How to Make Swags and Jabots or Cascades

How to Make Swags and Jabots or Cascades

Learn how to make swags and jabots. They can be designed in many styles, most often they are knife pleats turned outward. Jabots are normally 9-15 inches wide and taper upwards in the inner edge.

They are placed on the outsides of a window treatments with a mirror image. The jabot length should be about 1/3rd of the window treatments. It’s lower inner point will be lower than your center point of the swag treatment.

Jabots are sewn in many different styles, simple squares, rectangles, or wedges. They are fully lined with the same fabric or and accent fabric. Jabots can be mounted on a board or a pole depending on the window treatments.

The window treatment on the left has casual jabots on the sides, they have a very small pleat and they relax as they fall over the drapery panels. The photos are from Drapery Solutions in Litchfield Park, AZ.

When making a jabot you can create many different styles of pleats and gathers. There are no set rules and this is where your creativity has no limits. The most import factor is to remember the proportions of your window.

Jabots and Cascade Styles
Jabots and Cascade Styles

You may Print the Jabots and Cascade Styles

Materials Need to make a Jabot or Cascade

  • Lining or Muslin to make a Pattern
  • Decorator Fabric
  • Lining or contrast fabric for the back
  • Mounting board
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Tools and hardware for installation

1. Decide of the finished width of the Jabot. Each should overlap the end swag of window valance 4-10 inches plus the depth of the mounting board.

2. Decide the number of pleats and how wide they will be. A good basic is to start with 3 pleats that will finish at 3 inches wide.

3. Decide on the outside length (drop) of the jabot. This is usually 1/3rd to 2/3rd the length of the drapery panel. It can be adjusted for personal preference. The Inside edge is normally the length of the window treatment, swag or valance.

How to Make a Paper Jabot Pattern
How to Make a Paper Jabot Pattern

How to Make a Pattern for the Jabot or Cascade

1. On Paper or Lining mark a line down one side the length of the finished jabot.
2. From the top of (A) measure across the depth of the mounting board (B).
3. Draw a line down from (B), the length of the jabot and parallel to (A).
4. Mark a line from (B) 24″ across the top to (D). It is important the B-D are at right angles to B-C.
5. From (D) measure down the finished inside length of your jabot.
6. Draw a Diagonal line between (C) and (E).
7. Mark the position of the pleats across the top edge, (B-D)
8. Cut out the Pattern and make a sample, adjustments can be made as needed.

Making the Jabot or Cascade

Jabot with decorative cording
Jabot with decorative cording

1. Using the pattern cut out the right and left jabots adding 1/2″ to all edges for seam allowance. If you lay 2 layers of fabric down with right sides together you can cut both right and left at the same time.
2. Repeat the the cutting for the lining and mark the pleats across the top edge of the lining.
3. Place the right side of the fabric together with the right side of the lining and sew all edges except the top (where the pleats are).
4. Turn right side out and press edges. I personally like to use a fine micro cording covered in fabric along the edge of the jabot, it give you a very nice finish and your seams will press much better.

Pleating the Jabot
Pleating the Jabot

5. Fold the pleats in place and pin making sure that the top edge is straight and the sides of the pleats are at right angles to the top edge.
6. Pin the tail along the Pencil line on the top of the jabot or board lining up to (B) with the corner of the mounting board.
7. Now is the time to make any adjustments to your pleats, if needed.
8. You may press the pleats in place if your prefer a formal look or let them lay loose for a casual look.
9. Repeat the process and make the opposite jabot then attach to the mounting board.



Below are photos of Kathy a student at Home Fashions U making a window treatment for her guest room, the reason her treatment is further out on both sides of the wall is because she will be adding panels and sheers under this treatment.

Kathy folding the pleats on jabot
Kathy Mounting Box Pleat Treatment
Kathy stapled the jabot to the mounting board
Stapling the decorative cording across the top of the treatment.
Finished treatment installed on wall

New Easy to use Jabot Template for making perfect Jabots


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