When new clients contact us for a quote on custom stage curtains, often they are unfamiliar with (and perhaps even a little overwhelmed by) the many decisions that need to be made to ensure that the stage curtains meet their specific needs. Fabric, fullness, and top / bottom / side finishes are all factors to be considered. I’ve posted previously on fabric and fullness, so today I thought I’d go over top finish options (I’ll cover side and bottom finishes in future posts).
There are a number of different top finishes, depending on how the curtain will be hung (and used). For a drape that will be hung from a pipe or batten and is not intended to travel (i.e. will be stationery rather than moveable), the industry standard top finish is webbing, grommets and ties. Heavy duty polypro webbing is sewn on the top back side of the drape. The grommets (strong eyelets with washer backings) are then set mechanically through the face of the drape and the webbing, at the center of each pleat. Grommets are generally set every 12″, but that may vary depending on the fullness of the drape. A continuous 36″ length of heavy duty tieline is then doubled over and threaded through the grommet, leaving ample room to tie onto the pipe or batten.
When a stage curtain will be hung on a traveller track, to allow the curtain to open and close, one of the most common top finishes is webbing, grommets and S-hooks. The webbing and grommets are set in the same manner as previously mentioned. However, rather than utilitize ties, metal S-hooks are instead inserted through the grommets. To hang the curtain, the top of each S-hook is threaded through the track carriers.
Both of these top finishes are generally used when the top of the curtain will not be visible to the audience, generally because it will be hidden by the proscenium or by a valance or border. In some cases, however, the top of the curtain will be visible to the audience, and therefore a hidden top finish is preferred. With Hidden Flush Sewn Snaps, a self-closing snap is attached to the back of the webbing first. The webbing is then sewn onto the top of the drape, leaving a clean appearance on the front of the drape. The snaps are then attached to the track carriers to hang the drape.
Another hidden top finish, one which is quite durable, is hidden grommets and ties. In this instance, a double set of grommets is inserted into the webbing. The webbing is then sewn onto the top of the drape, and tie lines are threaded through the grommets. Again, the front appearance of the top of the drape is unmarred.
Hidden sewn ties are a great way to not only give a finished appearance to the front of a drape, but also to hide the pipe or batten to which the drape is tied. Strong cotton twill ties are sewn to the back of the webbing, which is then sewn to the drape.
There are a few more top finishes, primarily used for temporary installations. For a border or teaser that will be stapled directly to a roof beam, a top finish of webbing only is used. For drapes that will be threaded onto a pipe (most commonly used in exhibit booths), a pipe pocket open hem is typical. This allows the user to create fullness from a flat drape, by making the drape wider than the pipe and then pushing the full width of the drape onto the pipe, thereby creating natural fullness.
I hope this post clarified top finish options a little bit. If you’d like to see more photos and get more information, please visit the Top Finishes page on our website.