The Drapes!

Monday, March 28, 2011

So if you've been reading here for a while, or if you follow me on twitterthen you've probably heard me speaking about our living room drapes.  I decided that I was going to attempt to convert them from grommet to pinch pleat.  I'm a huge fan of Sarah Richardson.  She has done some amazing things with pinch pleated drapes, making me want to have some for our living room more than ever before!

I thought that perhaps this would be a fun project to tackle myself.  I sourced out the supplies and figured out that it would be much, much, much cheaper to convert our current drapes to pinch pleat than to buy new ones.

What was my plan?  I wanted to turn the curtains upside down, attach the pinch pleat tape to the original bottom, now top of the curtains and then to fold up the original top of the curtains (with the grommets) to cover the grommets and stitch to make it the bottom (still following?).  I always knew that I wanted to buy a new, thicker curtain rod and to move it higher up on the wall.  So when I hemmed the curtains, I simply folded up the bottom rather than cutting it, this proved to be key when it came to my plan because once all was said and done, the curtains would be the perfect length!

The idea sounded easy enough.  But!  I wasn't sure if my plan would work, and the fear of failing/ruining the curtains was really daunting and holding me back from trying my plan out.

Fear can be quite the pain in the you know what, can't it?!

I finally decided to go ahead and test out my plan on one panel, so I set off to the fabric store to purchase supplies.  This ended up being the toughest part of the entire project!   I hadn't ever seen the hardware to make pinch pleats and so I wasn't sure which size of this or that I needed.  I spent probably a good 30 mins looking at all of the options until I finally left the store with what I *thought* I needed!

So here we go....lots pictures to show you just what/how I did it!

the drapes in their original condition

for some reason I couldn't for the life of me find the hardware I wanted in I did the next best thing!  Bought them in white (at an amazing discounted price, 7 rings for $2) and spray painted them black 

pinch pleat tape, bought by the metre/yard at your local fabric store (found in a box) 

I did a lot of seam ripping with this project! Had to undo the bottom hem that I put in and then I had to take out the original bottom hem (now the top of the drapes) stitching because the pleat tape was wider than it.  So if I didn't take it out, I would have had two lines of stitching at the new top.

stitching pleat tape into place

I then folded up the new bottom of the drapes (original top) twice to hide the grommets

stitching the new bottom

so these are the little guys that gave me trouble...trying to decide which size to buy! who knew there were so many options!

they just slide into the little sleeves!  I love how you can make as many or as little pleats as you want.  they have some with several prongs, which will give you more of a pinch pleated look

and voila! the end result (sorry for the poor pic)!

I was really excited about the end result of this project.  As I mentioned in the beginning, I only did one drape at first.  I nearly cried once I hung it up to see how it looked.  I just couldn't believe that I did this on my own.  It was my own idea, I sourced everything out on my own and made the decisions on my own and the end result was exactly what I had pictured in my head.

So here's to trying ideas out, and even if they don't turn out the way you had hoped, it's so worth trying.  Because you really and truly won't know unless you do!

I'll be adding some of these pics to the Project Make It Flickr Pool!



  1. nice job, julie! they look great. i wouldn't know the first thing about making pinch pleat drapes, i had no idea there was a tape for that! i'll keep this in mind for our bedroom drapes :)

  2. thanks ladies, I'm happy that the idea worked!

    Lesley, I didn't know about this tape either until I read about it online...there are a few different types that you can buy, but because I didn't want tight pleats, this option worked best for me. It's really simple to use, which is a plus!

  3. Wow! They look so elegant. You literally turned the drapes upside down. Genius! I bet they now hang wonderfully because of the extra weight at the hem. Thanks so much for sharing the process! Such a great project tutorial.

  4. Awesome! I love it when things turn out just as you envisioned them. That's the best feeling!

  5. A truly ambitious project which I commend you on and you got fantastic results! Great job, thanks for sharing!

  6. Wow, what a fantastic idea, I never would have thought of that! They look really good.

  7. Julie, they came out great! Love it!

  8. thanks a bunch ladies! it's nice that my plan worked out...pretty relieved :)

  9. I have been looking for a tute on this topic and I am so glad I found you (I am Canadian too!).

    found you via One Pretty Thing.

  10. kj@letsgoflyakite ~ I'm so happy to hear that you'll benefit from this tutorial! I was so happy to be able to reuse the old drapes, fun project! thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. Great work and hello from a fellow AF wife ;)

  12. Pinch pleat drapes are one of the most timeless and elegant styles of window curtains. It give them a slightly formal look but they are versatile enough that the finished style of your window treatments actually depends on the curtain fabric you choose and the way you hang your drapes, including the style of curtain rods or poles. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  13. That’s awesome! I’m so amazed with what you’ve done, Julie! I could never ever come up with that idea. I wish I have your mad skills to convert our grommet to pinch pleat too. I want to try it, but I highly doubt that the result would be as fantastic as this. >.<

    Roxie Tenner

  14. Could you explain how you hung the pinch-pleated drapes? I can't tell if those are hooks or rings. I have some pinch-pleated drapes but am confused on how to hang them.



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