Originally, a swag was a great length of heavy fabric draped over a heavy decorative pole. The pole was hung above a large window or other decorative feature, so the fabric draped gracefully across the top and hung down the sides. You might imagine swags over the windows in an ancient castle throne room or on the wall behind the throne, itself. (Okay, I know castle windows were, in reality, little skinny things that barely let in light; but this is an imaginary dream castle.) Swags framed a large window or set of windows, but did not move to cover it, as drapes do. This simple, dramatic treatment was designed to add style, color, and a ‘finish’ to a room. This swag, sometimes called a scarf swag, is often placed over sheer panels or movable drapes now.
Over time, the swag has become a window treatment style with more artistry and with stunning, beautiful forms. Some swags, rather than just draping over the ends, are draped several times over the pole crossing the window. The draping may remain casual or may use very measured, precise folds. These draped forms, because of their shape, are called shells. The draping done with these complicated folds provides striking visual interest and style. Rather than an ancient castle, picture the Presidential Suite in an expensive hotel. (Again, this is creative imagination.)
The sides of the swag, where the lengths of fabric hang down, provide visual interest and variety, also. The ends can hang parallel to the floor or even just reach it. The sides though can, also, cascade in a jabot or be angled smoothly. Both sides can puddle on the floor, hang just to the floor, or end an equal distance from the floor. The side lengths can even be unequal. There are limitless possibilities to swag design. Are you beginning to imagine the possibilities for the big beautiful windows in your home?
At Sunshine Drapery a nearly endless choice of fabrics is available to create your perfect swag window treatment. Traditionally, fabric chosen for a swag was a medium to heavy, solid-colored fabric. These fabrics provide a good choice for the deep, rich folds and draping of a swag; because of their weight and body. Light weight fabrics simply flatten when draped and, therefore, aren’t often suitable. Additional colors or textures of fabric may be layered on top of the first swag fabric. A brocade or other patterned fabric in complementary or contrasting colors can be layered over the solid color, providing a rich and interesting effect. Many types of trim, especially fringe, can be used to add your own personality to a swag, also.
Beneath a swag treatment, shear panels can provide a finished look and some privacy. Maybe, your window has a gorgeous view of the sunset, but your living room needs some protection from the afternoon sun. Other window treatments used beneath the swag, for example, blinds or shades can add to practicality.
Now, take a window walk through your house using your creative imagination. Where do you want to highlight a beautiful view or make a creative statement with a swag?