Bay behind an Arch

Hi all, Elsie here.

                                  So a bit back I touched on bay windows but this time I would like to dive a bit further into this lovely little architectural oddity that you don’t see very often. Looks good I know but it can cause some difficulties when you want to dress it.

The Bay Window sat behind an arch.

                                Some people get quite excited when they sees these lovely windows. They often come with additional plaster detail, sometimes sash windows and occasionally stained glass.  On first inspection they appear lovely but then we have to get practical. Warmth, privacy, functionality and oh you don’t want to hide any of the bits you like about the window.

More often than not one or more compromises have to be made for a dressing to work in these beauties for one reason or another. I have never seen two the same, each one is individual and has its own little quirks so each one has to be attacked differently. However I can go through some of the common issues that may arise to help you along the way.


This shows clearly a couple of issues that this style of window come with.

  • Sill extending further than bay recess.
  • Window frame up to back edge of arch.
  • Deep sill.
  • Picture rail within recess.
  • Arched fascia wall onto ceiling.


First lets tackle the sill shall we ?

The sill (especially in the image above) coupled with the arched section of wall onto ceiling makes it infeasible to have a full length curtain within the bay.  This is not always the case, in some situations there is a very narrow sill or none at all.                                                             A face fixed pelmet enables under-slung tracking so that pinch pleats can be used to stack as far back as possible. This however may not be preferable if a pelmet ends up covering stained glass that you want to remain on view (depth permitting).

If a pelmet is undesirable then a plastic tracking system can be used (Sologlyde) I find is the best (my preferred option).


The downside is only pencil pleat can really be used with this rail, giving a more “casual” look and bulky when open. This heading will encroach further onto the glass at the sides than pinch. Sologlyde is best I feel for pencil due to the style of hook. This hook keeps the heading as neat as can be and stops it tipping forward due to it being on the fascia of the rail and not under-slung.

In this type of bay pelmet returns may also be tricky depending on window frame positioning etc. The most narrow style of pelmet is a “Lath” where the pinch is on view under the pelmet  and is traditionally put onto a Silvo metal rail. Pre bent made to measure rails can also be used but are a more costly option over Silvo. Silent Gliss and Evans are great companies to look at for made to measure rails.


Silvo rail

Pelmets can help you clear protruding window frames.

It is also possible to attach tracking systems to some window frames (style depending).

All things like picture rails and cove can effect positioning of any fittings so therefore must be taken into account.

“Gapping” can occur with curtains and blinds. Curtains can sometimes be hooked onto the wall on a return (depending on space) but this is not the case with blinds. If there is not a return wall to block it, there will be gaps on the outside edges of the extreme right and left blinds. This is due to the projection of the blind rails coupled with the acute angel of the arch coming across. This may cause you to be able to see out the window even when blind is down.

You can combat “gapping” or at least reduce it by having dress or functional curtains across the front of the arch. These can be on poles, rails, under pelmets depending on space allowance and / or individual preference.

It may be that dressing the front (across the arch) and staying out of the recess completely is a preferred course of action. Poles are sometimes possible, Silent Gliss Metroploes are great in limited space and can allow for wave as well as Pinch pleat headings. You can also shape a pelmet to follow the arch, therefore retaining the shape even when the curtains are closed. This can make a lovely feature. You do lose the bay when the curtains are closed however.


There are even possibilities for a curtain treatment to close across the bay but to sit directly behind the arch, which looks wonderful if there is an architectural feature on the arch itself.

There are so many variations on this style window. They must all be approached from a technical aspect first due to their many varying complexities. Only then can a designer begin to dress them in stylish and sympathetic way.


I hope this has been a helpful guide to starting you on your way to dressing what is a lovely architectural feature. I would recommend that if you have one of these windows that you seek guidance that is specific to your window. You can go to for help or message me here?

As time goes by I may add more examples of this wonderful window dressed. Keep your eyes peeled ?

Thank you for reading .

Kind Regards

Elsie Wolfe


How To Hang Curtains Properly (in my opinion)

Hi all. E.D.Wolfe here signing in.

What I have to say next is purely my opinion and I do not want to offend those who do what I consider to be BIG curtain no no’s .

May I also add that personal aesthetics play a big part in this and one persons mess is another persons “pièce de resistance” . So at the risk of offending her we go.


1. Pinch pleat pushovers.

Time and time again I see these lovely headed curtains hung disastrously wrong.

Curtains hung incorrectly.

Pinch pleat Curtains hung incorrectly.

Pinch pleat curtains hung correctly.

Pinch pleat curtains hung correctly.

Swaffer Silk

To me it is completely obvious why the first is wrong and the second is correct but let me make it clearer.

The flat section between the pleats is meant to fold under and away so the curtain hangs neatly and pulls off the window well. If the curtain is not hung this way it has a propensity for the hooks to pop out of the eyelets / runners. Also have you noticed that in the first image the spaces flipping forward ? This ruins the look of the pinches, they are almost completely lost. This is before I begin to mention the fact that it can (especially with heavy fabrics) cause the bucrum (stiffener) to buckle and destroy the pleats entirely. I have even seen the fabric on the back of pleats rip because of the pressure caused by them hanging like this and the friction from them rubbing on the rail.

2. Hung out to dry.

OK this is very tricky.

Where to finish a curtain? At the end of the day the choice is yours. However please let me guide you a little.

Full length curtains should either skim the floor, be 1/4″ off, kick 3 / 6 inches onto the floor or pool 10″ and over.

IMG_1198 IMG_1453

Pooled and kicked are shown above skimming and 1/4 ” off are obvious.

Too many times have I seen curtains kinked on the floor or horribly half mast. I am also not a fan of the skirting board length it is neither here nor there.

Curtains kinking on floor.

Curtains kinking on floor.

Skirting board length curtains.

Skirting board length curtains. Yuck.

3. Pole placement.

This can be hard but I have a basic rule that has served me well for 20yrs.

The pole (if space will allow) should be positioned so that the base of the gather is in line with or above the top of the window. I am fully aware this is not always possible and is an ideal. This is a guide.

Personally I find it a touch strange, (for the reasons of balance), for a pole to be put right up near the cove no matter how much space there is. I feel it can cause the balance of the window to be thrown, especially if the wall space above the window is big. I will let you be the judge.

contemporary-curtains Too High I feel.

506b3044d9127e30fc001923._w.1500_s.fit_ Difficult situation.

These curtains are correct, the designer has had no option but to position the pole so high because of the restrictions placed upon them of the one window being a lot higher than the french doors. I feel it is obvious the poles look better if at the same hight, despite the difference. However can you imagine how horrid this would look if there was no second window? If in fact the french doors were on their own. then the pole position would be completely wrong. See the bay above?

Positioning a pole too low can be bad alsobeautiful-curtain-which-brings-many-benefits-luxury-curtain-920x1057

In a bedroom it is particularly bad and can cause increased light leakage.

Another personal pet hate is pooling Eyelet headed curtains. Some designers do it and that is fine and up to them but the reasons I have for not pooling Eyelet curtains are, I feel, valid ones.

1.Eyelets are in there design created to be neat and crisp in their folds, a pool destroys this look.

2.They are not as full as your average curtain so a nice rich pool is unattainable due to lack of fabric in the width.

4. Blind botch job.

I know I have already done an entire blog on blinds but this gives me a chance to point out a situation repeated again and again.

Why oh why do people insist on fitting blinds that you can see down the back of due to the big gap left because of the positioning of the item or the type of window?

6188432223_32cb805d96_z NO

002 YES

Bay-watch NO







Can you see it ? In a box bay I would not recommend a blind where the bay did not have a section of wall or frame that hid the end of the blind. It looks unsightly and light can leak. Not to mention a potential security risk.

On a splay bay I would recommend traditional battens so that they could be tapered at the sides to fit closer to the outside edge of wall reducing the gap and projection.

On windows where it was possible a dress curtain can provide coverage to hide this end section of blind.

5.Why did they do that?

My final curtain catastrophe has no images (thankfully) . It is the designer who has not got the foggiest what they are doing but professes to know all. The designer who can barely hold a tape measure. The designer who makes a recommendation without checking or knowing 1. if it will fit and 2. if it will work. The designer with lots of ideas and zero technical knowledge to apply it with. The designer who does not fully inform their client of the ins and outs of the possibilities and look of the finished product so they can make an informed choice. And finally the designer who passes off another designers hard work for their own. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. STOP IT.

(No offence was intended in this blog, I apologise if any has been caused, these are only my opinions and musings)

Thanks again for reading. If you have any window treatment problems please either email me or leave a comment (pictures may help).


THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.


Quantifying Fabric For Curtains

FGoblet pleat”One of my strongest convictions and one of the first canons of good taste, is that our houses, like the fish`s shell and the birds nest ought to represent our individual taste and habits.”

Mary Hawies

The comments above were made by Mary Eliza Haweis she is best known as an important figure in the female literature of household taste that flourished in the 1880s, her most famous work being “The Art of Decoration” (1881). I feel her comments still stand firm today { a point that some designers in the industry need to be reminded of}.

I am E.D.Wolfe interior decorator / designer, technical expert and soft furnishings specialist with 20 years experience in the public sector of the wonderful world of interiors and home decoration. Needless to say I feel I have a lot to say about the industry, trends and who is doing what and how well.

I have started this blog for several reasons mostly because I have more family commitments and can no longer work the hours required by demanding employers and clients, as well as not wanting to work for other people and having to adopt their ethos which did not always coincide with mine. This often has got me and my big mouth into trouble until I finally evolved to the stage that I would bite my tongue. So many times my point of view clashed with the powers that be. I hated having to put profit and loss before the design or the clients needs . Frustrating is an understatement.

I found the only advice I felt completely free to give was when I was giving it freely {without payment}. I have therefore begun this blog to pass on my experience and advice to whomever needs it.

You can glean from it what you will without fear that I am trying to sell you something.

Hopefully I can stop people making huge mistakes, helping them with a problem or advising them how to tackle an issue. Not to mention how to avoid being screwed over by the greedy and inexperienced in the industry.

{ how not to line the owners pockets with money furnished by reselling the off cuts you have rightfully paid for}

This can be simply avoided by understanding how fabric quantities are worked out.
DO NOT WORRY. It does not a mathematician take. I barely scraped a C in GCSE maths {with help} and even I can do it.

It is kind of like hanging wallpaper if you have ever tried this . You will notice depending on height of wall, size of pattern repeat and how this comes together the size of the off cuts {waste} will vary.

Hopefully the images I have provided will also help.

cutting repeat

Information Needed.
1. What are you making
2 Pole / rail size and finished length of product when hanging.
3 How many drops of cloth are needed
4 What is the pattern repeat. {this info is readily available in books, on samples or by the
cloth manufacturers, all else fails and you have a piece then measure it vertically}

For arguments I am going to work out a basic pair of pencil pleat {normal gather} curtains.
We will work in cms for simplicity. But please work in inches if you find that easier {I do}

Pole = 2mtrs
Finished length = 2mtrs

Pencil pleats normally work on between 2 to 2 1/2 x the fullness.
I like a fuller curtain personally.

200cm x 2.5 = 500 cms

Now fabric is normally 137 cms wide this is the width of a roll. The bit of fabric along the edges that sometimes has only writing on is called a selvedge {try not to get caught out with the speech, it can sound like a whole different language but it is not and some try to use this language to confuse, as well as make themselves look clever and occasionally to make you feel not as clever . I only used it when someone annoyed me and looked at me as if to say what does she know. (Joke)

selve edgeexamples of selvedges.

So we know we need 500cms across the pole for a nice full curtain so lets see how many drops that is? 500 divided by 137 = 3.64 Oh know I hear you cry. Do not panic. You have a choice you can go for 3 which is just about 2 x full or 4 which is 2.74 x full. I would advise 4 on a flat window and 3 on a bay {less room in a bay}. But it is completely up to you, also if it is a thick cloth stick to the 3.

4 DROPS THEN. So that is a pair of curtains with two widths in each curtain.

The Pattern is 64 cm {most are this or 30cm give or take}



200cm FINISHED so you will need a bit extra for hems {bottom} and turns {top}.
I used to work on 22 cm {9 inch} in total. It does vary from company to company.
Some use a little more and some a little less.

SO 200 + 22 = 222 now how many patterns fit into this?


4 pattern repeats at 64 = 256 cm {This is your CUT}

4 drops at 256 cm = 10.3 mtrs. This is how much cloth you need. Any seamstress or company trying to add a repeat on every drop should be professional shot.
Extreme I know but this is a wasteful way of doing things and costs you a lot more.

If the pattern has something on that you want to start in a particular place you will need to add a repeat if you are ordering it in, if on the roll just take a look and start in and pay for the bit extra you need to do so.

With this example you end up with approx 34 cm waste . Not a lot I hear you say. Not on this occasion but sometimes you can end up with enough waste for cushions and they are better off being your cushions than someone else’s who has bought the off cut re sold at 100% profit by the people who made your curtains.



I know there are many other styles and types of curtains but this is the basic. Please do message on problem chat if you have style not mentioned or detail not outlined and we will endeavour to help you. The chart below details basic curtain styles and the recommended fullness.

Pencil = 2 – 2.5

pencil pleat heading

Pinch (this can be 2 or 3 pleats) = 2.5 – 3


Goblet = 2.5 – 3


Eyelet = 1.5 – 2


These estimations are all based on hand sewn pleats and not tapes, please use the tape manufacturers guidelines.

BLINDS, BLINDS, BLINDS. All about blinds in the next post, keep a look out?

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