Category Archives: Window treatments

Make custom curtains from store bought panels

Last time I updated you on our master bedroom was when we painted it like 2 years ago. Well, we recently decided that we needed new curtains for our master bedroom; and I promptly fell in love with these ones from Restoration Hardware for $2000.

restoration hardware curtains Ya, you read that right. $2000 for 4 panels. You’re probably laughing as hard as my husband did right now.  When I started searching around for something similar but cheaper though I came up empty. That’s when I started playing with the idea of making my own.  A couple of Youtube videos later and I convinced myself that I definitely did NOT want to make curtains from scratch. Damn that is a lot of work and still pricey.

That’s when I decided I would just alter some store bought curtains into custom curtains.  Specifically the Ikea Ingert curtains which are $40 a pair. Ikea curtains are great for altering. Remember when I added stripes to our family room curtains?

ikea ingert I obsessively stalked custom curtains on Pinterest and made of list of what I wanted my curtains to have.

  1. 2 finger pinch pleat
  2. Black out lining
  3. Hang heavy and straight

And here’s the materials I used:

The first step was ironing out the curtains. This took forever.

ikea ingert

Next, I laid out the ironed curtain on the floor and placing the wrong sides together put the ironed blackout liner on top. The blackout liner is slightly smaller than the curtain. custom ingert curtains

I pinned the two pieces together along the top and two sides. Then using the stitch witchery and iron I attached the two pieces together.

diy custom curtains

I attached all 3 sides together using stitch witchery leaving the bottom open.  Next, I made the pinch pleats. This is where you just have to play with the fabric to figure out what you want. Once I figured out how many pleats I wanted I pinned them together and hand sewed them.

diy pinch pleats

Here’s what they looked like from the front.

make pinch pleats

Once the pleats where completed I hung the panel from the new rods. Make sure that the rods are at the proper height and you like the way the panels hang from the rings. I played a while with this step as well.

Once the panels were hung I inserted pins where I wanted the hem to be. For me this was just gracing the floor. I then took the panels down and cut the fabric about 6 inches from the hem. I folded over the bottom by 1 in then ironed then folded the fabric to the hem and attached it to the blackout liner using the stitch witchery.

custom curtains from store bought panels

Before closing up the bottom I also inserted a drapery weight into the bottom hem on each side of the panel.

Here you can see how the new panels compare to the old ones.  Not only are they longer but they hanger straighter and stay open wider.

make custom curtains

Here’s a close up of the pleating.

diy dutch pleat

And here they are all done. I apologize for the terrible lighting. Taking pictures of windows is difficult.

dit custom curtains

And this gives you an idea of how much light the black out liners block.

add a black out liner

These pictures don’t so the curtains any justice, but we love how much more mature they make the room feel.

And as for cost:

Panels: $80

Blackout liners: $50

Everything else: $18

Total: $148

So while these curtains took me forever to  make (I did the work over a couple of weeks) the savings (over $1800!) sure made it worth it!

We have more plans for the master bedroom coming up!


I party with Remodelaholic

How to dress up plain white vivan Ikea curtains with ribbon stripes

Easy no sew curtain embellishment

As Cody diligently works away on the foyer wainscoting, I’ve been finishing up some last details in the family room before the big reveal. One of those details was embellishing the other wise plain white curtains (sort of like how I added the greek key trim to the curtains at our first house). Way back in September we hung the new wood shades in the family room then quickly threw up these plain white curtains that I picked up at Ikea for 9.99 a pair (Vivan). Seriously they are such a steal that I bought two sets even though I haven’t decided what to do with the other ones yet. Here’s what we’ve been staring at the last couple of months:

how to embellish white curtains I’ll apologize now for the lens flare on all the windows. I tried my best to minimize it but windows are hard to photograph.

Now the windows didn’t look terrible, but I thought I could add a little pizzazz to them with ribbon without making too big of a statement in the room. Let me also bring your attention to the unpainted conduit pipe/curtain rod as well as the frayed screen and storm shutters stuck halfway up.

Because the windows required a large curtain rod, and I am really cheap, I made one out of conduit piping and finials.  Before I started on the curtains I brought the curtain rod out to the garage and gave it a quick spray with the black paint left over from the fireplace doors project.

painting conduit curtain rod Now on to the curtains. I was inspired by these curtains that I saw on Pinterest to do three black stripes in different widths along the top portion of the curtain. I chose black because I wanted it to tie in with the frames on the wall as well as the fireplace doors. Here’s the supplies I used:

  • Black satin ribbon in 1 1/2 in, 7/8 in, and 5/8 in
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Damp cloth

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That’s right! This is a completely no-sew project! I started with the 1 1/2 in ribbon and lined it up with the seam under the pocket on the curtain. Because the ribbon was wide I used two strips of the stitch witchery. Stitch witchery is incredibly easy to use. All you do is place the stitch witchery between the ribbon and the curtain, cover with a damp cloth, then press a hot iron on top of it for 10 seconds. That’s it! Just make sure that your cloth stays damp enough to make steam.

now sew ribbon on curtains After I did the whole first row, I started the next row 1 1/4 in down using the 7/8 ribbon.  The hardest part of this project was keeping the lines straight.

striped black and white curtains Make sure to leave an inch or so overhang on each end in order to wrap it around to the back of the curtain. After I had finished the last row with the 5/8 in ribbon, I flipped the curtains over and wrapped the excess ribbon around to the back and secured it with more stitch witchery.

using stich witchery on curtains As you can see the curtains came out great! I love how they add just a little sophistication without really demanding any attention. I wanted the fireplace to stay the main focal point of the room.

no sew ribbon embellishment I think the stripes look like tuxedo stripes, especially with their satin finish, but Sophie calls them zebra stripes.

How to embellish curtain with ribbon You probably can’t tell, but we did finally remove the old torn screens as well as lower the storm shutters completely. Also, notice how much more substance the curtain rod has now that it has been painted black.

no sew curtain embellishment

Pssst….. the family room is finally done! Family Room Reveal


Blocking out the light with Bamboo shades

One of the many “benefits” of buying a foreclosed house is that it has absolutely no blinds. Granted, if we had bought a house with shades I probably would have changed them anyways, but I wouldn’t have been in such a rush to buy new ones if we had old ones. It winds up I very much dislike actually waking up with the sun, especially on weekends.  For a while our solution was to simply nail our old curtains up over the windows. It wasn’t very pretty, nor as you can see below was it very effective.


The family room also received a lot of afternoon light. And there was a desperate need for privacy at night. As a ranch liver my whole life it had never occurred to me before that living in a neighborhood of two stories meant that my neighbors could look right into my windows from their own homes despite the privacy fence.

family room

Even though we were up to our ears in other projects, we figured after 2 weeks of living like this that it was time for some actual shades. We decided on designview’s Maple Providence Bamboo Roman Shades from Home Depot for both the Master Bedroom and the Family Room.  I like the texture of bamboo and at $30-$40 they were totally in our price range. I decided to tackle hanging these myself on my day off and to take some pressure off Cody’s ever expanding to-do list. Luckily they were pretty easy to install. All you have to do is screw the bracket into the wood frame then the screw hanging down slides into the top of the shade and is secured with a twisty thing (technical word). I didn’t even have to bust out a tape measure and other than sore arms from holding up a power drill for 20 minutes, no harm was done to me either.

installing bamboo roman shades

I even managed to put up the curtain rod by myself, although it certainly would have been easier with two people. As you can see from the picture below I had to extend the rod with a conduit pipe to make it fit.  One of these days I’ll take it down and spray it all the same color.

conduit curtain rod

The curtains are Vivan from Ikea. They are only 9.99 a pair and are 98″ long! I couldn’t run the curtains all the way to the ceiling as I usually do because of the wooden beam, so I did have to hem the curtains with some stitch witchery. Down the road I have plans to jazz up the curtains with some ribbon like this.

Vivan ikea curtains with bamboo shades

Besides the functional aspect of the shades and curtains the room just looks so much more finished with them up. You can also see that I finally got around to hanging some new artwork to the right of the windows. For the master bedroom I outsourced the job to Cody (he managed to get it done in half the time it took me downstairs).

hanging curtains

Ahhh…so much better. While I love all the natural light in this house, I love not waking up at the crack of dawn even more. The curtains came from our bedroom at our first house.

master bedroom curtains

And while we haven’t really done anything in the Master bedroom (like paint and hang pictures) look how much better it looks already!

master before

Embellishing Plain Curtain Panels with Greek Key Fabric Tape or Trim

You’d have to be blind to not notice all the Greek key popping up in home decor lately. A quick google shopping search found these lovely items:

Greek Key Dhurrie Rug from Shades of Light starting at $79
Uttermost Greek Key lamp $249
Uttermost Greek Key lamp $249
Trina Turk Lime Greek Key Embroidered Pillow from Rosenberry Rooms $110
Trina Turk Lime Greek Key Embroidered Pillow from Rosenberry Rooms $110
Classic Greek Key Sheet Set from William Sonoma $359
Classic Greek Key Sheet Set from William Sonoma $359


I decided it was time to add Greek key to our house but I wanted something a little more economical, so in came our cheap plain curtains. I bought these curtain from Jcpenny’s years ago. They’re cream colored 95 in grommet top panels. I like them but after we installed the white wood blinds in the window I noticed that the curtain really began to fade into the walls. I decided to add some Greek Key trim to update the panels and give them a little more weight in the room. I decided on the Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon (60mm) in Denim Blue and Ivory from M&J Trimming. At 9.98/yd this wasn’t the most economical choice of trim but I loved the colors (they have 28 of them), I loved how wide it was, and I scored free shipping. I needed 5 yards to do two panels, but I figured that $50 was still less than buying new panels. If you are looking for something more economical though check your local fabric store. I found some pretty nice trim at Joann’s starting at $1.99 a yard.


60 mm Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon trim in Denim Blue and Ivory.
60 mm Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon trim in Denim Blue and Ivory.


  1. Plain curtain panels
  2. trim or ribbon
  3. stitch witchery ( I used the extra heavy made for trim)
  4. Iron
  5. Damp cloth


First, iron your panels if you havn’t done so already. Next, lay the panel out on a ironing board right side up. Roll it the stitch witchery where you want to add the trim. I added two row of the stitch witchery since my trim was so wide.


Now, place the trim on top of the stitch witchery where you want it to remain. Place a damp cloth over the trim and place an iron set on its hottest setting on top. Leave the iron in place for 10 seconds making sure not to move it. Continue placing the iron on top of the trim until you reach the end of your panel. Once I got to the end of my panel I wrapped the trim around the bottom and secured it to the back side with more stitch witchery to give it a clean finish.


Finally, flip the panel over and re-steam the back of the trim with the iron and damp cloth the same way you did the front. And Voila! You’re done! Wasn’t that easy?

Stitch witchery is a no sew option for embellishing plain curtain panels with trim or ribbon.
Stitch witchery is a no sew option for embellishing plain curtain panels with trim or ribbon.

I love how just a little bit of trim adds so much more weight to the curtain and the denim blue picks up on the blue accent wall that is perpendicular to this seating area. And since Greek key is all the rage right now I feel like it updates the space a little as well.

Decorating around an awkward window placement

Awkward window placement in the bedroom
Awkward window placement in the bedroom

Since we have a high headboard we opted not to put it in front of the windows and effectively block them, but if we put the bed on awkward window wall we ran into a similar problem of the bed blocking half the window. We could have removed the bedside table on the left and pushed the bed all the way to the left wall, but I have a serious problem with my master bedroom looking like a dorm room. I always prefer the bed to float against a wall.

Our king size bed blocks the window.
Our king size bed blocks the window.

Our solution was to hang curtains along the whole back wall which now masks the window entirely. I love the soft feel it lends to the room as well.

A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.
A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.