I often hear that custom made drapes are just too expensive. Here are three of my favorite stories illustrating that drapes can be done without taking out a second mortgage. One of the easiest ways to save money on drapes is to establish a good relationship with your decorator/sewer, make a plan that includes a budget, and be willing to wait just a bit.
I recently did a bedroom window with a blackout Roman Blind, two floor- length side panels, and a beautiful Empire valance with matching trim. The client wanted a specific type of floral print and the color scheme of mustard yellow-green and burgundy was somewhat unusual- but beautiful. I showed her photographs of similar windows I had previously done and did a design of the treatment onto a photo of her window so she could see exactly what the finished look would be and, after we looked at a lot of fabric samples, ( I have a library of about 200 fabric books ), I felt I had a very clear understanding of the fabric she wanted.
We did find fabric in one of my books that was wonderful, but at $60.00/meter it would have been a real stretch on her budget. We agreed to wait for the fabric to ‘appear’ and she, bless her heart, agreed to trust me. About 3 weeks later I found just what we were looking for on sale in a store in another town. The original price on the fabric was $29.98/ meter. We got it for $6.00/ meter; the print and color were perfect. We saved about $550.00.
The fabric was a top quality cotton print, no flaws, no mis-printing. Often these large stores get fabric that is the end of the run and are able to sell it at very low prices. Or they deal directly with the fabric mills for all their fabric and are able to re-order fabric or order large quantities at very competitive prices.
Last spring a client picked a fabric from a book of one of my suppliers – in California. The day the fabric was delivered, at an end cost of $74.00/meter, another client brought me the same fabric -that she had purchased in Vancouver for $26.98/meter. I talked to the owner of that store and found that the store buys directly from the mills. Now I order from the store, or send my clients there.
One of my favorite ‘wait and it will come’ stories is Miras ’ kitchen. She painted her kitchen a glorious color – called Pear. Except that it was Granny Smith Apple Green. She loved it. I was having a lot of trouble finding a small plaid fabric with apple green and terra cotta ( the floor color) . A country kitchen, big French doors, huge over-the-sink window and a large picture window. We needed about 35 meters of fabric and we knew we wouldn’t be able to find that much in a store, so special order was our only option. If I could find it.
As a last resort I called one of my fabric suppliers and told her the story, asking her to keep her eyes peeled for something we could use. She called me back later that day and said she had gone to the warehouse and found just what we were looking for and because of the unusual color the fabric was on sale for $5.00 a meter. She sent us a sample and it was exactly what we were looking for. Mira and I were doing a lot of work together so I passed the fabric cost saving directly to her. She saved about $1000.00 on this one room. I made my money on the construction, the drapes were fantastic and my client and I were both happy.
Developing a good rapport with your decorator/sewer will save you money. If she is good she will keep looking for just the right fabric, at just the right price for you. She wants you to be happy, you want to have the look you want without over-spending. Take your time. It is almost always worth the wait.
Have a look at the brown and yellow bedroom on my website designsewlutions.ca. It was done totally with Fabricland fabric, total fabric cost for window treatments, chair and bedspread was under $250.00