Grommet panels hemmed

Make grommet panels work.

 Grommet panels are not going away. For which I am truly sorry. So, I’ll admit defeat and stop complaining. Andin the spirit of acceptance, here are a few things you should know about them if you are considering buying some.

These are out of the package panels. First of all, they are hung too low — these rods are mounted just above the window frame. So they have to be hemmed anyway. Look at the heading. The pleats are uneven, there are 6 panels on the large window. In the ‘after’ photo, the rod has been moved up the wall 4 inches, the panels hemmed correctly and made into two curtains, each 3 panels wide. The grommets are attached to each other from the back side so the pleats are uniform — like they show on the side window.

Grommet panels unhemmed.
Before. Oh my.
Grommet panels after fixing,
Grommet panels after being fixed.

Grommets panels are meant to be used at two times fullness or less. This means that a 48-inch wide grommet panel is meant to cover 24-inches of rod. If your window is 74 inches wide, you will need three grommet panels for appropriate fullness. Now the problem comes in because on a 74-inch rod you will probably have a center support which forces two panels to one side of the support and one on the other side. Therefore you really need four panels. Grommet panels will never lie flat across the rod, either, so don’t try to get away with the “Well one panel is 48-inches wide and I only need 37 inches” argument. Won’t work.

Pre-made grommet panels stack open with the fabric between the grommets folding in half and extending into the room for half the spaces and toward the wall for half the spaces. If the distance between the  grommets is six inches the panels will create a three-inch deep fold both forward into the room and back toward the window.  Make sure your brackets are adjustable enough so you can extend them far enough that the drapes do not rub against the wall.

There are two huge challenges with pre-made panels. First is that they rarely have truly straight hems. Invariably the bottom edge will lift up as it approaches the side hems, sometimes by as much as two inches. This is caused by tension in the sewing of the side hems and  the only way to fix it is to open the side hems and re-sew them. The second challenge is pressing. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to steam or press out the fold marks. Save yourself grief and have them professionally pressed.  

Having said all that, though, pre-made panels can save you a lot of money. Have your drapery maker sew the panels together and fix the side hems and they will do their job.

I have a neat way of altering these panels which makes them open and close with the fullness moving across the rod, keeping the folds even all the time.

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