What Are Jabot Curtains and Are They Right for Your Windows?


10 September, 2019 |

You should see jabot curtains as windows of opportunity. These decorative pieces are there to frame your window so that the natural light can still come streaming in.

Also known as cascades or tails, jabots have often been used to hide the seams between individual swags. Swags are the festoons which will gently grace the top of a window.

Jabot curtains were favored by Elvis Presley and have even adorned the windows of the White House. Here’s why they’ve become a popular choice for curtain-lovers.

Swag and Jabot Curtains

A basic swag offers the right mixture of elegance and simplicity. It consists of one graceful swoop of fabric draped over a pole at the top of a window frame. It could be hung from a stiff valance or pelmet.

Purely decorative, a swag manages to soften the window geometry. Simple swags may carry a short fringe or they might be left untrimmed.

When the fabric also cascades down the sides of the windows, the tails are known as jabots. Swags or swag-and-jabot combinations can be either formal or informal. The look you’re trying to create will be determined by your choice of fabric and trim.

Jabot curtains are not designed to create privacy. This is because they cannot be drawn. Traditionally they’ve been used as a stand-alone treatment. They may act as a complementary decoration over a pair of curtain panels or shades, for example.

Different Styles

Some jabot curtains are designed in a triangular shape. These are made with a short inside length that angles down the window to the longer outside edge.

Jabots are often used as kitchen curtains to achieve a particular look. Jabot curtains are typically sold as a pair in two pieces.

Symmetrical jabots with coordinating fringe add texture. They can also help dress up a very ordinary or functional room such as the kitchen. Installing a swag treatment with decorative finials above each jabot is a great designer touch.

Toile fabric can add a superb, traditional feel to space. It might appear a little fussy at first but you will fall in love with it in the end.

Transform your bathroom’s look from hard to soft by adding luxurious fabric. Your swag and jabot curtains can then become the focal point of this important room. It can highlight your bathroom’s key features such as a freestanding tub or chandelier.

Traditionally, the public rooms of Georgian houses had uncomplicated swags. These let the sumptuous fabrics speak for themselves. In the Federal era, when lightness and elegance emerged, simple dressings still came with delicate tassels and fringes.

Fringes for Swag and Jabots

Some swag and jabots will have a fringe. This can focus the attention on the ceiling height. Long, heavy fringes can soften the appearance of a room. Fabric, glass or even wood can be used to make the fringe.

You might want to consider taking the side jabots right down to the floor. This then lets them balloon at the bottom and creates a rich and elegant look. You could use a heavily lined golden silk to make a big impression.

Painting your walls in the exact same color as your window treatments can be very effective. It means the eye will focus on all the textures rather than only on the style.

Grand and Simple Swags

Grandeur and elegance can be achieved in large rooms with an abundance of swags and jabots. You could just apply the treatments to windows that are above your eye level. This places the focus on the ceiling’s height as well as the ceiling itself.

If you have high windows set over lower windows, try adding window treatments to the top ones only for an unexpected look.

You may prefer a simpler, decorative kind of style. The simple swag is created by hanging fabric loosely across the top of a window and allowing the bottom to sag or droop.

This can create soft, horizontal scallop-like shapes. The accompanying jabot provides the vertical portion of the fabric. This flanks the swag as a detail, either as a panel or placed symmetrically throughout.

A formal swag and jabot treatment can be downplayed by a decorative bamboo rod. The rod gives a playful twist to a serious treatment.

His and Her Swag and Jabots

Dress up a masculine den or office by adding a coordinating swag and jabot treatment over a full-length drapery panel. A heavy accent fringe will feel plush and formless but remain masculine.

You could flank the window of a girl’s bedroom in a whimsical way to make a feminine and warm window treatment that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Go for soft and light colors such as pinks and orange.

Buying or Making Your Own Jabot Curtains

There are lots of benefits to custom window treatments. Making jabot curtains can be complicated because of the pleats and extra details needed.

Swags and jabots are often made up of knife pleats turned outward. Jabots are typically nine to fifteen inches wide and taper upwards in the inner edge.

They are placed on the outsides of window treatments as a mirror image. Jabots can be sewn in many styles from simple squares to rectangles, or wedges. They tend to be fully lined with the same fabric or a piece of accent fabric.

Jabots can be mounted on a board or a pole depending on the window treatment. When making a jabot you set the style of pleats and gathers. There are no set rules so your creativity has no limits.

The most import factor is to keep the proportions of your window in mind. Whether they’re used to soften a room or to add character, swags and jabots will add distinctive style to any window in your home.

Elegant Treatments for Any Room

The beauty of jabot curtains is that they can work in virtually any room. They come in versatile styles from lavish and rich to light and breezy.

Find out here about how much yardage is needed, along with the length and width for swags and jabots.

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