, the plug chain was a particularly good tip. I have some more to do for the same client and I can proceed with a little more confidence now. Kim
          Kim

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