The following is a post by contributor Tiffany Larson and is Day 27 of 31 Days of Sewing School.
Ever find a pair of curtains that you love but they aren’t quite right? You may not want to pass them by so quickly. With a few simple sewing skills, they can be exactly what you were looking for.
I recently moved into a new home and needed curtains measuring 100 inches in length. I wanted a neutral color and found a pair at IKEA that were very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, they had tabs on top which is not the style I was looking for. I decided to alter them to fit the style I wanted because the fabric and price were right.
Removing the Tabs
The first step is to remove the tabs. Use a seam ripper to remove the threads holding each tab onto the curtain. When you are done, you will have a hole at the top of the curtain where each tab used to be attached.
Pin each hole with one or two pins. Using a straight stitch, sew a single line of stitches from one end of the curtain panel to the other end along the top edge of the curtain closing the tab holes which will leave a nice looking top stitch.
Attaching Gathering Tape
Gathering tape is an easy way to create a pocket for your curtain rod or a place to put curtain rings.
Pin the gathering tape along the top edge of your curtain. Using a straight stitch, sew a single line of stitches along the top edge of your gathering tape to attach it to the curtain.
Then sew the bottom edge of the gathering tape to the curtain.
Make sure to back or reverse stitch both ends to close the stitch as you may be tugging on them in the future.
Choosing Your Style
I love the versatility the gathering tape gives you because you can choose between sliding the curtains onto a curtain rod (rod/pole pocket) or you can add curtain rings for a different look.
To use them rod pocket style, slide the curtain rod down the pocket made by the gathering tape. To create the “gather” in the top edge, you can pull the two small strings on each end of the gathering tape. Once you get the amount of gather that you want, tie a knot in the two strings.
To use them with curtain rings, you can either attach curtain hooks to the gathering tape or attach the curtain rings directly to the curtain (as seen in the photo).
One final note: if you think you may need to wash the curtains in the future, you may want to wash them first, before you do any sewing. This will help to eliminate any shrinkage problems once you’ve sewn on the gathering tape.
One of the best things about knowing how to sew is being empowered to be able to modify things to suit your needs and taste. I hope this post inspires you to look past small undesired details and see the potential of things. This is what I call refashioning— we aren’t repurposing an item to do something different with it, but simply altering the style.
Have you ever modified a pair of curtains?