Ballard Designs Speaks & A Lesson in Drapery Clip Rings

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

When I awoke today, I was in the mood to move forward on the drapery project I recently started here in the family room. You may remember this photo where I had draped the green, velvet draperies I found recently in a Ballard Designs Outlet over the tops of my plantation shutters to get an idea how they would work in this room.

Green Velvet Drapes for Cozy Paneled Room


The Velvet Dilemma: Ballard Designs Speaks

Question: Which way is the right way to sew velvet, with the nap going up or down?
Answer: Whichever way you want.

So, remember a week or two ago when I took my draperies to a local seamstress to get a quote on having them hemmed, and she told me that they had been made incorrectly with the nap going upward instead of down? Back home, I googled and found this information below.


That made me feel somewhat better, but several folks left comments on that post saying velvet was supposed to always be sewn with the nap going downward. (Read that previous post here: Sewing Velvet: Are My Curtains Sewn Backwards?)

Ummm, since this whole velvet-sewing-dilemma kept nagging at me, I decided to go to the source and ask them. I called the home office for Ballard Designs and talked with one of their product specialists. She was very helpful and told me that my draperies were sewn correctly. She said that Ballard Designs contracts with specific companies to make their draperies and that the designers who work for Ballard Designs instruct them exactly how they want their draperies to be made.

She said Ballard Designs has all of their velvet draperies made with the nap going up (not down) because they feel it gives the curtains a much richer appearance and it helps avoid the sheen that velvet sometimes has.

She said that once upon a time it was thought velvet should always be sewn with the nap going down, and that’s still the best way when making velvet clothing. But for draperies she said the rules have changed, and it’s not unusual to see the nap running upward for a richer look.

After learning all this, I’m glad they choose to make them with the nap going up because I love the idea of the draperies having a richer, deeper, velvety appearance. You don’t have to worry about wear with draperies since they aren’t like clothes that are being worn.

So if you have velvet draperies from Ballard Designs (and I know some of you said that you do) per Ballard Designs, they are not sewn incorrectly if the nap is going upward. They were designed that way on purpose by the designers at Ballard Designs.


The Drapery Rod Choice: Thanks for your input in my previous post!

It seems like there are so many decisions one has to make when hanging draperies. Thinking it through, I have decided to go ahead and install the dark, metal curtain rods I recently purchased at Lowes.

Thanks so much for your suggestions and ideas when I asked if you thought wood rods or metal rods would work best. I didn’t do a tally but you guys seemed to be pretty evenly split on which would look best in my paneled living room.

2016-01-19 16.32.36


The reason(s) I finally decided to stick with the dark metal rods I had already purchased is because I’m concerned I’ll have trouble finding a wood rod that would look right with the judges paneling in this room. Early on, I learned that not all wood tones work with these walls. For example, Cherry furniture or wood furniture with a reddish tone, looks terrible in here.

As I read your comments on that previous post, it occurred to me that the metal drapery rod may work well with the antique bronze/oil-rubbed bronze finish of the doggie lamp on the table in front of the window.

Velvet Curtains for Winter


So today I set out to purchase drapery rings so I could go ahead and hang the curtains to get an idea how much they would need to be hemmed.

Check Curtains Draperies with French Pleats and Grosgrain Trim


You may remember, the velvet draperies are designed with little loops sewn across the top.

Green Velvet Drapes


That’s so they can be hung like this, which is very close to the exact same way I hung draperies in my dining room back in November 2012.

Hanging Curtains with loops on back


When I hung them in the dining room, I hadn’t seen that picture above. I had just figured it out on my own when I came across the some “special” drapery rings in Home Depot. Note that word special, I was very lucky the first time when I found the drapery clip rings that I used…more on that in a sec.

The draperies in the dining room didn’t have the little loops sewn in like you see in the photo above so I just inserted the drapery pins into the pleats on the back of those curtains, and then hooked the pin through the a hook on the drapery ring.

Since the velvet drapes I’m hanging now do have the loops as shown below, this method is perfect for hanging them. But today I ran into a stumbling block.

Hanging Curtains with loops on back


When I got to Home Depot today, I couldn’t remember the exact brand of rings I purchased last time. Home Depot only had one style and they looked pretty much the same, so I purchased those and headed home.

Once back home I had two problems. The first problem was that the rings I purchased were a hair too small for the curtain rods I’m using in the living room. Drat! They would almost fit over the rod, but not quite.

Drapery Clip Rings without Hook


I discovered that the rings I purchased for the dining room curtains, did fit. So, I started the messy process of taking down the curtains in the dining room to swap the drapery rings. The new drapery rings I purchased today would easily fit over the skinnier rod in the dining room and the dining room drapery rings were just barely large enough to go over the new rods in the living room. Arggg. Are you following me, here? lol

Check Draperies


Once I removed all the drapery rings from one window in the dining room and began reinstalling them with the new drapery rings I purchased today at Home Depot, I realized I had a problem. I searched the house and finally found the few rings I had left over from when I had previously hung the dining room curtains. They were still in their original package and it turned out they were by Levolor. The ones I bought today are from the “Home Decorator Collection.”

I learned today that not all drapery clip rings ARE created equal. Do you see the problem…the difference between these two brands of drapery rings? The Levolor drapery rings are far superior (in my opinion) because they have a feature that the Home Decorators Collection drapery rings do not have.

Two Styles of Drapery Clip Rings


They have a little loop built into the drapery ring…note where the arrow is pointing.

Drapery Clip Rings with Hook


The Home Decorators Collection drapery clip rings do not have that loop. That loop is super important for hanging draperies in the method I mentioned earlier.

Drapery Clip Rings without Hook


When you attempt to hang curtains using this method shown below (which is the same method I used for my dining room draperies) with the Home Decorators drapery clip rings, it doesn’t work.

Hanging Curtains with loops on back


It may look like the loop at the top of the clip is closed up, but it’s not. If you hook a drapery pin through the top loop, it pulls right through the crack. ~~~sigh~~~

Drapery Clip Rings without Hook


Don’t you hate it when companies change and quit carrying something that worked so great before! The drapery rings above are the only ones Home Depot had today, they no longer had any by Levolor.

So I Googled this afternoon and thankfully found them on Amazon here: Levolor Drapery Rings. I ordered 5 bags, enough to hang the 4 velvet panels in the living room. They should arrive on Monday. Once they arrive, I’ll hang the draperies, give them a few days to settle, then measure so I’ll know exactly what length they need to be hemmed.

Levolor Classic Drapery Rings


Just wanted to share this with you so if you ever wish to hang draperies using this method below…

Hanging Curtains with loops on back


…be sure to purchase drapery rings with the little closed-off loop, like the Levolor drapery ring clips have below. It will save you tons of frustration!

Levolor Classic Drapery Rings


Okay, I’m off to rehang the dining room drapes, hopefully for the last time! πŸ™‚

Check Draperies

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  1. Renee Cook says

    Thank you, Susan, that was very informative. I never knew about the extra ring on the Levolor curtain rings. A number of years ago, I bought the Home Collection rings since Home Depot is near my home. I really didn’t know how to make them work with the pleated drapes and drapery pin, so I’m very glad you showed a picture. I put the hook though the teeth part of the curtain ring clip. It looks OK, but many times a hook or two will want to slip out when you open and close the drapes. It will be nice to be more aware the next time I go shopping. Thanks again, as always!

    • I was thinking today, the regular clip rings would be good if you strictly wanted to use the clips, they would make the curtain hang higher, too. But they definitely don’t work well with drapery pins. Glad this was helpful for you, Renee. That ring really does make a huge difference.

  2. Oh boy! Busy day”! Worth it in the end!

  3. Susan, I feel your pain! You have had so much aggravation with these velvet panels…but, I know once they are hung, they will be beautiful! Pam @ Everyday

    • lol Pam, today I caught myself wondering why we ever do DIY projects? And this isn’t even a hard DIY project! HA! Then I remembered how great it feels when it’s done. Always worth it in the end.

  4. Oh my goodness. I am so feeling your pain in searching down those curtain rings. This fall I made some traversing pinch pleat drapes for my 94 year old mother-in-law. Since I already had on hand some pleater tape and some leftover kirsch pinch pleat clips from earlier projects I didn’t anticipate any issues. Wrong!I was short a dozen of the pinch pleat clips and finding the same 4 and 3/4inch pinch pleat clips turned into a giant scavenger hunt. Forget Lowes, Home Depot, Calico Fabrics, Joanne Fabrics or Hancock. Even Amazon let me down! Finnnnallly returned back home from Alexandria and made one more trip to to my local Mill Outlet shop and there they were- the Holy Grail of Pinch Pleat drapes! As I was checking out the clerk told me the manufacturer of the pleater tape I used was discontinuing that product and she was stocking up for her personal use in the future. Guess there just aren’t that many home dec sewers anymore. Note to self- say “no” to anymore pinch pleats and just go to Pottery Barn or … Ballards! You sure got an arm work out today switching out the dining room and family room drapes- but the results are more than worth it. Just lovely!

    • Ha! You’re not kidding about the arms! Did you stock up on the pleater tape, Patricia? I’m so glad you found some! It’s so tempting when someone tells you an item is being discontinued, to not buy all they have! BTW, that awesome you have a 94 years old mil…and that she is still interested in decorating! Love it!

  5. Well you’ve gotten your work out on this job! Glad you found a way to get the right rings. We had trouble finding the rings Iwanted last time I did this and ended up spray painting the ones we found to match the rod. The things we go through to try and make things just right!

    • That’s a great idea, Liz! If the color of this rod doesn’t look right, I may just end spray painting it, too. I think it will be okay, though.

  6. I’m exhausted just reading this post! I’m happy for the satisfactory outcome for you, Susan and so appreciative of the information you’ve shared. I hope the final result is worth all the aggravation this has given you. Thanks again.

  7. You are the most tenacious person I know. I love that. I get so frustrated that I am always reluctant to do any fyi project myself.

    Love that the velvet goes upward for the rich luxurious look.

  8. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    Geez, what a lot of frustration you’ve had. Good luck!

    Not to change the subject…okay, to change the subject–have you seen the Pottery Barn floral bunny plates?

    • No, hadn’t seen those but I just googled and they are cute! I’m trying to be good and not buy any dishes since I just bought the tartan chargers at Christmastime, but those are super tempting!

  9. You’re more industrious than I am. If I found that the Home Depot rings didn’t fit, I’d just take them back and leave my other draperies alone. I hate to have to return things, but I hate hanging and unhanging curtains and draperies even more, especially those with a multitude of clips and hooks. I am glad, though, to know that someone other than me has to deal with this type of frustration – not exactly life-threatening scenarios, but important at the time. Can’t wait to see them hemmed and hung.

  10. Jane Franks says

    Susan, I used to make professional pleated drapes in the old days, believe it or not! And You should be able to find drapery rings with grommets and without the clips, that are made especially for using the hook pins that you are using for your drapes. I’m so glad that Ballard makes their velvet drapes with the nap up. I think you will be pleased with the results!! Best of success! Can’t wait to see the finished result!! Jane xo

  11. Jane Franks says

    Susan, I sent you an email about drapery rings a few minutes ago. Let me know if it comes through. I’m not sure if things are working on my end.
    Thanks! Good luck with the drapes!

    • Those would be perfect! I never see those around here. I just may order those and cancel the order for the ones I ordered from Amazon. Thanks, Jane! I didn’t get your email, just the two comments.

  12. Jane Franks says

    I think I mis-spoke. I meant my previous blog post. I’m glad you got it! I had my computer “tuned up” last week, and I’m finding I need to re-set a lot of things. Good luck with your drapes!!

  13. Eowana Jordan says

    As for “never going to wear my drapes….” Are you too young to remember when Carol Burnett did the Gone with the Wind skit and came down the stairs wearing the green velvet drapes with the rod still attached???? so funny!!Am sure it’s on youtube.See you never know, if you don’t someone might wear them someday!!! hahahaha

    • I’m old enough to remember that particular sketch, and it still makes me laugh just thinking about it. I wish they had filmed the rehearsal when she first appeared in it, and see everyone’s faces and reactions. They must have had a lot of takes.

    • lol I do remember that episode, Carol Burnett was hysterical! That was her take on Scarlett, I guess. Well, if I ever need a green velvet dress and have to resort to making them from my draperies, I promise to turn the nap around. And remove the rod. Hee, hee

  14. Love the dining room drapes and the velvet ones are going to be fabulous. I agree, hanging drapes can be very frustrating, and it does take all kinds of different hooks depending on how you plan on hanging them. Glad you found the right ones.

  15. Hi Susan,
    While those clip rings will work, traditional drapery rings are meant for that purpose, with one large loop for going around pole, and a smaller one in which to insert the hook. Pottery Barn sells these, as should many other retailers. Seems like the addition of the clips might add bulk. Hope this is helpful. Love the room!

    • I get wooden rings with the small ring for the hook at thrift shops. A little paint and they can be any color i like. Mine match the wood poles. But mostly, pinch pleated draperies with a traverse rod are more pleasing to me. Rather upper upper, don’t you know…….. Guess I’m just an old fashion gal in a 21st century world..,…….
      Thanks for the picture of the little loops. Since I’ve never had velvet, I guess I missed class that day. Now I know how to “fix” the backs of the inexpensive W-M curtains I’m altering for the sliding doors til i find just what i want there.
      Thanks for the information and the sources. If I ever want new, I’ll know what to look for…LOL

  16. Isn’t it SOMETHING….why, oh, why…does it seem to always results in a….P*R*O*J*E*C*T??? You are a patient gal…I applaud you!! Good wishes! franki

  17. I love your perfectionism as it saves many of us having to learn things the hard way! Thanks for the things you share and your doggedness in tracking down just the RIGHT solution or thing! May your efforts be blessed!

  18. Marlene Stephenson says

    Oh wow,what a fun day. Why can’t they make everything in a standard sort of way so things like this wouldn’t happen,it can certainly make you crazy.

  19. I am worn out! Ha! I feel your pain as I recently retrofitted some drapes from the big house to our now small house. My project worked out, but there were some tense moments and ordering of rod brackets from Amazon as I could not find what I needed at Lowes…or anywhere around my small town. We have an Amazon distribution center about 25 miles from us and get things very quickly. But back to drapes and hardware…it’s a big job any way you go. Sheila

  20. Cyndi Raines says

    Good for you – for sticking with it. The battle will be worth it when you see them hanging. And yes, I do remember the Carol Burnett Gone With the Wind clip with her walking down the staircase, draperies, curtain rod, fringe and all! LOVED it! We still laugh. I think the metal rod will be very nice. Love the doggie lamp!

  21. How frustrating! Drapes can really make a room, but it can be a challenge to get them right. Which rod, which fabric, which color, it goes on and on. I love the curtains you picked and they will look great when finished.

  22. Hey Susan…
    Just joined your delightful gang here and love everything – absolutely everything! Will you guys forgive my ignorance and Susan, will you educate me as to why the clips on either of these rings would/could not be appropriate/usable for this window treatment? I’m always up for learning something new! Thanks – looking forward to your reply!

    • Hi CJ,
      The clips could be used if someone didn’t mind that look, but whenever I see clips across the top of drapes/curtains, it always looks very “casual” to me…a less finished look. I did use clips when I hung curtains in my office in this post:

      But for both the dining room and the living room, I wanted a more professional “custom drapery look” or as close to that as I could get using ready-made, store bought draperies, so I didn’t want the clips to show at all.

      Hanging them using the drapery pins through the little rings, hides all the “mechanics” of how they are hung and (to me) it just looks more professional, a more polished look for those two rooms. So that’s why I didn’t use the clips for the dining room or for the living room. Hope that kind of helps explain. πŸ™‚

      • Wonderful! Yes, that helps and even confirms my nebulous ideas. They do indeed look more formal regarding the lack of visible hardware yet the fabric is soft, sumptuous – definitely there but no need to call your attention to their presence. Going to check out your office curtains now. Such a newbie I am, LOL

  23. Lorelei Troup says

    LOVE your posts! I taught sewing for more than 25 years and always told students that nap goes up for a richer color. Thanks for such great information!

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