Friday, 15 March 2013

Beautiful Draperies from Inexpensive Tab Curtains

Beautiful, high quality draperies really can make a room.  But they can cost a fortune.  Even fabric in bulk can be too expensive for the average person.  I'll show you how to get great fully lined and pleated drapes for a fraction of the cost.

This project highlights tab curtains.  Here's my problem with tab curtains, no matter how much arranging you do, they always look messy and cheap. And this gives me anxiety, really!  I fear ever opening or closing them so as not to disrupt the delicate balance achieved through arranging and rearranging, often by balancing on a chair.  This is not a good relationship to have with your window treatments.

In the end you really need to invest the time in taking your curtains to the next level.

You will need:

Ikea Lenda curtains - 199kr about $30.  You can use whatever tab curtains you like but I like the linen look of the Lenda)

Ikea Knoppa single bed sheets (as a liner) - 19kr, about $3 (each panel requires one of these, so 2 per package of Lenda)

A sewing machine - if you are a serial decorator like me or simply prefer custom, this is one of the best investments you will make.  It will pay for itself in no time.

An iron

Fabric Tape

Step 1.  Measure the length needed from the rod to the floor

A couple of rules about drapery:

A. Drapes look best if they hang as close as possible to the ceiling.  This adds height to the room and makes the drapes that much grander.

B.  Draperies should, at the very least, hit the floor.  Better still if they rest on the floor by an inch (3 cm) or so.  Drapes should never be higher than the floor, not even slightly.  Think about when someone's pants are too short.  Not a good look.  So ere on the side of caution here - more is more.  Always remember that there needs to be a couple of extra inches for the hems.

You may not have to do any cuts if you have an average height ceiling and make allowances for a thick hem at the floor (take a quick look at step 5).

Step 2.  Sew Down Tab

The tab will be folded down and attached to the inside of the curtain along the existing seam.  Make sure there is enough room in the loop to easily clear the rod and make for smooth opening and closing.  The stitch you use is up to you.  For me it's like the difference between Times New Roman and Stylus BT.  Choose the stitch you like the best.  What you do with the remainder of the tab is also up to you.  I left it in place as I think it adds to the fullness and it won't be seen.  If you chose a thinner curtain then you should remove the remainder of the tab.

DIY Draperies - Fold and sew down tab

Step 3 Sew Edges of Curtain and Sheet Together

You will need to hem the sheet as it is wider than the panel.  I kept the liner wider than the curtain panel to create fullness ( I will explain how to make it fit in the next step), again that is up to you.  Once you have decided the width of the liner, you can fasten it by ironing it flat with some fabric tape.  This will save you a step of sewing.  Now sew the liner to the panel coming in about an inch (3 cm) on either end.

DIY Draperies - Attach liner to curtain


Step 4.  Sew Liner to the Top

Now you will sew the top of the liner to just below where you sewed down the tab.  If you made the liner the exact width needed then you can just go ahead and sew it on.  If you went the wider, fuller route, you will need to plan where small pleats will go along the seam (affix with strait pins) so that you don't get a big bulk of liner fabric at either end.

DIY Draperies - Attach liner to panel just below tab loop



Step 5.  Make Bottom Hem

Double check your length by hanging the drapes in place to see exactly where the bottom hem will go.  First make a small fold (an inch or so) and secure by ironing with fabric tape.  Now fold where drape will rest on floor.  You likely won't have to make any cuts as the higher the hem the nicer the drapes will look.  In fact, many designers will tell you to make the bottom hem the same height as your baseboards. 

Et, Voila!  or as they say in Sweden "Slut!"*  The spaces between the tabs will create a type of faux pleat.  Now you are ready to hang your draperies.

* Glossary 
 Slut (pronounced sloot) - this means the end or finished or last.  Perhaps we can take a whole post simply looking at how Swedish is the anti-English

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