Monday, June 01, 2015

Playing With Drapes

The bedroom drapes were a yet again a "try something new" moment inspired by a dollar store visit.  I have an independent party/dollar store near me that I discovered a few months ago.  Amazing craft section!  But, in the hardware area they had a grommet press (like a hole punch) with tons of tiny grommets for $2.50.  I couldn't resist.  All I could think about were drapes.

What I Did

I pre-washed my fabric to remove some of the sizing and make it easier to pleat.  Each panel is roughly double the width of the window (like real drapes).  I then, using my sewing machine, hemmed the top, bottom and sides. 

I made rough folded pleats to determine where my grommets should go.  It really depends on the look you want for your pleat.  Also, in my case, the fabric was thicker, like upholstery fabric, so it didn't have a flow to it, therefore, tight pleats worked well.

Something New!

After placing my grommets and being left with a sore hand, I used my iron to press the pleats into the drapes.  I normally would have used my paint brushes to act as my pleater with my fabric soaked in glue water.  This time I wanted to see if iron pleating would be an improvement.  Also, the fabric is thicker and stiffer then normal, so I was worried it might not drape over the paint brushes.  I still wanted the glue bath to set the drapes and make the pleats hold over time.

Iron pleated

The Sticky Bath

I mixed about 1 shot glass worth (3oz?) of white glue into 1/4 cup of warm water.  

Then soaked the iron pleated drape in the bath, careful not to submerge the metal grommets.

I put strips of wax paper between the now wet pleats.  I was worried the drape would dry into a single pleat.

Then I placed the drapes between 2 books (covered again in wax paper).  Grommets were left out to stay dry.  After 24hrs I still found them rather damp, so I took the books away and lay them on a towel.  I think this is what caused a bit of the crumple in the drapes, but I was too lazy to fix it.

Science Sucks

What happens when water meets metal and they mingle for a while? RUST.  The thought didn't escape me.  No, I had the thought as the panels were soaking.  I literally ran down to my basement the following morning hoping there would be no rust on the WHITE drapes.  Incorrect.  I would therefore consider marking, but not grommeting, until after the drapes are glue soaked and dried.

While nicely pleated, there was some rust around the grommets.  I was able to grab some ivory coloured paint and touch up the fabric.  All was well!

Finishing It Off

I was smart (for once) and had found a dowel that went through my grommets BEFORE I started the project.  Did you feel the earth move?  I painted the dowel gold and fed the drapes on.  Very, very snug and lots of fiddling but I got them on!

I mounted the eye hooks into the wall.  The drapes are stiff enough that even if the drapes are tugged, the drape is tough and long enough to support the hooks from ripping out.  

Annnnnnnnd, you might say, but what do the drapes look like up?  Ha.  Forgot to take that picture.  Oops.  It will be in the bedroom reveal photos!


  1. The way you made them is ingenious! Sorry about the rust (I can hardly tell it's there though!)

  2. What size grommet did you use? Thank you. The curtains look great btw.

  3. Hola, desde Puerto Rico. Espero que alguien pueda traducir al ingles ya que yo no lo hablo. Me ha llegado la idea de intentar usar en reciclaje las toallitas que se ponen en la secadora como tela de cortinas. Hacer los dobladillos de costura como las cortinas reales, a maquina. Crear los grumets con lentejuelas pintadas de metalico. Hacer lo necesario para agujerear la tela para pasar un palo de cortina hecho en alambre fino pintado y cortado al tamaño adecuado. Al final de alambre puedo poner una bolita de pega como terminacion para darle estilo al alambre y creo que quedara igual. Si no queda, puedo usar un carton corrugado para formar los plits y ponerle hair spray para mantener la forma. Me voy a poner a buscar los materiales, a ver si lo logro. Si alguien ha tratado esto y no le ha funcionado o piensa que puedo hacer algo mas facil, agradezco que me lo diga.
    Saludos desde PR, soy Ana Santiago Moreno.

    1. English translation:
      Hello from Puerto Rico. I hope that someone can translate this to English as I do not speak it. I have come up with the idea to try to recycle dryer sheets as curtain material. Sew the hems like real curtains by machine. Create the grommets with metallic-painted sequins. Do what is necessary to pierce the material so you can pass through a curtain rod made of thin painted wire cut to the right size. At the end of the wire put a dab of glue as a cap to give style to the wire and I think it will stay fine. If it doesn't stay, use cardboard to form the pleats and use hair spray so they keep their shape. I am going to look for the materials and see if I can do it. If someone has tried this and it didn't work or you think there's an easier way, please let me know.
      Goodbye from Puerto Rico, Ana Santiago Moreno.