DIY Custom Drapery Look From Ready-Made Panels #windowtreatments

1 Hour
If you think there's a dramatic difference in the before and after with refinished furniture or room reveals, WAIT until you see this. If I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes, I might not have believed it. After this post, you'll never look at ready-made drapery panels the same way again. the humble beginnings. A pile of fabric that can come from anywhere, but for this project, it came from a local retailer. These are $20 ready-made window panels that are about to get the updo of a lifetime.
Backing up one step, the story actually began with a challenge to redo a room in 30 days called . For me and my budget, it was a whole lot to take on, but daredevil that I know I jumped right in! Here's a gander at the before. Brace's horrifying.
Everything you see here has been ripped out, repaired, and/or replaced. And, this bay window is now singing a beautful swan song. Can you hear it?
And, you are about to get the lowdown on how that bay went uptown.
First, a question. If draperies should be hung high and wide around the window so that the window looks bigger, why do ready-made panels stop at 84 inches in length?
Hint Number One: Take measurements and photos of the entire wall area you want to cover. Then do a little math on what size panels you need. (Math step-by-step is
After that, get your savvy shopping going. And, by savvy shopping, I mean label reading and number crunching like a true Type-A, drapery-designing diva.
...and we ALL know that true drapery-design-divas wear plaid sneekers. AmIright?
Hint Number Two: Read the label.
How long and wide is the panel? What kind of top does it have? Shirred? Gathered? Grommets? Since how the top is finished is one of the truest determinants of how the drape will cascade down the wall.
Hint Number Three: You gonna line that thang?
For me, two primary questions determine if I line these panels.
One, will the backs ever be seen from the outside? In this case, no. These panels will be stationary on the wall so the wrong side of the fabric will not be seen from the outside.
Two, is the fabric stiff enough to hold a pretty drape down the wall by itself? In this case, yes. This is a medium weight cotton/polyester blend gathered at 2.7 times the window area width. There is more than enough fabric to hold a nice drape.
BACK TO THE LABEL. Does the panel you are considering need lining?
Hint Number Four: Buy enough panels. Better to return extra than to not buy enough.
OK , so the panel for each side of the window is 84 inches long, but we need 108 inches of finished length floor to ceiling. This means we need to buy one extra panel, cut it to get the extra fabric, and add that fabric to each of the other two panels.
Ecccck! But... all the math is spelled out
And...Yea. Sorry. It's the "S" word........but, no can be no-sew if you want.
First, open up the hem and press out all of the wrinkles.
Then, lay the panels out and remeasure how much fabric length is there.... and subtract that from how much total length you add in for seams and hems. Then cut the fabric piece from the extra panel and attach it to the main panel. Either sew it or use fusible bond.
Don't worry.. a step-by-step math tutorial is
Then, add weights.... before attaching the hem. Coins, galvanized washers, etc., anything that is flat, slightly heavy for the fabric, and won't corrode. Weights can be added across the bottom of the hem wherever you like. I always place a weight at right and left sides of the panel. Then add some more across the middle of the hem if the fabric isn't holding the drape very well.
And, one other thing when shopping for the panels. Sometimes it is hard to visualize how a fabric will look with your decor. I found this fabric to work with just about anything. Like garden.
Or casual.
Or glam.
The main thing is to take your time, think through the process, and have a lot of fun. And, remember...for a good end really is.....all about the drape....bout the drape....bout the drape.
Make it drape... like a pro.
You can do it.
For all of the math and sewing details, please visit the blog. It's always a pleasure to assist you with projects. Please, don't hesitate to forward comments or questions.
And, I hope you will catch the full room reveal on May 2
Many thanks.

Susie @ The Chelsea Project Blog
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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