DIY Network

How To Make a Swag and Jabot

This elegant swag-and-jabot window treatment requires a minimum of sewing.

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swag and jabot window treatment transforms room

Step 1: Create a Swag Pattern

To make a swag-and-jabot window treatment, first create a muslin pattern custom-fitted to your window. To make a pattern for the swag, cut a piece of muslin in a trapezoidal shape. Cut the narrow end of the fabric to the width of the window (this end will be attached to a narrow board at the top of the window). To determine the width of the bottom of the fabric that will form the bottom of the swag, hold a piece of string across the window frame, allowing it to drape as you'd like the bottom of the swag to drape. The bottom of the muslin pattern may be cut straight or curved.

hold piece of string across window frame for swag

Step 2: Cut and Adjust the Fabric for the Swag

With the top and bottom measurements of the swag determined, cut the fabric to a length of 36". The length of the fabric may change, but start with a piece this long and go from there. Divide the muslin horizontally into five equal sections and mark with a pencil or a marker (Image 1). Use pushpins to pin the top of the fabric to a cutting board or ironing board. Fold and pin the fabric into horizontal pleats along the guidelines, adjusting the drape as you go (Image 2). Adjust the pattern as necessary, changing the length of the fabric and the pleat width to get a look you like.

Step 3: Sew the Fabric for the Swag

When you're satisfied with the pleats, drape and length of the swag, unpin the muslin, and use it as a pattern to cut the decorator fabric. Always cut the fabric on the bias to give it a bit of stretch to help it drape nicely. To find the bias, place the muslin at a 45-degree angle (or use a clear plastic ruler to find the angle). Cut the lining fabric in the same manner as you did the swag fabric. Sew together, leaving the top open. Turn, pleat, and sew the top on the right side (it will be toward the ceiling), using a zigzag stitch or a serger.

Step 4: Make the Jabot Pattern

Jabots are the fabric panels that cascade down each side of the window in pleats. The jabots are mounted over a center swag on a narrow board cut to the width of the window, which is mounted above the window. The jabot's measurements will depend on the window size and how much lining you wish to show. Be sure to allow enough fabric at the top for the return -- the part that follows the wood back to the wall and gives the treatment a finished look. The jabot pattern is odd-shaped, best described as a modified triangle with the two points squared off.

jabot is modified triangle with two points squared

Step 5: Arrange the Fabric for the Jabot

The fabric is arranged on the work surface with the long edge that will form the right edge of the jabot at the top. Mark a horizontal line on the fabric along the top edge for the fabric that will follow the wood board back to the wall. Beginning at a point below the line, start folding the fabric back in equal-width pleats. You can eyeball the pleats, keeping in mind that the lining will show at the bottom of each.

fold fabric back in equal width pleats

Step 6: Sew the Fabric for the Jabot

When the jabot pattern is pleated to your satisfaction, unfold it, and cut the decorator fabric and lining by it. Sew the pieces together, pleat, and stitch down along the top edge of the fabric with a serger or zigzag stitch.

Step 7: Install the Window Treatment

To install the swag and jabot, you'll need a narrow board cut to the width of the window. Wrap the board in fabric, as if wrapping a gift, and staple. Attach the swag to the board, using a staple gun. Fold the jabot return about 1/2" in from the side of the board. Then staple the top of the jabot to the front of the board, on top of the swag.

fold jabot return and staple top to front of board