Drapery Buckram…not exciting but necessary!

Although not an exciting part of drapery construction, buckram does make a difference in your final product!


Buckram heading is a strip of white or translucent stiffener that helps add a more defined shape to a drapery header. It comes in several sizes and weights and hides between layers of fabric and lining to create a sturdier header. This stiffener often backs a pleated style, such as pinch pleats, goblet pleats and Euro pleats, for example. With buckram pleats stand up stiff and hold their shape. It also is great for making the small side pieces for outside mount roman shades and valances. All buckrams, except for translucent are white.

If the curtain includes interlining, the buckram attaches to the interlining between the fabric and outer lining. If the curtain has no interlining, the buckram stays encased with the sewn pleats. Some buckram styles include a narrow adhesive strip with a paper backing for a no-sew attachment. Buckram also inserts into the side openings of a frill above a gathered rod pocket header to prevent sagging and achieve a crisp, polished look for your window treatment.

Light weight is suitable for light weight fabrics, sheers and semi sheers. Standard weight is 33% heavier than light weight and works with medium weight fabrics. Heavy weight is 30% heavier than medium weight and works best with heavy weight fabrics and velvets. Heavy weight is also good for bumped panels.

Polyester Permanent Drapery Buckram is available either as sew on or iron on and in either light, standard or heavy weight. Common sizes for each are listed below:

Light weight:  2”, 3”, 4”, 5”, 6”

Standard weight: 2”, 3”, 3.75”, 4”, 5”, 6”

Heavy weight: 2”, 3”, 4”, 5”, 6”

Non-woven Permanent Drapery Buckram with the sew on type available in standard and heavy weight and the iron on in standard weigh only. Sizes listed below:

Iron On: standard weight, 3”, 4”, 5” 

Sew On:

standard 2”, 3”, 4”, 5”

heavy 3”, 4”, 5”, 6”, 8”, 10”

Pressure Sensitive Buckram has a small strip of adhesive tape on one edge that allows it to be attached to the cloth. This buckram makes fabrication go faster since it keeps the buckram from shifting while folding the fabric over. It comes in both polyester permanent and non woven as a standard weight and 4” width.

Translucent buckram is woven polyester and is used with sheers and semi sheer fabrics to give the fabric stability while not showing through the fabric. When applied to the header it is practically invisible. It is also great for shower curtains and is available in 2”, 3”, 4” and 6” widths.

Choosing the correct buckram for the fabric you are using is important so that you get the best results when fabricating window treatments. It will take a few times of using different types of buckram before you find your favorite. But once you do you will produce beautiful products!

Top Down Measuring to Ensure Finished Length Accuracy

Top Down Measuring is a very important option for window treatment measuring and fabrication. It should be done when the space that the drapery hardware will be installed in is a tight spot with no margin for error.

Yes, Top Down Measures does take a bit more time on the front end of the job, but it outweighs having to re do or alter the treatment after installation. In the long run it does save time, money, and homeowner disappointment.

When there is a lot of space between crown molding and door or window molding, hardware placement isn’t as crucial because there is wiggle room for the hardware to go up or down a few inches.

Stationary panels over arched doors.

Top Down Measures are also done for curved or arched windows when the window treatment will be mounted into a tight space. This works not only for drapery hardware but also for board mounted window treatments as well.

For a Top Down Measure, the drapery hardware is ordered and installed first before a finished length can be determined. Once the hardware is installed, a measurement is taken from the bottom of the ring to the floor. Then the work order can be done and sent on to the workroom.


These traversing panels are a good example of when to do a Top Down Measure. When the initial measure was done a deduction for the drapery hardware was not subtracted from the wall measurement before the panels were fabricated. Also the wrong deduction can be subtracted resulting in an incorrect finished length. Install was one of those ‘uh oh’ moments when the panels were installed and were dragging on the floor. New brackets were ordered which, fortunately, did correct the problem, but that was extra time and expense that could have been avoided.

A little extra time and effort on the front end often saves much headache after the product is installed! Our measuring sheets can help make sure you get the right measurements the first time. One free download is available at www.seamlessworkroom.com/shop.


Important first step…measure correctly.

One of the basic tasks of a window treatment professional is to measure accurately for the job. Whether we are measuring windows, doors, beds or whole rooms it is imperative that we measure correctly. The entire job depends on these first measurements.

There are several tools that makes this task easy and efficient.

The traditional measuring tape is our quintessential measuring tool. The tapes come in a variety of lengths and have both imperial and metric measurements markings on a metal strip. We all have several tapes tucked away in vehicles and bags that can be pulled out quickly. They are great for measuring just about anything on the job site that is within easy reach.

Flexible measuring tapes or dressmaker tapes are made from cloth or vinyl. Their best uses are for measuring curved items such as mattresses and cushions.

Laser measuring tools are made by many manufacturers and come with a variety of features. The example shown here is from Lowes Home Improvement but laser measure tools can be found at any home improvement store and online. They are best for measuring the inside of a window or door and for measuring ceiling and wall height. Some of the features include length in both imperial and metric and calculating the area of a wall or floor. Newer laser tools also have apps that send the measurements with detail information to your phone or tablet.


The Euro Measuring Stick from Rowley Company is great for eliminating the need for an extra set of hands to hold the end of a tape measure when measuring wide openings because it is rigid. It comes in three sizes that expand: 28” -118”, 34” – 157”, 42” – 197”.


Where you record your measurements is also important. Some professionals use graph paper to draw the window and log the measurements, others take photos with their phones or tablets and record them directly on the picture, and others use measuring sheets that are made to work with programs such as Adobe, Goodnotes or Evernote. It is a personal preference. We like the measuring sheet option because it ensures you don’t forget to measure all parts of the window, door, bed or bathtub. Seamless has an extensive library of measuring forms that are pdf based and can be used in a variety of ways…printed to be written on, used as a pdf fillable within an app such as Adobe or saved into Goodnotes or Evernote as a template so that it is easily accessible at all times. You can find our measuring sheets here.

We are sure we missed listing something above, so what are your favorite measuring tools? Please let us know in the comments below.

Do you really need a CFA?

CFA or Cutting for Approval, do you really need one?

Yes, it does take time but in the long run it saves time and money. If the dye lot comes in different from the swatch or memo then that fabric can’t be used. And never cut into a bolt of fabric until the CFA is approved because if you do, and it’s wrong, then you just bought yourself some fabric. So if you or the designer thinks that CFAs are a waste of time, think again.

Choosing the right fabric for a job is both a fun and a serious search. We all love sifting through sample books and memos to find just the right fabric, color and texture. Getting the color right is just as important as selecting the correct type of fabric.

Our assignment was to find a light gray linen blend. Not to green, not too pink, slightly on the blue side and blends with the wall color – you get the picture. We must have gone through about 50 swatches of gray linen before we found just the right one. And then -eureka! Found it!

For this master bedroom we needed 63 yards for 5 windows. Yardage was checked at the warehouse. They had 2 bolts of 11 yards and 53 yards. Now, those 2 bolts could be the same dye lot or not. So we asked for a CFA from both bolts. And wouldn’t you know it, the dye lots didn’t match. Not even close.

We requested a new bolt and the warehouse got a whole new bolt from the mill. It took an extra week but it was worth it. All of the yardage came in on one bolt and it was the perfect color. Continuous yardage is always preferred for each room over several bolts.

So requesting that CFA only took an extra week and we got all of the yardage on one bolt. Definitely worth getting the CFA and the wait!

A little information about one of our most important tools….Scissors!

Did you ever wonder who or when some of the most common things we use were
invented? Like scissors for instance. Every day we use a variety of different
scissors to do everything from cutting paper to cutting fabric. We don’t give it a
thought – just find the pair we need, use them and set them down somewhere.

A good pair of sharp scissors is imperative to our fabrication businesses. In fact to
protect our best scissors we guard them, hide them from the family, and do
anything to keep them from ending up in the garage.

It is commonly thought that scissors were invented 3000 to 4ooo years ago in the
Middle East. That’s a long time ago!

It is believed that around 1500 BC Egyptians used a two bladed device connected
by a spring like mechanism.

Then around 100 AD the Romans invented a cross
blade design similar to our modern scissors.

In 1761 English manufacturer Robert Hinchliffe adapted the design so that it could
be mass produced.

So this common object that we use every day goes back a long way. There is an
almost endless variety of types of scissors for every use and need as well as left
and right handed scissors.

What are your favorite scissors? What brands do you prefer? Do you have a pair
that you have owned for longer than you can remember? I have a pair of Ginghers
that are decades old. Please share with us in the comments section below.


Let’s be clear. There IS a difference between projection and return.

Ever get confused when the workroom or installer asks you what the hardware return is? Or what projection do you want on that valance?

Projection and return are two different things. The best way to explain it is this way. Projection is going from the wall out. Return is going back to the wall.

Drapery hardware projection and return are shown in the diagram above.  As you can see, the projection is the whole bracket measurement from the back of the bracket to the front. The return is measured from the middle of the rod back to the wall.


Fabric returns back to the wall. For drapery panels the return is the fabric on the panel side that folds back to the wall and blocks the light on the sides.

Boards and hardware project out from the wall. For board mounted window treatments, the projection is depth of the board.  The return is the fabric that is on the sides of the board mounted window treatments.


Shutters and binds project out from the window.



Knowing the difference comes in to play when ordering hardware or specifying a valance that has to clear shutters or blinds.Here’s an example of what can happen if you don’t understand these terms.

A designer specified drapery hardware for a window with existing shutters. At the measuring appointment the workroom was told by the designer what the bracket return should be. Panels were fabricated with the  return measurement that was given.  But when ordering the drapery hardware, the designer thought that the bracket projection and return measurements were interchangeable. At the install, she was shocked to see that the bracket return was much too small for the panels to hang clear of the shutters. The panels would not clear the shutters and thus laid over the top of them.

For more information on drapery hardware please go to the Seamless Workroom blog and download the PDF titled Soft Furnishings Designer Basics Drapery Hardware Explained. See link below.

Soft Furnishings Designer Basics Drapery Hardware 

Traversing Panels Workbook Updates!

calculating drapery yardage

We have made a few updates to the Traversing Panels Workbook.

  • Choose the amount of fullness you need
  • Calculate for multiple windows with the same width and same length
  • Each page will now print on one piece of paper for easy readability

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of our products!

Amanda and Rose Mary