A verb meaning to hang like garlands; an adjective to describe draped cords, fabric loops, floral ropes always used for decoration; printed designs with draped floral or greenery arrangement

1. Passementerie

Cords and tassels might be draped across the top of fixed curtains or across the top of pelmets, especially swags and tails – for decoration,  using the draped shapes to soften harder line

2. Printed design

Festoons and garlands go hand in hand with cherubs, with cornucopia, with floral bouquets in decorative printed patterns, and with scrolls and classically inspired design. Some of the oldest and boldest chintz design contain garlands; many traditional jacquard weaves and damasks include garlands within the design.

3. Festoon Curtains

Festoon curtains and blinds are a Georgian invention. The Geergian builders designed their windows with good quality framework surrounds, and with shutters that folded back into the window recess by day and covered the window at night. This was, and  remains the most efficient way to block draughts, so early curtaining was simply insulation –  upholsterers had not yet decided they could make window dressings beautiful and luxurious.

When fabrics did become more readily available and interesting they were  so exclusive and very expensive, that there was no immediate change to the design of curtaining – it was kept simple. The single curtain was fixed at the top and when it was pulled up out of the way it hung in the shape of a garland above the window. Even when the one curtain became two, for some time they were still draped up and back in festoon shapes.

Stage curtains that draw upwards or outwards and upwards are in effect festoon curtains.

4. Festoon Blinds

Festoon blinds are sometimes used instead of curtains–they hang festoon-like when lowered and when raised. Long lengths of fabric, just a little wider than the window width, are pulled up by strings to fit the length of the window – the strings are passed through tapes or rows of hand gathers that have been stitched to the back of the fabric. The result is tiers of ruched scallops, which, in days when silk was a new fabric and rooms were lit by candle and oil lights, looked rather lovely: soft and luxurious with ever changing tones of colour in the flickering light. During the daytime the whole blind pulls up to sit at the top of, or above the window.

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