Custom Draperies vs Ready-Made Draperies

Why go custom?

People often wonder what’s the difference between Custom Draperies vs Ready-Made Draperies. Of course it depends on your retailer, but let’s go over some basics.

First, when choosing custom you have endless choices of fabrics, trims & design. You aren’t limited to 15 fabrics and 3 styles. A good decorator will give you many options to choose from and give you the pros and cons of each one. Newer “custom ready-made” drapes are available as an improvement over retail, but still have limited options. The “try before you buy” option can sound enticing, but how many choices do you really have? Even one fabric supplier can offer thousands of samples. There’s no need to purchase from a pre-determined collection of fabrics. Do you need an exact shade of fabric to match your walls? Looking for an exclusive print? Looking for something unique? Your selection is limited with local retailers, but not when custom ordering. No one wants a copy-cat of their best friend’s family room!

Second, size is no longer a concern when going custom. While there are more lengths to choose from than there used to be, in most cases they aren’t exactly what they should be. So you must either pay to have your new drapes altered, or live with a “good enough” length. And many ready-made drapes are only available in single width panels. In most applications 1.5 or 2 widths should be the minimum fullness.

Third, QUALITY!! Most retailers import their drapes from overseas. In a manufacturing plant, the items are produced so quickly that little time is taken to insure accuracy and quality. We have had clients with three identical panels that vary more than an inch in length. When window treatments are made in our shop, we take the time to accurately measure during cutting, hemming, fabrication & upon final inspection. Truly custom made draperies will have a full double bottom hem (4” or more), and 1.5” double folded side hems. And not only is your construction superior, but your materials are as well. Linings play a huge role in the overall look of window treatments. We use only the best linings in all our products. We will not use fabrics that will shrink, stretch or pucker as time goes on! Often times, ready-made drapes come folded in small packages. The creases and wrinkles can be very difficult, sometimes impossible, to completely remove. Custom draperies should hang until installation, or be seam-folded. A good decorator will present your draperies in a flat or pleated manner the full length of your drapes.

So yes, there are a LOT of differences in custom draperies and ready-made drapes! Custom draperies can cost notably more than ready-made, but if you’re looking for fine window dressings, it is the only way to go. We’ve all heard “you get what you pay for”. That certainly applies here.