A Cotswolds Conundrum – the ultimate dormer window challenge

Last Monday saw the Moghul fitting team heading down to the Cotswolds to two lovely period properties in Garford and Alvescot – and as is so typical with such period cottages, some very tricky dormer windows to dress.

The Challenge: to the uninitiated, dormers are small windows that project from the roofline. A charming and classic feature of cottages and more stately properties alike, they can require very bespoke window treatments.


cotswold dormer window made to measure curtains
Solving the dormer challenge with pencil pleat curtains complete with inset fan edged pelmet

The problem with dormer windows like this is that the angle of the ceiling prevents you from fixing functional curtains to the sloping ceiling within the room. You can of course hang dress curtains down the outside of the window recess against the ceiling, but they have to be pulled back to the wall with some sort of holdback where the vertical wall meets the slope.

So what are the options? The best solution obviously depends on the specific characteristics of the window in question, and of course, the sort of look you are going for (contemporary or classic) – and we’ll be looking at a few different options in various blogs over the coming weeks. But whatever the shape of your window, you’re always likely to want to i) maximise the amount of light coming into the room, ii) end up with a window treatment that is as functional as it is pretty.

Achieving this look: the curtains in this particular example are fabricated with a medium weight interlining (period properties can be draughty!) and cotton lining. The loose gathered heading is achieved with 2 inch, 5cm rufflette tape, with only one width of fabric (137cms) per curtain – so as to keep the bulk of the fabric down and therefore to minimise stack back space taken up by the curtains.

made to measure curtains, dormer window, cotswold,cottage
The curtains hang on a low profile track and the pelmet and sloping section of the curtains are attached to the ceilings by velcro mounted battens

And now the clever bit – whilst the horizontal element of each curtain is fabricated with standard rufflette tape and hung from a light weight, low profile track, the angled element of each curtain is attached to velcro mounted battens screwed to the sloping ceiling, which is made possible by using pin and loop tape in place of the standard pencil tape because this sticks to velcro. The pelmet is fabricated with the same pin and loop tape, and is attached to its own set of velcro battens (which are visible in the photo above).

The pelmet falls just far enough to cover the ceiling above the window without covering the window panes themselves. Finally, each curtain is held in place with mini hold backs that compliment the shape of the dormer recess and allow the maximum amount of light into the room.