Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tie-backs by Any Other Name

We all know what a tieback is - a length of roping or fabric that holds the drapery back from the center to frame the window. But the technical term for a tieback is the embrace. Isn't that a lovely thought? And drapery embraces can be made of almost any fiber. We are all aquainted with tassel tiebacks. Tassle tiebacks can be made of yarn, ribbon, cording, or any combination. They can be embellished with beads or feathers. Tassle tiebacks are the embrace of choice for most traditional drapery treatments. They can add high glamour or sophistication to the treatment depending on the composition of the tassles. 

The tiebacks in the right hand photo are wrought iron.  They were custom fabricated to hold the significant weight of these draperies in a tony restaurant.

Drapery designs from the 1930's through the 1950's may have had tiebacks that were shaped and made of the same fabric as the draperies.  These tiebacks could be trimmed with a contrast micro cord, buttons, or other embellishments.  And shaped tiebacks are still popular in formal rooms today.

Our colonial ancestors used a string or piece of twine to hold back the homespun hanging in the windows.  Sometimes the curtain was just wrapped around a nail that protruded from the wall.  Not much of an embrace there.  But our modern (1970's) sensibilities suggested that the curtains be tied back with a flat band of fabric.  It was plain, neatly utilitarian, and to our Bicentennial-spangled eyes, it looked most Colonial.

Today's tiebacks can be made of fabric, fiber, beads, feathers - in whatever shape suits your fancy.  Consider your choices the next time you tie back your draperies.  Embrace a new way to show off the view!

Left -custom tieback created from ombre ribbon hand pleated onto silk band w/color coordinated gimp applied down the center.

This delightful tieback on the right is the creation of Camela Nitschke, a ribbon artist.  The ribbon is braided and folded on itself.  It's a rather Victorian design that looks so right on this delft print drapery.  What a sweet tieback for a lady's boudoir or a girl's bedroom.  You can see more of her work at .

This tieback resembles the sleeve of a man's suit coat.  The drapery panel is a heavy wool tweed, lined in a silk tussah.  A linen band shows below the bottom of the tieback - the cuff of the shirt.  And 2 black suit buttons finish the illusion.

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