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Window Scarfs

Window Scarfs

For similar swags you may want to visit open swags click here.

Window Scarf thru RingsWindow scarfs are sometimes called "throw swags" or "poor boy swags".  Scarfs are just as the term "throw" indicates - they will be irregular given the throw look and considerably less structured than a open swag.  When installed however, the fabric does have something of a swag effect.  When there are multiple swags, they will appear mismatched, as will the tails on the scarf.  For clarity, it is best to avoid the use of the word “swag” when referring to this type of treatment.

Scarf valances look similar to open swags, which is why they are often confused.  They are manufactured very differently from a structured traditional and open formal swag: A scarf is made from one long piece of fabric which is usually railroaded while an open swag is cut from a pattern and constructed in pieces which simulate a wrapped look. 

Scarfs are installed and formed entirely at the job site, either by the, customer, designer or the installer.

Scarf HolderA word of caution these wraps are not easy to create. They take a lot of time until you can perfect a method. Often when a designer or customer tries to create on of these types of treatments they never do it again as it takes a lot of time and patience. Check with your installer to see if they do window scarfs.


The business rule governing the window scarf dictates that when a window scarf is ordered, an informal and unstructured "swag-like" look is desired.  There are three sub-categories in this section:  pole wraps, scarf holders, and rod pocket wraps.  All are made in a similar fashion.

To learn more about Window Scarfs, order our publication “Elements of Soft Treatments” . To learn about formulas for figuring yardages order our publication "Study Guide To The Ultimate Designers Workbook"

Special Fabric Considerations

Scarf DirectionThe best fabric for this type of treatment is light to medium weight.  Thick upholstery fabrics are not recommended because they will not drape softly enough.  Sheer fabrics should be self lined.  When lining with a contrasting fabric, watch for bleed through on these types of treatments.  For example, using a dark fabric as the lining, and having a light color fabric on the face will cause the face fabric to appear to be a different color.

With printed patterns, be careful with the up direction on the print.  When the fabric is draped over the pole, the fabric direction changes, thus up can become upside down.  As an example, if you start the swag from the left, the pattern is running up on the left cascade or tail; when running across the top where the swags are, the pattern will be running horizontal; and when it comes down on the right cascade or tail, the pattern will be running down.  For this reason, obvious one way patterns are not recommended.

Sometimes it is necessary to have the direction on the print be the same on both cascades.  In these cases, there is a very labor intensive process which involves the workroom determining where the seam should be placed to be hidden when it is either wrapped on the pole or on the knot, depending on which style is being used.  This is also known as “removing the dart” on some styles.  Check with the workroom, as there is usually a detail charge for this work, and additional yardage might be needed to fabricate the swag. 

Measuring For Scarf Tip

Headrail exposedBe cautious with trim window frames and the headrail of the blinds. On some scarf holders there is a chance that the swag will not hide the headrail of the blind. It helps to have the scarf holders when measuring if you don't want to see the headrail of the blind.

When determining the placement of the scarf holders, a few basic rules should be observed.  Holders need to be at least 2" above the opening if the hardware will allow it.  When this is the case, a significant amount of the fabric drooped in between will cover the glass.  Raising the holders will help resolve this in part, but more of the trim or headrails of shades or blinds underneath will be exposed in the short points.

Window Scarfs are divided up into sub-categories. Join our membership area to access the full library of images for each of the sub-categories.  Each  category consists of:

Scarf Holders

The scarf will be made to fit onto scarf hardware of some sort.

Pole Scarfs

The scarf is made to wrap onto a pole.

Rod Pocket Wraps

The scarf is made to have a rod pocket on one end, and wrap onto a pole.

Custom Scarf Swag Products This category will include any custom scarf swag style which is new, unnamed, or can not be otherwise created through the use of existing components or add on items. Also included here will be open swag re-work labor and pattern or sample making services.

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General Information
  • Window scarfs do not work well over any type of outside mounted under treatments because the scarf can not wrap around the return and this causes the return of the under treatment to be exposed when looking at it from the side.  Also, most scarf hardware will not allow enough projection for an under treatment to operate properly.
  • Exact drop and length measurements of wraps, droops, and tails or panels cannot be guaranteed.
  • Do not place the hardware point of the scarf too far past the edge of the window. When the fabric is draped over the hardware, it will cause the tails to hang too far away from the window edge.
  • Fabric is usually railroaded and is manufactured in one length
  • Scarfs are installed either by the designer or installer at the job site
  • It is recommended that you send all parts that go to the pole so workroom can determine the correct
    return size needed.
  • Identical window scarf treatments will never look the same, since these treatments are casual and unstructured.

Pricing, (Check with your current drapery workroom)
  • Window scarfs are priced by the linear foot.  
  • Expect additional charges for calculating finished lengths, dart placement, or making pie cuts.
  • Add-on items such as banding, trim, rosettes and the like will be charged separately
  • There is usually a minimum charge per scarf.
  • Linear foot is equal to the total flat length or total finished length of the scarf, divided by 12, plus surcharges.

Tips When Measuring
  • When mounting close to the ceiling, place the hardware to allow room for the bulk of the fabric when wrapped or draped.
  • Scale drawings can be very helpful in determining hardware placement, short points, and long points.  If coverage is critical, a scale drawing is recommended.

Kirk Axelson

Precision Draperies Education

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