Swag window treatments are luxurious and traditional, thanks to the generous amount of fabric that they use. But what are swag window treatments? Swags are pieces of fabric that are allowed to fall in a drooping, half-circle shape. They’re created with excess amounts of fabric that’s usually pleated, shirred, or gathered. Swags are most commonly found in valances, although they’re often part of draperies as well. Let’s take a look at some window treatment examples with swags.
The 3 Commonly Found Swag Styles
I don’t want to get too technical here and bore you with the workroom details, but swags are typically constructed as either gathered, pleated, or shirred swags. Each of these options can make swags that are draping very differently.
These swags are usually gathered loosely on a curtain rod, as desired. There is no set spacing in between the folds of the swag in this case since you get to gather and adjust the valance the way you’d like. This also makes the valance less formal and gives it less of a clean, polished look. Although, some gathered swags can be board-mounted. The workroom will have to be more diligent in how to gather the folds as this adjustment is permanent and cannot be adjusted later on.
Pleated swags are formal. Here, the pleats are spaced out, allowing for deep, pronounced folds to be formed. When the valance is mounted on a board, these swags appear to fall from behind the top of the board, creating a waterfall effect. The Empire valance is one of the best known examples of a pleated swag valance, as shown in the black and white toile valance.
Swags typically have a bell, or trumpet, separating the swags. When there are none, criss cross swags are usually created to overcome the gap.
Swags are usually framed by long jabots (or tails) on each side. When these jabots are cut in a zig-zag, asymmetrical fashion, we refer to those as cascades.
Pleated swags give a room a clean, polished look. They’re great for formal gathering areas like living rooms and dining rooms.
Shirring creates smaller pleats that are evenly spaced along the entire length of the swag. The Austrian valance or Kingston valance are good examples.
Not all swags have to be board-mounted. Some are made as tab top valances, too. The victory swag valance is a casual interpretation of a shirred swag window treatment. It’s typically made as a tab top valance as well. The key to this valance is generous volume and quality fabric, or else the swags will have to be pushed too close together to make up for the lack of fullness.
Draperies with Swags
You’ll often find a single swag as an additional accent on a drapery. This swag is often called a “bustle swag” and it’s often pleated the same way as the drapery. In other words, if the drapery is a pinch pleat drapery, the swag usually is made with pinch pleats, too. Most bustle swags are made in the same fabric as the drapery, although they’re often made in a contrasting fabric to achieve a custom look.
Extra long silk drapes with bustle swags.
Casual Interpretations of Swags
Swags are becoming more and more modern, and by default, more casual. It isn’t unusual for swags nowadays to only have a few casually flowing pleats. Some swags can also be almost flat, only mimicking the shape of the traditional swag.
Casual swags are often hung on medallions, making for very dramatic window treatments if the swags are spaced apart a lot.
The center swag can also be raised higher. Here, the swags are formed naturally by the excess fabric in the center.
This black and red valance has subtle swags that are attached to a board to create a layered valance, with Euro-pleated bells in between each swag.
Swags can be cut into a pointed, teardrop shape. This is a great opportunity for a key tassel detail. Notice how the window next to this swag valance also has a drapery with an attached bustle swag.
Swags were traditionally made to look similarly to the valance above. You’d have a cascade on one side, with a shorter tail on the other. Only here, you’ll notice the swag is mostly flat to make the valance more modern.