I had some fabric, purchased probably 2 years ago, in my stash ($4 a yard!) that was perfect for some short drapery panels. I thought I’d show you a few basic steps for a more professional look to your custom-made drapes.
Your windows will look best dressed in the appropriate weight textile. Home décor weight fabric is what it is for a reason- it looks best for home décor. Quilting cotton is fun and cute and all kinds of pretty, but it is really light and will not hang properly without lining and a weighted bottom. Lucky for us, a lot of quilting cotton prints also have a home décor weight option, like Amy Butler fabric. And her home décor weight is actually really, really light in comparison.
Does your fabric have a pattern repeat? As in, where does the pattern repeat itself? A good-looking drape matches the pattern on both panels. I didn’t have that luxury with my fabric here, but it was random enough that it won’t be too noticeable.
If you look at a custom drapery, the hem will be at least a double 4” hem (my mom had some super wealthy person’s drapes in her workroom where she had double 8” hems… wider hems = more fabric = more money, especially with fabric that is hundreds of dollars a yard. Absurd.), meaning the hem width of 4” is folded over twice. To do this, fold your hem up 8”, and iron.
Then, open that hem back up and align the bottom of your panel with the crease you created at 8”.
Flip the hem up one more time, and your raw edge will be concealed in your hem, snug against your original 8” crease. Iron it really crisp and pin.
BLIND HEM STITCH
The trick of a professional hem is to not have a noticeable hem at all. This is done with a blind hem stitch. When I was living in Utah as a poor starving college student, I made drapery panels and since I was borrowing a neighbors machine to do everything, I hand-stitched the hem to achieve this look. It was that important. My sewing machine now has a blind hem foot. Check your sewing machine foot stash and your manual, or watch this convenient clip (she is demonstrating on side hems, FYI) that shows how to do it. I used an industrial blind hemming machine for my panels, but I have used my Bernina foot (#5) plenty of times. It is really easy, and it still looks great.
Ignoring the fact that I haven’t ironed anything yet… I actually had the machine set to grab more fabric than was necessary, but once it was ironed, you couldn’t see anything at all.
All professional, custom drapes are lined unless someone asks not to have them lined. And there are a bazillion types of lining. I used regular, plain old white lining. Joann's carries most linings and they aren’t too expensive, especially with a coupon! But since I wanted to cut down the drafts, I chose to interline my panels as well. This lining is really soft and thick, like a heavy flannel. Silk drapes with interlining are just dreamy! But I don’t have silk drapes in my near future, so I’ll use it with my cotton :). You can also use Out-Black, or black-out lining, which is super for little kid rooms where you want absolute darkness for naptime. Hem your lining using smaller hem width (I did double 3”) and a blind hem.
The header is the top of the drape. You can add grommets, all sorts of pleats, or do fancy decorative stuff with your header. I was going to do large button holes and attach curtain rings through them, but opted to keep my panels un-cut and use curtain rings with clips instead. My header is simply another double 4” hem.
When you assemble your drape, make sure the fabric and lining are facing wrong sides together. You can’t see my interlining, because well, it is sandwiched between my fabric and regular lining. The lining should be an inch above the bottom of your fabric so it won’t be noticeable at all from the front, ever.
Wide side hems again! I did a double 1.5” hem on these, and it barely concealed my selvedge edge. These are also blind-stitched. We hand-stitch the thicker end sections, where the side hem includes the header and bottom hem. It is easier than breaking needles :) You can tell I did this when you look carefully at the picture.
I’m done now, and the curtains are hung. Since I didn’t black-out line my drapes, the sun still shines through when my blinds are open during the day.
Since my fabric is white, the light escapes a little easier. But since my girls are afraid of the dark, this is what I needed for their room!
But for play time and just plain aesthetics, these are perfect! I am so excited, and their room was wonderfully warmer last night.
If you are questioning my furniture arranging, don’t worry. We were just trying to see how another bed would fit in the room for a few months from now when the baby turns 2 and upgrades. I’m too lazy to stage the room before taking blog pictures, ha!
Anyway, try your hand at professional looking drapes. People will be surprised that you made them! Go for the Custom look instead of the Home-made look.
For inquiring minds, I had the rod (Kirsch) already from 4 years ago, I just purchased the ring clips at Lowes for $7 per pack of 7. And my husband complains that I hang on to things!!