Custom Drapery Debacle

I recently contracted to have 2-fold tailored-pleat panel draperies made. The panels are 185 wide by 129 long. I specified 10 full widths—2 panels at 5 full widths each. I gave the designer 20 yards of linen fabric and lining.

The drapes were installed while I was away, and after being unhappy with photos the designer sent, I looked at security camera footage. The workroom made 4 panels 2.5 widths instead of 2 five-width panels. 4 panels made into 2 might explain the one bad seam in each panel. They reworked them and reinstalled.

I am not happy. The left panel touches the floor. The right panel alternately touches the floor and is 2" short in some places. The draperies are stained with red (both the white linen fabric and the lining) which she says is a marking pencil, and there are gray spots along the front. They do not close in the center, and 1 seam on each panel is poorly done.

The designer blames the re-use of my old traverse rod for the unevenness of the draperies, and that maybe the floor is uneven. She said she will remove the panels, re-measure, re-sew, use a solution for the stains, and reinstall. But she is recommending a new drapery rod. The current drapery rod worked fine with my old custom silk draperies, and I never had a problem when those were installed.

Questions for the team:

Should I concede and purchase a new rod? If so, I do not want to purchase it from her. How do I know what rod length for a 16' wide sliding door, which carrier style, cord drop, and mounting bracket size?

I assume I need a 2" rod. I'd like a smooth wood rod in a soft metallic silver/champagne.

Does anyone have a vendor/rod co they like?

I really don't want to make a mistake on the rod. Shipping for a 16' rod is as much as the rod itself...

I'm also not thrilled with a smaller window valence, would you fight it too or let it go?

Thanks team!

Comments (14)

  • pudgeder

    **disclaimer** I am by no means a seamstress or knowledgeable regarding such things.

    However, if your previous rod worked, and it is LEVEL, I would think it's NOT the rod.

    They should close. And all of the sudden your floors aren't level?

    And the spots... well that's just inexcusable. IMHO

  • ritasj

    There are just too many variables to give a confident judgement on this dilemma..the one thing that stood out to me ...was....your”old” rod....and also the new drape the same weight as the old drapes? seems you have a cooperative situation at this point..better to try to work together..especially if you have pre-paid...which leaves you with no real leverage...

  • blubird

    What was the original width of the fabric? Most decorating weight fabric comes in widths of about 55" to 60". Five full width panels would be close to 250" wide. Garment weight linen usually is 44" or so wide, so 5 full width panels of that would still be close to 200" wide. So something doesn't add up. And did they add weights in the hem?

  • ratherbesewing

    Please post a picture.

  • branson4020

    The traverse rod excuse seems like nonsense to me. If it is mounted securely with a sufficient number of brackets, it's not going to sag. Worst case, you rehang it with more brackets.

  • shadylady2u

    The existing traverse rod would have nothing to do with it. Not all workrooms are equal. Some of the larger ones need to be given exact instructions or they'll sew them together the fastest and cheapest way possible, like a readymade.

    If you get a new one, why not just measure the one you have now? Is there stackback space? What's the diameter of the rod you have now?

    I'm not sure what valance you're referring to without a pic.

    Blubird, you also need to take into account the fabric that went into the pleats and the side hems, also if there was any fabric repeats. All that will make the widths much smaller.

  • blubird

    @Shady-lady2u, I know I didn’t mention the inclusion of fabric for pleating, but I still can’t figure out the math. If you have 5 panel widths of ~55” fabric, accounting for seaming but before pleating, you have about 250”. Given the finished desired finished panel width of 185”, it makes for a very ungenerous, barely 1 and 1/2 fullness. What am I not considering?

  • shadylady2u

    You're right. Usually when someone wants a 2 finger pleat, It's because they're trying to save on fabric or they don't have enough fabric. I agree that the panel widths are off, but don't know tho the specifics of the order. The whole thing does sound wrong, but without knowing more, it's hard to say if the workroom was at fault or not. They most likely did not have enough fabric to work with and did the best they could. However, in the end, it was not the fault of the rod, lol!

  • gardener123wewantsophie

    The tailored pleat was because I wanted a bit more modern of a vibe from the silk pinch pleats I had previously.

    But it's actually 10 full widths across the window. 5 full widths in each panel. That part is fine. The fabric has a great hand and it looks very full.

    The decorator is saying the traverse rod is twisted. It doesn't appear to be so to me. Is that a thing?

    Shadylady, do you have a suggestion as to where I can get a new rod?

    Thanks again.

  • blubird the width of each finished panel by the pleats 185”, or do the 2 completed panels add up to 185”? That makes the math totally different.

    i agree with shadylady2u that if your rod was fine before, it should be fine now. There are several different factors why drapes don’t drape well including either the panel or lining are off-grain somewhere, or even the thread used. You have heavy panels with a very long length. If they stitch with short stitches, (they might even have to use a fine zigzag stitch to help with the stretch over all that length) you can get distortion; as well as different brands of threads can cause issues due to stretch or lack of it. As linen by it's nature is a loosely woven fabric, you can get sagging and stretch when you certainly don’t want it.

  • shadylady2u

    You'd need a custom rod in that size (I think you probably need closer to 20'). All the places I know are to the trade only, so a designer or workroom needs to order it for you.

    However, I did do a search and found one place that offers custom sizes online, so you might want to check them out:


    If I come across any others, I'll post back.

  • lascatx

    If you wanted 10 full widths that are each 129 inches long finished length, you would have needed to give her 38-40 yards of fabric -- so I'm still lost in the widths and panels. I would check the level of your rod and the measurements of the panels, but if you do get a new rod, I would expect it to be custom. If you don't need the panels to draw across the window, I have seen wood closet rods painted, stained or covered with fabric and finials added. You would need 2 8 ft poles and multiple brackets.

  • athomeeileen

    10 widths would only be 2yds long each. That doesn’t make sense.

  • lisaam

    I agree, 20 yards of fabric didn't sound like a generous amount to work with on a wide window when it seems like you'd want maybe 2.5 yards to allow hem and header..

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