Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-06-2009, 06:19 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
obxgal's Avatar
 
1975 31' Excella 500
Amherst , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 60
Images: 6
AirDrapes 101

Recently I have had a chance to really examine closely some Airstream drapes (many thanx to BillTex!!) off of the windows and examine how they were made, and I thought I'd share a few observations. In a previous life I was an interior designer and owned a store with drapery workroom and have had extensive experience with window treatments. These are traditional pinch-pleats, but the difference of course is that the pleats parallel each other on the top AND the bottom edge. They are smaller pleats than normal, but the size of the pleat is determined by the material used (the sheerer the fabric, the more fabric you put in the pleat for a lux look, while you make a less full pleat in thicker fabrics to reduce bulk). By keeping the pleat scant, besides making them cheaper to produce, Airstream is keeping the folds smaller and therefore also the projection into the cabin will be smaller....and also, short windows call for shorter pleats to maintain the proportion!

Airstream used a rayon (dry-clean!) moire fabric (has a "water-marked" pattern) and lined them with Roc-lon (name brand) 100% cotton "Rain-no-Stain", which sheds water from condensation and is mildew-resistant (to a certain point). Inserted into the "heading" (the top and bottom edge that has the pleats) is a mid-weight "buckram" or stiffener to make the pleats stand stiffly and not fall over. There are clips that fit into the aluminum "runners" on the walls above and below the window. The clips are looped thru 1/2" elastic, and the elastic is sewn into the draperies in the flat section in between each pleat (machine stitched across the elastic for approx. 1/2") so that the plastic hook dangles toward the outside top or bottom edge. So from the "right side' of the draperies you can see the 1/2" of stitching horizontally in the space between pleats...but the thread is color-matched and it is not unsightly. When installing, you slide the pleats on the top and bottom (you unscrew the end caps at the ends of the rail to expose the end of the track) and the elastic will hold the drapes taut so they aren't slouching forward into the cabin, thus maximizing the shelf space that is usable, and also making the interior feel more spacious (a problem I have with roller blinds or curtains that are not "held back"...they eat up too much space spacially and visually!)

First, I'll address those of you that want to restore it in an original manner. The original moire was of rayon, which I would not do again! Rayons and cottons do not hold up well in sunlight, and the dyes will fade in stripes (the back sides of the pleats). You CAN find 100% poly moires that will give an identical look without the sunlight degradation and the shrinkage. Make sure you (or your fabricator) uses a poly non-woven buckram for stiffness, and a poly lining (you always want to match your lining to your face fabric. Keep your fullness scanty like Airstream did...no more than 2 to 1 fullness (width of area x 2 then pleats are divided evenly along the width) or mabe even 1.5x. Airstream did not make a compensation in the fact that the top drapery bracket will undoubtedly be wider than the bottom because of the curvature of the walls. If you want to be like the original, just make them straight. On the newer AS's (these drapes came from a 1989....14 years "younger" than my 1975 Excella) there were apparently snaps on the ends and velcros...but I have no such snaps on the ends for mine, so I don't know when that started. Look on your chassis if your trailer is newer than 1975 and judge for yourself if you will be using those.

For those of us not totally needing to be "original", I would definitely advise getting out and hunting down some of the gorgeous new polyesters available for drapery.....an independent drapery workroom can show you samples...especially the books made for commercial jobs (restaurants, stores) have patterns as vivid and beautiful as any cotton, but the advantage will be 98-99% resistance to the sun damage that fades and shreds the fibers of cottons or rayons. The large chain stores like Cotton Gin, Joanne's and such often have some great selections of poly fabrics. Match all the accessories in poly to (never mix! shrinkage will differ and the lining will shred from sun while the face fabric will look brand new...) You can mix the treatments and look a tad more updated...like romans on the straight windows and the pinch-pleats on the rounded windows...but use the same fabric to lend conhesiveness.

You can also think "outside the box" if you can sew...for example:


-There are beautiful newer pleats other than pinch pleats...butterflies, goblets, french, inverted, box ,etc.

-you could use quilts for "flat drape" panels, lined on the back, which would be fabulous for insulation

-You can make mylar panels which could be velcroed on and off of the back of your drapes/panels to insulate form heat and/or cold


-Get a book and read how to make a "top-down, bottom-up" roman blind which can be raised up or lowered from the top for privacy. (Those of you not familiar may have to re-read and chew on that one LOL) Make a tiny valance for the top to hide the rail.



-For those of you wishing for a lighter look, try blinds/roman/cellulars/skylight cells on the windows, and use stationary shirred or pleated panels on the rails around the curved walls for softening and better acoustics (I'm a music nut and the acoustics matter to me).

-Or put in mini-blinds and make the curtains all shirred sheers instead of drapes...you can buy shirring tape which pulls up with 2 to 5 strings to create beautiful shirred pattterns at top and bottom..you still push and pull them to open and close and still use the plastic doo-hickeys, but they'll always be evenly gathered (usually you have a 3x fullness with sheers).

-There are some marvelous metallic sheers for those of you into a more modern, aluminum look...from colored or neutral backgrounds with small bursts of metalica to more overall metallics...and get it in 100% poly, which most of them are made of anyway.

-You could make balloon shades with a very scant fullness (you DON"T want huge balloons billowing into your cabin, hitting on the back of your head LOL) Make the balloon shades in a lace and it'll look like sheers when down and valences when drawn up.


-There are companies that will put your photos or images on mini-blinds...or use their stock designs, which include anything from landscapes to sports scenes to galaxies ,etc. They can be very striking. I once saw a room that had a wall of windows done with scenes of a tropical rain forest...beautiful. Use Google search.

The only reason that I have stalled so long in figuring our what I want is the curvature..I LOVE my pull-up/pull-down skylight blinds in my Fun Finder TT, but the tracks obviously won't do on a curved wall. I kind of feel like the living room NEEDS the softness of the fabric, both accoustically and for the comfort factor (should knock off some chill and be cosier) BUT I dislike the dust retention. BUT then, remember that these new polys are very washable, so there's not reason you can't whip them off from time to time and wash 'em.


A member mentioned using the drapes with vertical blinds inside...but they will not operate if the bottom edge is attached to the bottom track...the material must allow the vanes to swivel in order to open and/or close...you could sew it across the bottom and use the clips, but then you couldn't open it up!


OK..so this is just a few things off the top of the head...all is extremely subjective and strictly MY personal opinion. Others will argue that cotton is perfectly fine, and I say that if you are there to keep the blinds open and shut as needed, they will last longer. But if you are in extreme sunlight/heat, the fabric will not stand up for long in a cotton. Humidity can make some cottons sag and/or shrink. I have seen the colors in cottons bleach out in as little as 5 years. I don't know about you, but I do NOT want to have to go thru this every five years!

Don't forget that you can also have custom bedspreads quilted up, make cushions for your chair, cushions for a booth, pillows, and many other coordinates to go along with whatever you decide on. You can also alter store-bought drapery, but that sometimes is more time-consuming than making new. if you are planning on sewing these yourself, I heartily advise you to make a sample panel...it is well worth it to ensure that you like the pleat size, the fullness, the way the fabric design looks when shirred, and the fit.


I just wanna find my comfort-zone, get it right, and look at it for the next 15-20 years!


Sorry..Rick and I have to run to the football game!
Susan
__________________

__________________
Susan & Rick in Virginia (OBXGal)
1975 Airstream Excella 500 31'
2005 Sun Cruiser Fun Finder X139-FK 13'
1978 Hilltopper Popup (really stanky)
Picturetrail.com/sdsteele
obxgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Melody Ranch's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,960
Images: 78
Send a message via Skype™ to Melody Ranch
thanks!!!

That was really great. I am doing two sets of drapes now....completely different. A set for the 47 and a set to replace the original 94. Now I have some ideas and guidance.
I like acoustic music too.
__________________

__________________
Melody Ranch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 06:24 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
mutcth's Avatar

 
2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,632
Thanks! That's excellent information. We're starting to delve into the "softer" side of things, looking at new cushion fabric and drapes. This is helpful.

Tom
__________________
mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 06:55 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Roadrunner's Avatar
 
1978 29' Ambassador
1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 669
Blog Entries: 7
Great information. New drapes are our winter project. Do you think a man can learn how to use a sewing machine and do this? Can you suggest any books giving step by step instructions. Would hate to sew my fingers into the drapes!

Bob
__________________
Roadrunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
bwoodtx's Avatar
 
1997 30' Excella
1961 26' Overlander
1954 22' Flying Cloud
1981 28' Airstream 280
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,365
sewing machine

Hey Bob,

When you learn how pass me some of your knowledge. Sewing is on my to do list for winter as well.

Bruce
__________________
bwoodtx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 11:02 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
RichHog's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,142
Images: 7
Drapes in Trade Wind

We purchase our fabrics through a decorator friend as we didn't like the fabrics offered through the RV channels. Then sent the fabric to JPA drapes who did the work. We also picked out a similar fabric for the partition wall and made that ourselves. We made a new Gaucho cushion with naughahide and replaced the orange formica with a new color that matched every thing. Six months after purchasing we have an original "modern" Tradewind. I call it original because we followed the original patterns and specs for drapes and formica but went with modern current designs. Also put real wood over or replaced the fake plastic woodgrain panels. That's a part of the 70's I could live without.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0770.jpg
Views:	163
Size:	92.3 KB
ID:	90493  
__________________
RichHog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 12:58 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
obxgal's Avatar
 
1975 31' Excella 500
Amherst , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 60
Images: 6
Bob and Bruce,
Sewing is definitely something you can do....if you are mechanically inclined and/or good with your hands! I have one male friend that makes re-enactment Confederate and Union uniforms! Those are HARD...true tailoring...and another that makes the tents for the re-enactments. If you think back, they used to call clothiers "tailors"..because they were male! This is not a craft that has gender barriers...but it does involve good mechanical skills (very similar to carpentry work..everything has to be measured and cut correctly so it will fit together, etc).

A book that might help is available thru Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Photo-Guide-Window-Treatments/dp/1589232941/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257617664&sr=8-1

She also makes one that has more photos if you are a visual person...and you get a price break if you buy both. Just do an Amazon search under "sewing window treatments".There are tons of do-it-yourself-drapery books....use the feature that lets you browse the books.

There are also some great books on roman blinds...they are basically flat panels that have eyelets attached at top and the strings run thru sewn-on plastic grommets to form the pleats as the strings are pulled...you can tether it to hardware on the side or hardware is now available that will "lock" the strings in place like on blinds (see supplier below).

Two things you will need are 1) a very large table to cut out...if you can set one up in the basement or shop with a piece of plywood etc. it will make this all much easier. Another option is to cover a pool table. Cutting on a dining table is a real challenge...doesnt mean it can't be done, but your back/patience will suffer. A lot of polyesters come 60-72" wide, and even folded over are wide and slippery to deal with...so go big and wide if you can....groveling on the floor is an option if you are young, but it's no longer my choice!

Second, you'll need a strong machine to handle the thickness of the pleats..the cheap plastic-geared machines of today cannot take the stress...if you know someone with a commercial machine that you can borrow or lease you'll find this much easier. Also the vintage Singer black machines (pre-1960) can usually handle the strain. If you decide not to have pleats in your design, you can use a standard machine...but buckram and layers of material are hard for small motors to plow thru.

Pleated draperies are nothing more than and outer fabric folded twice around all edges to enclose a lining materal (wider folds at top and bottom)with buckram folded as well into the top fold. You then carefully measure and mark the pleats, and make them at even intervals, sewing across them so they will stay put. The plastic AS hooks are also sewn on by machine after all is finished. The craftsmanship comes in measuring carefully so they won't sag or be too taut, choosing the right materials so they will hang and wear well, and choosing the right fullness for your particular fabric so it doesn't look TOO full nor too skiimpy. But hard?? NO...time-consuming, bulky to cut and handle, yes. Where the "hard" comes in are the top treatments...swags and complex treatments are another story. But unless ou have a good work space this can be a huge undertaking and it takes some time (a really good pressing location is a must also....or mpiseture-proof padding on your cutting table as you need it.). The good thing is that that AS drapery is not very long in length so each panel is not that hard to handle alone.

If you decide to tackle this, just write here and your post will show up in my mailbox. One of my favorite resources for supplies is rowleycompany.com. They are a family-owned business and very peasant to deal with. Once you tackle this, then you'll either love it or hate it, but it can save you tons of money in RV's or your home AND give you great satisfaction.
Susan

PS I have received a couple of emails today asking why I didn't say much about mini-blinds alone....I think they are just as bad as "dust-catchers" as fabric...and I hate cleaning them. Accoustically they can be cold and harsh...just not "enuf" alone to look pleasing to the eye alone...I like a combo with at least some fabric to break that harshness. JMO.
__________________
Susan & Rick in Virginia (OBXGal)
1975 Airstream Excella 500 31'
2005 Sun Cruiser Fun Finder X139-FK 13'
1978 Hilltopper Popup (really stanky)
Picturetrail.com/sdsteele
obxgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 07:26 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
2000 34' Limited S/O
Jamestown , North Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 374
Images: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichHog View Post
We purchase our fabrics through a decorator friend as we didn't like the fabrics offered through the RV channels. Then sent the fabric to JPA drapes who did the work. We also picked out a similar fabric for the partition wall and made that ourselves. We made a new Gaucho cushion with naughahide and replaced the orange formica with a new color that matched every thing. Six months after purchasing we have an original "modern" Tradewind. I call it original because we followed the original patterns and specs for drapes and formica but went with modern current designs. Also put real wood over or replaced the fake plastic woodgrain panels. That's a part of the 70's I could live without.

We are renovating a 2000 34 Limiteed Sofa SO and chose our fabrics as well and sent them to JPA Drapes. They are being shipped to us right now and we are looking forward to seeing them up.
__________________
2000 34' Limited with Sofa Slide
06 Dodge 3500 Cummins Turbodiesel 4X4 Quad Cab Hensley Hitch Pressure Pro Centramatics
WBCCI #4358
tslanier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 07:40 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Roadrunner's Avatar
 
1978 29' Ambassador
1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 669
Blog Entries: 7
Well Bruce...looks like Susan has given us a challenge. I'll keep you posted on our progress. For now, I'm looking for drapery fabric.

Susan...what is buckram? I assume we should be looking for polyester material to reduce fading. Thanks so much for the encouragement and information. It is very helpful.

Bob
__________________
Roadrunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2009, 11:37 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
 
obxgal's Avatar
 
1975 31' Excella 500
Amherst , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 60
Images: 6
Bob, buckram is the strip of stiffener that goes in the "header"...you lay out the face material, lay your lining on top (wrong sides together), then pin this strip along the top edge. You then fold over the top edge twice toward the lining side, forming a thickened and stiffened top edge ready for pleats. Press it in place and pin lightly. Mark your pleat spacing. When you sew down the pleats, it will also hold this "roll" of fabrics down. If you are thinking poly for your fabrics, be sure to get a non-woven washable buckram as well...if you use an old-style starched-cotton type, it won't wash well.

By the way, barnes and Noble and such usually have a pretty good selection of drapery sewing books..look in the back right in the craft/sewing/jewelry section.
Susan
__________________
Susan & Rick in Virginia (OBXGal)
1975 Airstream Excella 500 31'
2005 Sun Cruiser Fun Finder X139-FK 13'
1978 Hilltopper Popup (really stanky)
Picturetrail.com/sdsteele
obxgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 03:52 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
Diego's Avatar
 
2018 28' Flying Cloud
Westfield , Indiana
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 132
Minuet drapery clips

We just brought home a 6.0 Minuet yesterday (!!!!) and are planning on making some updates. My husband is doing the mechanical and I'm doing the decorative. I am wondering if rowleycompany.com sells the little drapery clips that obxgal is talking about that are sewn in across the top and bottom of the pinch pleated drapery panels and then slid on the rod. Several of ours are broken. Thanks so much for the info!
__________________
Diego is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 05:57 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
obxgal's Avatar
 
1975 31' Excella 500
Amherst , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 60
Images: 6
Clips for AS drapeery

Diego,
I doubt that Rowley has these clips, but you can call and see (they have a web page). They are mainly about the traditional supplies...buckram, interlinings, linings, etc

If you do search you'll find tons of resources for the clips in other threads.
Susan
__________________
Susan & Rick in Virginia (OBXGal)
1975 Airstream Excella 500 31'
2005 Sun Cruiser Fun Finder X139-FK 13'
1978 Hilltopper Popup (really stanky)
Picturetrail.com/sdsteele
obxgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2009, 08:07 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
mutcth's Avatar

 
2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diego View Post
We just brought home a 6.0 Minuet yesterday (!!!!)
Congrats on the new trailer - hope you join in on the Minuet owners thread in the Argosy forum. They're great little trailers.

We bought drape slide clips from Vintage Trailer Supply.

Tom
__________________
mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2009, 08:15 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
RichHog's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,142
Images: 7
Curtains Tabs

check with Vintage Trailer Supply, they have them:

Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies!


R
__________________

__________________
RichHog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
blinds, decor, drapery, shades, window treatments


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Airstream 101 rslaymaker Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 43 06-15-2009 06:28 PM
Rivet 101 Northerngal Ribs, Skins & Rivets 36 05-26-2008 09:16 PM
Tires 101 Jim & Susan Tires 18 11-22-2007 10:36 PM
AC Maintenance 101......... enduroryda Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 18 08-21-2006 01:55 AM
Need help with Airstreamforums 101 !!! John Our Community 9 12-07-2002 01:55 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.