When we first moved in the living room windows were dressed with professionally made window treatments. A thick, burgundy curtain was accompanied by a sheer white overlay. The curtains were pulled back by a pulley system, and rested on a bronze curtain rod. While there are certainly worse window treatments, these did not fit my farmhouse theme, and seemed quite mature for us newlyweds.
After moving in the first thing I did was paint my living room the blue color you can see to the left (Polaris from PPG paints). In preparation to paint I took down all of the curtains, and only ever put the burgundy ones back up. It’s amazing how much curtains alone can do to make a space feel darker. I’ve been yearning for something lighter and airier. But alas, we are on a tight budget and decent curtains generally are an expensive undertaking. I figured I was out of luck and would just have to deal with my dark living room. . . that is until I was surfing on Pinterest one night and learned about drop cloth curtains. Genius, right? There are tons of tutorials to make drop cloth curtains, and I made my own based those described in different blogs that I read. While there are no sew options, I by far preferred the look of the sewn ones. Because there are so many How to Make Drop-Cloth Curtains articles out there I will just give a basic tutorial, and some tips and tricks I learned along the way.
- Drop cloths – I ordered these from Amazon. Be sure to measure your windows before hand. I wanted mine to still ripple a bit when they were closed so I doubled the width needed. Order two cloths for each window to cut down on hemming.
- Pleater/Curtain Tape – This can be bought by the yard from Hobby Lobby, or you can order these from Amazon. Again, make sure to get the correct length (I accidentally got only enough for two of the four curtains I was making).
- Pleat Hooks – These four pronged hooks are the star of the show. Instant pleats, but more on that later!
- Sewing Machine & Supplies – Pins, pins, pins!
The sewing process really is straight forward. Spread the drop cloth out on the ground and decide which edge you will hang. Before pinning the pleater tape down be sure that the tape is oriented the correct way-that is the pockets which the hooks will go into are away from the edge.
Pin the tape as close to the edge as possible, but don’t let it be seen from the front. Once everything is pinned cut the tape down to size. Sew along the top and bottom of the tape. Start with the top, and sew it tape down, this way you can sew along the hem line and get a cleaner looking result, and because you pinned everything down the tape won’t run away from you!
After sewing your first long, straight line flip it over and sew the bottom edge with the tape facing up. When sewing the bottom hem make sure that the tape is pulled tightly, you don’t want any bubbled-up-tape or uneven lines! Also, don’t sew over those pockets!
While you’ve got the machine busted out you can also hem the bottom of your curtains to the desired length. I opted to hang mine up first, and then pin the hem to my desired length. Maybe still you want to let it pool, and that is a-okay!
When everything is sewn the real fun begins! Grab those pleat hooks and play around a bit until you get your desired look! Inserts the four prongs in spaces right next to each other, or only use two of the prongs-its totally up to you! Do the math and figure out how far apart (or close together) you can place the hooks. I chose to space my hooks four pockets apart, and each hook used up four spaces right next to each other.
If those wrinkles are making you cringe feel free to take an iron to it. However, I have discovered that the wrinkles work themselves out fairly quickly after the curtains are hung. If ironing can be avoided I say avoid it. After this your curtains are ready to be hung! Quick and easy right? I also spray painted those old brass curtain rods a fresh copper color. Not a big difference, I know, but I am crazy about copper accents right now! If I get tired of the metallic curtain rods I can easily spray paint them again.
What do you think? Besides the low quality pictures (how do you take decent pictures of a window anyway?). Let me know in the comments below!