"Homemade" Double Drapery
In the late 1790s, Polish traveler, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, traveled in the new United States. He recorded a visit to George and Deborah Logan at Stenton. "We returned finally to the house [after dinner and a tour of the farm] and were shown a new parlor. The curtains, the covers for the sofas and chairs were made of cotton cloth in blue and white squares; and all was homemade." One pair of likely the same "homemade" blue check indigo double festoon window curtains survives in the collection at Stenton. Winterthur Textile Curator Florence Montgomery first published the curtains (as bed curtains) in the Magazine ANTIQUES and then in her book, Textiles in America, 1650-1870. Scroll through the photos below for directions to make your own. Left Photo: Reproduction double festoon curtains in Chester County-made linen, c.1985. Curtains by Margaret Clinton Richardson, Stenton Collections Chair, c.1980-2005, and other Colonial Dames.
Image Captions: 1) They are gathered at the top and were tacked, probably to a cornice containing pulleys so that the pull of one cord lifted both sections of cord running through the tape-defined arcs of small brass rings. 2) Cartridge pleats across the top. 3) 8 inches between the rings. 4) 1/2-inch twill tape wrapped the edges. 5) Probably because Chippendale’s Director featured drapery at the bedstead, Florence Montgomery had the same thought. However, the fading patterns on the curtains, combined with Niemcezwicz’s description suggest these were parlor window curtains, not bed curtains. Note that the undraped panel is shown upside down here. 6) Chippendale, Plate XLI (detail). 7) Margaret Richardson’s directions for making your own double festoon curtains.