Window treatment follow-up: I found pinch pleat panels!

Lots of you chimed in with some good suggestions on my mid-century window treatment dilemma post. Thank you! By the weekend, we had pretty much decided on stationary pinch pleat panels off to the sides of the windows, with 2″ blinds set into each window. (A big thanks to Ginny and Barbara for their comments about the weight implications of one big long set of blinds, which isn’t something I would have considered.)

Then this weekend we went to an antique mall in the suburbs and I walked out with two matching vintage pinch pleat barkcloth panels for $12 each. That sealed the deal. Considering eBay and Etsy often turn up panels for over a hundred dollars, and later the same day I saw a set for $300 (granted in much better condition and cowboys, swoon), I thought $12 a panel was a steal!

Other than the green, the colors are perfect for our living room. A dark charcoal grey, a blue-gray that’s literally almost the same color as our walls, and a light pink.

They are definitely not in perfect condition. There’s some yellowing on a few crease lines, and a fairly big yellow spot on one of them. But considered they’re on a white background it’s surprising they don’t look worse. And when I held them up to the window I honestly could barely tell. I guess I found a way I can actually be thankful we don’t get too much natural light in that room. Ha!

The panels are 24″ wide at the top and the pleats are sewn into position, so there’s no tape across the back. I’m not sure exactly where I’d put drapery hooks, so I’ll have to investigate a bit. The length is 75″ which isn’t super long, but long enough to cover the entire window and a bit more. And with just two small stationary panels to worry about, I can always switch them out easily in the future if we want something more formal length or just want something a bit different.

Here’s the bonus: a third panel that almost matches! It was in worse condition (including 3 holes), but there’s still tons of salvageable fabric. What’s charcoal gray on the other panels is actually brown on this one, and you can see the pink is brighter. I see matching pillows in our future!

I thought initially that maybe someone tried to clean the other two panels too many times and the colors faded, but they didn’t bother with this one since it had holes. But when you look at the selvage on the inside, the writing is darker on the two matching panels and much more faded on the panel with the brown and brighter pink. Also, the sort of twig-like part of the pattern is more faded on the one with brown, too. That panel is also 2″ shorter than the other two. So I wonder if someone really loved the print and had two slightly different versions featured in two different rooms or areas of the same room. Forever a mystery, I suppose.

It took awhile to make out the wording on the selvage, but it says Gold Tublables (Tullables?) Everglaze / Mayan Pattern / Guaranteed to be Vat Prints. “Gold Everglaze” made me think there was originally some gold on these panels. And a bit of sleuthing turned up what our Mayan Pattern drapes (or at least the one with brown and brighter pink) probably looked like in all their original glory!

{source: sold listing on Etsy}

I almost wish I hadn’t looked that up, it’s so amazing! Oh, for that gold “everglaze” now…

But I’m still thrilled with our find! Even though our panels aren’t as bright as they were once upon a time, it makes me happy to know that some woman before me had these drapes hanging in her home and lovingly washed and cared for them over the years.

And now, it’s my turn!

Filed: The Golly Ranch House

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Golly, 34 Comments!

  • I so glad you checked out some already made drapes. Like I said in your other post, I find them all the time.

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  • YAY!! That IS a good price for those drapes; I’m glad you found something that works. I have some (plain) ones like that (no tape on the back) and just stuck the ‘hook’ into the pinch at the back of the pleat and they hang fine. Looking forward to seeing your room come together!

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  • That is a serious score! Barkcloth alone is big $$, plus it’s in the right color and size you were looking for. Congrats!

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  • Lovely finds and for a great price!!!
    I have a lot of these panels NOS, we found a german seller in a flea market who was selling hundreds panels NOS from the 50′s to the 70′s. We bought all the atomic ones for 1 euro per panel!!! But the rooms of our home are high so they were too short to be used… so they now are in a suitcase waiting for a special project…

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  • OOoh, those are so great! They’re going to look fabulous, and you’re right – matching pillows! SO FUN!

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  • Can you believe it, I never thought to look for drapes at antique stores. Seems like every time we move all the windows are different sizes and I have to go out and find new window treatments! Love the print–must have been kismet that it went with your decor!

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  • That print is SO fun!!! Great find! I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to grab some gold shimmer acrylic paint and a little brush and add some of that “glaze” back to the fabric! That might be quite the adventurous project though. Maybe on just the throw pillows would be a little less ambitious, and just as satisfying :)

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    • What a great idea!! I looked really closely and could actually see where it used to be gold. I’m really tempted to try this on one of the bad parts of the third panel, maybe to do it on a pillow if it worked out!

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  • What a lucky find! I love the pattern. When you have panels with the pleats stitched in like this, you normally use pinch pleat/pin hooks like these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Levolor-Kirsch-A7004214914-2-Inch-Length/dp/B00004Z0GH/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1358193387&sr=8-6&keywords=pinch+pleat+hooks

    The pin end inserts upwards into the fabric of the curtain, just to the side of the stitched pleat on the back. You then hook the blunt end into the eyelet on the bottom of a curtain ring or track runner, or you can just hook them directly over a narrow rod. If you want the top perfectly rigid you can put screw-in eyelets into a wooden baton mounted on the wall and hook them into those.

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  • Great find! I meant to comment on your earlier post about window treatments — as we are going through a similar dilemma ourselves — but the week was too busy and it got away from me. How great to see you’ve already sovled it! We recently bought some vintage-style 2″ blinds with cloth tape for the bedroom and it’s amazing what new blinds — and period inspired ones — do for a room. We’re planning to do them on the rest of the windows now, and are hoping to do pinch pleat barkcloth drapes as well. But god are they expensive! You got soem great ones there at a real steal! Congratulations!

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    • I saw your blinds on Instagram, yay! I’d love to see more! I never dreamed I’d have a barkcloth score. Of course we still have four more rooms of window treatments to go. Ha ha. We’ll probably be doing this same idea in them, but I think shorter drapes in the bedrooms and den. Maybe then I might get lucky with one long panel, where I could cut it in half and make it into two. Or at the very least they’d use much less fabric if I start from scratch! I had no idea window treatments would be such a production.

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    • It IS crazy how something we sort of ignore like window treatments, really take some much time, money thought and effort to get right. I will never take a well-done window for granted ever again now!

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  • Even faded, they still look great. And, if they weren’t faded, perhaps the colors might not be right for your current room? A win all around.

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  • Ooh, they are so beautiful! And $12 a panel, you can’t beat that with a stick :) I think holding out was totally worth the wait, yeah!

    As far as hanging them – I have pinch pleats that are similar, no tape in the back. I asked the lady at my local fabric store, and she sold me a huge mess of the hooks and said you’re just supposed to shove one end into the pleat. The end is pointed, for stabbing purposes. Then you hang them on rings… or you can be lazy/cheap like me and hang them directly on the rod if you don’t plan on sliding them around, like, ever. If this doesn’t make sense, I can email you a picture of what I’m talking about :) I’m also happy to send you the hooks if you can’t find them locally – I think they’re like .10 apiece here :)

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    • Thanks Lauren! I figure for the yardage in each alone that’s quite a score! I couldn’t even buy barkcloth yardage new for anywhere near that price.

      I may end up doing just what you said with the hooks since they’ll never be moved. Thanks for the offer, I’ll let you know if I can’t find any hooks! :)

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  • They look fab! and $12 is a steal

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  • Woo hoo!!! That fabric is incredible – even without the gilding! I can’t wait to see how the room comes together!

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  • Hey Tasha,

    I think you should really put them on a rod just like in photo #2 in your last post. Hang ‘em just like they do in that photo…

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  • That would be “tubbables”- which means the lucky housewife could wash her own drapes (and probably crank them through a mangle)and not have to call in the professionals for spring-cleaning …

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  • Yay!! What a fantastic find! I love the print and the colours and can’t wait to see the room in all its glory :)

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  • So glad you found something so perfect! I found yardage of vintage barkcloth about a year ago at a thrift store for a steal, I was going to sell it in my etsy shop but am not sure I can do it! There is something like 20 yards and if ever in the future I wanted curtains like those I would probably never be able to find something similar again, especially for the price. I don’t own a home but am hopeful that one day I will.

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  • Great find – what a bargain! The selvedge text would be “tubbable”, i.e. washable :)

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

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  • As far as the spots go, you can try some vinegar in the wash. It won’t damage the fabric and gets a whole slew of icky stuff out. I use it on my shower curtain and it’s amazing!

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  • Oh, yay! YAY! Those are very pretty and $12 is a bargain. I don’t think the color fading is bad, either, it just looks like a paler version of the original print (as opposed to some of the sun-damaged, “oh my Goodness what happened to these” vintage drapes I’ve seen for waaay more than $12 at sales before). Can’t wait to see them hung and ready to shine!

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  • Those are a great find and solution to your last post – I would do one big blind (I’ve seen 3 used and there is always the little gap between them and they may not all be open the same way tilt wise, but if you do – make sure the seem is between the windows so you don’t see it through the window) or sheers with those pinch pleats at the end. Since you don’t want to traverse due to hiding too much of the window when they are open/stackback you were wondering about what kind of rod – you can use 2 small normal white curtain rods on each side – no need to span the whole window – and the hooks will hook right over the rod and slide too if necessary.

    Many drapes were pinch pleat back when and they didn’t always put them on traverse – sometimes just a hook on a rod, normally when they had roller blind or something underneath and they wouldn’t really be opening and closing the drapes.

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  • Those curtains were great find! It is always amazing when something you have recently thrifted can be found on the internet aswell. Knowing the background and history of items sort of adds to the value, I think.
    Even though it’s a shame that the gold is worn out, sometimes the colours look better when they are a bit washed out.

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  • Oooohhhh, the window covering gods (goddesses? surely they’d be the ones overseeing home decor! :D) were on your side that day. To think that you found these panels for a mere $12, that is absolutely incredible! I’m thrilled that you guys found a solution – and such a charmingly cute novelty print filled one to boot.

    ♥ Jessica

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