Swags and Jabots

Today we would like to write about what we call Swags & Jabots here at Fashion Window Treatments. This very popular window treatment style can also be referred to as a Festoon & Cascade.  The word festoon originated from the Latin word festo and was used to describe a wreath or garland hanging from two points. When depicting fabric or linen the motif became known as a swag, as to hang in a drooping curve.


A jabot, which can also be called cascade or tail, is a vertical, normally pleated piece of fabric used with festoons or swags.  The original purpose of a jabot was to hide the seams between individual swags, though their purpose today is simply decorative (unlike most curtains, jabots do not serve to block the passage of light). Visually, they represent a continuation of the swag over the ends of a pole or board, and are generally made of the same decorator fabric on the facing side as the swag itself. Jabots are often lined with a different style or color of fabric which is then revealed along its bottom edge with each pleat. One can also use the same fabric to line the jabot as the main swag and jabot fabric, which we refer to as “self” lining.

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Swag and Jabots – A timeless look of sofistication

Swag and Jabots are at the top of many decorators lists. Swags and jabots offer your windows timeless elegance and can be sewn as a rod pocket style treatment, a board mounted window treatment and they can also be fabricated to be hung on a decorative pole. The number of swags needed is determined by the width of the window. A standard window would have one swag, whereas a window that is 100” wide would typically have three swags.
Not all swags are the same. A bias cut swag will have a smoother drape to it than a standard swag. This is because a bias cut, means the fabric is cut diagonally across the fabric as opposed to being cut on the straight of the fabric, so in turn the fabric has a much smoother drape to it and is made with an extra fold for additional fullness. Many times you will see pelmets hanging between swags. Pelmets are used simply to give the window treatment a more distinctive appeal. Some choose to use pelmets under their swags (where 2 swags come together) and yet others will put them over top of the swags.

Jabots are typically used with swags on a window and come in many lengths. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the length you would like to use on your window. Jabots have been made to hang as little as 1/3 of the windows length up to several inches below a windows length or to the floor. It really depends on the look you are after. Normally if someone has a view they adore and want to use the treatment to accent the window, shorter jabots are often used. Shorter jabots offer a more casual appearance, whereas longer jabots are typically used for a more formal look.

If you love the look of jabots, but don’t like the appeal of typical swags, there are alternative flat valances, namely the Sherwood or Nottingham that can be used with jabots to give your windows a great look alternative look to the standard swag.