How to Arrange a Swag


A swag as simple as a long panel of fabric folded into graceful pleats can add a nice finish to windows. Arranging this scarf swag as a semicircle that dips in the middle will cover a standard rod and add a classic touch with two tails for symmetry. As an alternative, gently wind the scarf around a decorative pole with finials and showcase a spiral effect that dresses up your window treatment with ornamental flair.

Things You'll Need

  • Rod with side brackets or rod holders
  • Screwdriver
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Yardstick or ruler
  • Safety pins, push pins or tacks
  • Decorator rod

Scarf and Rod

  • Attach the rod brackets to the wall or upper window trim. Set the rod on the brackets.

  • Press the swag with a preheated iron set at the temperature appropriate for the fiber content. Place the pressed fabric face up on a large, flat surface. Create consistent folds lengthwise, such as 4 inches wide, to form the accordion-style pleats. The long, finished edges should face away from you.

  • Insert a straight pin at mid-length to help you center this swag over the rod for a symmetrical look.

  • Raise and balance this folded swag up to the rod. Hook the ends of the swag over each rod end, with the center fabric dipping down. Center the mid-section pin over the middle of the rod, and let the two ends dangle behind the rod ends. You will see the fabric dip in front and the two tails drape at the back.

  • Tease the upper pleats to cover the pole. The lower dip stays down for a semicircular shape.

  • Twist the dangling tails to arrange the side pleats evenly. Insert safety pins just behind the upper corners to help secure the folds. If the rod holders are made of wood, try pinning the fabric to the wood out of sight to keep the swag in place when the wind blows. Remove the straight pin from the swag’s mid-section.

Spiral Effect and Decorative Pole

  • Install the rod holders on the wall and set the decorative pole on the holders.

  • Set the fabric face up on a large, flat surface. Pleat the swag with approximately 4-inch folds along the length.

  • Ask a friend to help you hook the folded swag over one pole end, and gently wind the swag around the pole for a loose, spiral effect between the finials. Insert safety pins out of sight in the folds behind the pole to help keep the shape, if necessary.

  • View the effect from inside and outside your home. Adjust the swag’s folds and curves to achieve the look you want.

Tips & Warnings

  • Installing inexpensive wall hooks in a row or a gentle arc above the window trim help supports a wavy swag without a curtain rod.
  • The swag tails can hang asymmetrically with one long tail and one short tail for a more interesting, off-center arrangement.
  • A double rod supports a swag in front, and a layer of sheers or complementary curtains at the back.
  • Swags with a rod pocket accommodates a slightly narrower rod. For example, a 3-inch-wide pocket pairs with a 2 1/2-inch-wide flat rod. Insert the rod into the side opening and carefully arrange the gathers. When you raise the rod to the brackets, take the time to adjust the gathers for an even look.
  • Keep pins and the iron away from children and animals.
  • Keep children away from any stepladders or chairs near the window.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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