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December 11, 2013

Help! Opinions Needed From NPR Readers!

by Andrea

I did it!  I finally found some awesome vintage barkcloth for drapes in my living room!


I loved this print because the turquoise matches my walls perfectly, I like the grey and I think the pink is going to be a fun new accent colour to play with.

However, this now brings me to the part that I need some help with, dear readers … I can’t decide what style of drapes to make!  I’ve got it narrowed down to three choices.

Option 1: Pinch Pleats




This is definitely the most classic, most MCM of my three choices. However, I have some reservations about them. To me, they can be a little fussy looking. They also can be fairly difficult to sew and have turn out perfect.


Option 2: Modified Tab Curtains




I am sure this style has a proper name, but I don’t know what it is! The picture here is the top of my bedroom curtains. This style has wide tabs sewn to the back, which give a pleat effect. I do lean a bit towards this style because it’s easy to sew and has a clean look, but I fear it’s perhaps a little too plain for living room drapes?


Option 3: Grommet Drapes


grommet drapes

Although I am generally not a fan of most of today’s decorating trends, I don’t mind the look of grommet drapes. It’s a clean design, and I could go with either a chrome or brass grommet to pick up of some of the other metal accents in my living room. However, I fear that the style may look too at odds with my mid-century barkcloth.


This is where the drapes will be going:



So, give me your thoughts on drapes, readers! Help me make a decision!

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35 Responses to Help! Opinions Needed From NPR Readers!

  1. Neenah S. Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

    That print is going to go so well in your living room! I agree with all your reasoning on the style of drapes and personally vote for the modified tab style. It’s not as stern looking as the pleats, yet has the look I think you’re going for. I am a fan of the grommet style but I think they are a bit to modern for the print and I always picture the grommets looking best with big dramatic drapes and colors. So awesome you finally found your print!

  2. Penny Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I can picture that design best with the grommet style. It’s such a breezy, whimsical pattern and I think some of the artistry would get lost in the pinch pleats because even when the drapes are closed, there are definite folds all the way down. I just think the grommet style would show off the full picture of the lines and shapes and add to the carefree but crisply stylish look. Also, I think it would be hard to go wrong, really, with any of the styles because…TURQUOISE.

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Hee! I agree completely, Penny – you can never go wrong with turquoise! 😀

  3. deb Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Agree with Penny – think you’ll get more bang for your visual buck with the grommets!

  4. Honora Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 6:15 am

    The Pinch Pleats are far too formal, and would hide your gorgeous bark cloth. The Grommet style , I feel is too casual for bark cloth. I, myself would go for the Modified Tab. You still get some formal, yet simple cleanliness to show off your fabric. Mixing old fabric, with new interior design is a tough one!

  5. Donna Mibus Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Awesome fabric! I love barkcloth. If it were me I would definitely go with Option 2, the modified tab. When the curtains are closed you will see nothing BUT the fabric, which stands on its own easily since it’s so great. No offense meant to the others, but I think the grommets detract too much from the vintage vibe of the fabric.

  6. Jess Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Pinch pleats are the way to go in my opinion. It is in keeping with what would have been done at the time the fabric was made. I recently completed drapes for my living and dining room and love the way they turned out! And yes, I chose pinch pleats….real ones, not the fancy hook and tape method.

    You can see them on my blog http://www.wonderfulmarquette.blogspot.com

    The fabric is so gorgeous I think it will look fab no matter what method you choose!

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Jess, I will definitely be checking out how you did your drapes!

  7. CAT Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I ADORE that fabric. Great find. Although they may be the hardest to make, I would do the traditional MCM pinch pleat. But, if you don’t think that you can get them 100% right, then I would do grommets.

  8. Queen of Fifty Cents Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Grommets are popular, but I think they will become dated too quickly. Pinch pleats are certainly classic and if you have the sewing skills and patience would be a good option. But so is the tab-back! I made something similar for our family room, using buttonholes on the back of the header instead of tabs. For me it was easier to sew (and I got to use the cool Singer buttonholer on my 201 that moves the fabric back and forth to create buttonholes) and the curtains slide easily on the rod to open and close.

    My curtain saga is on my blog! http://queenoffiftycents.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-get-curtains-at-garage-sales.html

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

      This was my other fear of grommets – that it’s just not a classic enough style, and will look dated in a few years. I will definitely check out how you did your curtains, thanks Queen of Fifty Cents!

  9. Cindy Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I like look of the grommets but the pinch pleats are the classic way to go!

  10. deb Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I think the grommets will clash with the fabric. I made pinch pleat drapes for my dining room. They even make little “cheat” things that essentially make the pinch pleats for you. I made mine myself. The up side was that I was able to make fewer pleats than you would normally see traditionally – preserving the classic MCM look, but showing off more of the fabric. Sewing wise, they were very easy! You just have to measure carefully! Good luck – love the fabric!

  11. Andrea Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thank you all for your opinions so far – please keep them coming! 🙂

  12. Kristy Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

    If you are fussy about having a regular gather to the drapes when they are pulled closed I would do a pinch pleat- I would probably use the pleating tape to make it easier.
    I say this because I have previously made curtains that did not have a set gather to them and when my husband would close them one side would be pulled all the way and flat and the other side would be all bunched up- he saw no problem with this – the curtains were closed in his opinion- but it drove me CRAZY! Making curtains that have a set gather to them solved that problem.

    I hope that made sense!

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      You have a good point there, Christy! I could see the same scenario happening in my house LOL

  13. Carol Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I think the grommet is much too modern for the vintage barkcloth fabric. If you look at most of the barkcloth curtains from the period, they were more often than not, pinch pleated so you need to consider if you want to stay true to the period. Having said that though, pinch pleats are more difficult to make so I think the modified tab would be the way to go, you get the feel/look of pinch pleats but easier to sew.

  14. Pam Lappin Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I like the grommet design the best. It brings a contemporary look the bark cloth and will work better wit the modern sofa than the other more traditional styles.

  15. Libby Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I would go with modified tab. I think grommet will look dated eventually and every time I see one it reminds me of a shower curtain LOL

  16. Adam Hesyck Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Definitely option 2, the modified tab. I think the other two options would take away from the great pattern.

  17. Desirae Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I prefer option number two. I don’t particularly like looking at my curtain rod, no matter how cute it is. But, this wouldn’t be as easy to open and close as the others. I also think that this would look a little more authentic, as most of the curtains used hooks.

  18. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I say a definite no to the grommets. Though they lay nice, the fabric wouldn’t go with that style and I think that the style will not be timeless.

  19. thelmaritter Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I like option 3. I think you can love retro but still go with progress. Just because I grew up eating spam and scalloped potatoes doesn’t mean that I can’t update the recipe and replace spam with some nice pork loin;-). Good luck!

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Hee, that is an awesome way of putting it!

  20. Sara In AZ Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I’s say the modified tab or the pinch pleats….I think everyone else is right – the grommet will look very dated (in not a good way!)in another year or so…..and I just don’t think it would look right with the barkcloth.

  21. Trisha Lowe Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Try a cornice board, with the modified tab on rings or on a traverse rod with pins. That way you will enjoy the barkcloth and not see the hardware.

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      That is another good option to consider! Thanks!

  22. Jason Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Pinch Pleats! They won’t be too bad, just a flat panel – if you use the pleating tape to do the pleating. Then they will be easy to clean too, cuz the pleats will fall out when you unpin them.

    Plus, they are so much easier to open and close and very mid century appropriate!

    • Andrea Reply

      December 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      I think I am definitely going to have to look into the pleating tape a bit further! Thanks!

  23. Pamela Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I would go with the pleats or modified pleat. They really are not that hard to make! The hardest is measuring the space between the pleats. I have made at least six sets of drapes with different pleats and they always turn out beautifully. Use a sewing cutting board and long ruler to cut to ensure you are cutting the fabric square. Lining will make the drapes last longer too. There are books, websites with directions and youtube videos on making a measuring drapes. Planning is important. Really, it is worth it.

    Good luck!

  24. Laura Reply

    December 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’m with a lot of the others–no on the grommet style. I consider this to be a sort of either nautical or more masculine look, which doesn’t really jibe well with the colors and pattern of this fabric, which is more feminine in look. It also doesn’t fit the period of the fabric. That said, you want the curtains to be functional and also easy for your sewing skills. I’d say the modified tab, and if you really want pinch pleats there are the tapes that you mount on the back of the panels that help you “cheat” the look, and I think they look great and are a lot less headache than the traditional pinch pleat construction. Good luck! This is awesome fabric!

  25. samantha Reply

    December 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    i would also go with option two. i love the formal look of option one, but see how how much work it be. i think two is a good compromise. and i love the fabric!!! good luck!

  26. Andrea Reply

    December 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you all for your opinions! Stay tuned for a follow up post in the coming weeks!

  27. Ruth Reply

    December 15, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Personally, I like the grommets with the couch you have there, sort of a semi-formal look. If you decide to go with the pleats there is an easier option. I think they still make a tape that you sew to the back of the curtain fabric and then it uses a special pronged hook to make the pleats. Little to now sewing! This website has a gazillion options that might help you decide–

  28. Pingback: Tutorial Time! Making Hidden Tab Curtains – Plus Some Tips For Working With Vintage Fabric! | No Pattern Required

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