Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fishtail Swag Tutorial

Please be aware this tutorial is not the only way and heck maybe not the right way, but it worked for me.  You all know I try to save money where I can by making as much as I can.  Recently I received a request from a friend on Facebook about my living room swag over my window.  She went on to say that she has a  quite large window and could not decide how to treat it and asked where I got my swag.  Long story short I told her I made it and that I would post a tutorial.  Trust me if you can sew a straight line you can make this!

Ok so we all know what I'm talking about.  These are old pictures, but it's really hard to take a picture of a window. lol.  Basically it is just draped fabric over a curtain rod.  In the second picture you can kind of see how it tapers down.  Anyway, I'll try to take other pics as we go.  As we speak I'm figuring out new curtain ideas for this window because it is old and drafty and I need to keep some of the cold out.  I'm thinking lined panels, but I'm not sure.

First things first.  Measure your window and decide how long you want the sides to hang down.  I took all my measurements sides and across the top and added them together.  This gives you how many inches of fabric you need.   I obviously like them a little longer.  You can choose between short to long.  This is where I made mistake number one.  Be sure to add about an extra 12 inches on your measurement for the sides.  The reason being when you drape and wrap it around the rod this takes up a few inches of fabric.  Make sure you have enough to make it long enough.  Got your measurements?  Great! 

Next, choosing your fabric.  I HATE trying to decide on curtain colors and designs.  I feel that by choosing a certain color I'm "stuck" with it in my decorating scheme. So, I tend to stay neutral.  BLACK! This does have mustard checks in it, but it actually blends well with my decor year round.  This was 100% cotton fabric.  I did not buy home decor fabric.  You could, but expect to pay a little more per yard.  I figured using this fabric I could throw them in the washing machine when they need it. Now once you have your total inches convert it to yards.  You will have left over fabric! So then you could make table runners, candle mats, etc. the possibilities are endless or you could make another swag! I only have one window in my living room so I had a lot left over.  Now I did line my swag as you can see with simple muslin.  You don't have to.  I prefer to because it looks more finished from the outside and when it doesn't lay quite right it still looks good.  I really think if you used just a solid fabric that coordinated with your other fabric would look awesome!!! Purchase the same amount of fabric in both fabrics if you are lining them. It is up to you if you want to wash your fabric first.  I highly recommend it.  I did NOT and one of the fabrics shrunk a little more than the other and it's kinda off if you look close.  All ready to start?

I'm going to use scrap fabric to show you since I'm not quite ready to make a swag at this time for the window.

Step One..

This fabric is folded in half. 

Most fabric is 44"-45" wide.  Take your pretty fabric (the front of the swag) and measure half  which is normally around 22"-23" You will measure the side that is cut.  Now you will either need to cut or rip your fabric in half giving you 2 pieces 22-23" by the length of the swag. Ripping sounds harsh I know, but it will give you a very straight line.

Step 2...

If you are using a backing fabric like muslin do the same to this piece.  Please be aware muslin can come in differing widths.  Measure your width carefully and cut or rip it the same as the front piece.

You should now have a front and back to your swag.

Step 3...

This step we will cut what I call the "drop."  This gives it the "fishtail" appearance.  How did I come up with this you might ask? Well, I measured a friend's that bought a swag like this at the store and used those measurements. :-)  Alright so how do you do this? You can layer your fabric right sides together (front and back) and cut them together or you can do them separate.  

You should have a long rectangular piece. The short side of the fabric is at the right side of the picture in the pic below.  Measure up one side of the long side of the rectangle 22" Shown below by the blue tape. Draw and cut a straight line from the 22" mark and the corner of the opposite side  It will save time if you layer your fabric. :-)  Now do the same to the opposite edge. BE CAREFUL and make sure your diagonals are going in the same direction!!!!! Learn from this girl lol!!!! Let me clarify this.  Make sure when you are cutting the opposite edge that the long side is at the top just like this one.  Basically it is a mirror image.

You still with me?


Step four...

I'm going to tell you how to do this because the way I did it didn't work very well.  I've thought about it and this way should be much easier!  Your fabric pieces should be rights sides of the fabric facing each other.  You should be seeing the back of the fabric.  I really suggest using a sewing machine for this.  How I envision this is going to work should be pretty simple.  Find the half way point on one of your long sides of the fabric.  I suggest using the side that is the shorter of the two.  You'll see why in a minute. Using a 1/4" seam start sewing at that midpoint down the side to the corner and around the short sides back down the really long side around the other corners  coming back 6 inches or so from your original start point.  Stop sewing and backstitch.  You should have an opening to turn your swag right side out. HA!!! EUREKA!!!!  You will have to trim your corners slightly to get them to lay right before turning right side out.  Press your swag then whip stitch your turning hole closed.  This should be at the top of your swag when hanging it.  If it's on the bottom it should work just fine as well.

When I sewed my swag I tried to topstitch it and it looks horrid.  I didn't catch all the seams and once I washed them the first time those uncaught edges came out and it looks awful.  I really think the above method will give you a better look.  If you try it let me know how it works.

There you have it!  Just drape your swag over your curtain rod.  I'm a fanatic when it comes to being even.  This step takes me forever to do. LOL.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have question :-)

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Prims By The Water said...

Love your decor! Just became your newest follower. Prim blessings to you, Janice

earlyamerica 1815 said...

WOW, great post...thanks for all of the hard work it took to put this post together for us!! Your swag looks great! Tina

Jeanne said...

The swag looks wonderful. Thanks for the tutorial...I'll be using this one. BTW, I love your shelf in your sunday post. You've decorated it beautifully. I like how you laid the longer box on the shelf and then filled it with boxes...very nice. Thanks for the inspiration. I've added you to my blog list. :)

S.White4 said...

THANKS ever so much for your post!!! Your instructions were clear and I am sure I can NOW make the fishtail swags. I am "tiny house" living in a LARGE 5th Wheel and while the decor was nice (for someone other then me), I wanted to create MY WORLD. Carpet is out and replaced by a great OLD looking laminate (live on a ranch and it holds up better then real wood). Just had the honey oak cabinets painted black and distressed. They are FABULOUS. All furniture has been replaced and the dining room table and chairs, coffee table and end table are all oldie pieces painted black and distressed. Rugs are cream, brown, black and red with chicken wire and red material is backing those cabinet doors to finish the "look". All that is left to do are the window treatments and the fabric covered wooden valances have been taken down and the windows are awaiting my creation of the fishtail swags will add some softness (aka, the bow on the package). I sooooo appreciate your post and will order the fabric today! Nana