How To Make Double-Width Lined Pinch-Pleated Draperies – Part 1

Okay, my friends. The time has come. I’m going to need for y’all to form a single-file line and make your way to the front of the room where I’ve conveniently provided a trash can. In that trash can, I’m going to need you to place the iron-on hem tape that you’ve been using the make “no-sew curtains” because after today (well, actually…after tomorrow), you won’t be needing that anymore, mmmkay? :-D

And if you won’t relinquish it freely, don’t think for a second that I won’t wrestle you to the ground for it. :-D

In all seriousness, it pains me to see adults wasting their time and money on “no-sew” treatments held together by tape, glue, and whatever else, all because they’ve convinced themselves that using a sewing machine is way beyond their skill level. That’s nonsense. If you can drive a car (i.e., you know when to press the gas to go faster, when to let up to go slower, and have the hand-eye coordination to press the gas and turn the wheel to steer at the same time) then you possess all the skill that’s needed to use a sewing machine.

So let’s leave the tape, glue, and other adhesives for the college girls fixing up their dorm rooms, and let’s make ourselves some real, quality, adult-worthy lined draperies, shall we? :)

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure how much yardage of fabric you need.

In this tutorial, I’m making each drapery panel two widths of fabric, and I will have two drapery panels for my window (one for each side).

Figure fabric yardage and cut your fabric and lining pieces:

So to figure yardage, take your finished length (for 8-foot ceilings, I usually make my drapery panels 92 inches long) and add 16 to 18 inches to that number for hem and header.  That will give you the length of the fabric pieces you need to cut.

For my drapery panels, I cut four pieces of fabric to 108 inches long.  (Note that if you’re using patterned fabric, you need to match your patterns!!  That means that you’ll need to take the pattern repeat into consideration when figuring how much fabric to order, and how long you need to cut the pieces of fabric.  See this tutorial for details on figuring yardage for fabric with a vertical pattern repeat.)

Fortunately, the vertical repeat on my fabric was exactly 36 inches, so I didn’t have any wasted fabric trying to match patterns.

Then I also cut four pieces of drapery lining to 108 inches long.  My favorite drapery lining is Roclon Budget Blackout drapery lining that you can find at JoAnn Fabrics.  Don’t forget to use a coupon!

Sew the pieces together for double-width panels

Next I sewed two pieces of fabric together, matching the patterns.

how to make double width lined pinch pleated drapery panels - 1

And then I ironed in the seam.

*Sewing tip:  When you’re going to iron a seam open, always iron it flat first like this…

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And the open up the fabric, open the seam, and iron the fabric along the seam from the back…

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Then flip it over to the front and iron the seam.  This will give you the most perfectly flat and pretty seams possible.

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Hem the fabric:

I know it sounds backwards, but the first step in sewing drapery panels (other than sewing fabric together for double-width panels) is sewing in the hem.

So working along the bottom edge, and with the right side of the fabric facing down, I turned up the edge of the fabric four inches and pinned along the bottom fold, ironing in the fold as I went along.

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And then I came back and turned it up another four inches, and pinned along the top.  Again, I ironed in the folds as I went along.

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And then I sewed the hem using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine.

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I won’t go into details here about a blind hem stitch, but I shared in much greater detail on the Roman shade tutorial here.

Right after stitching the hem, there’s always a noticeable crease in the fabric along the stitched area like this…

how to make double width lined pinch pleated drapery panels - 8

But after it’s ironed flat, the stitching should be virtually undetectable.  (Thus the name “blind hem stitch.”) :)

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Prepare the sides of the fabric panels:

Now that the hem is finished, I started working on the side edges of the fabric panel.

I started by cutting off the selvage.  (This is optional, but I think it allows for a smoother finished product with less chance of pulling and puckering along the edges.)

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Next, with the fabric right side down on my work surface, I turned the edge up 1.5 inches and pinned and ironed in place.

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And then I turned it up another 1.5 inches, and pinned and ironed in place.

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Then I repeated that process on the other side edge of the fabric panel.

With that done, I was ready to set the fabric aside and work on the lining.

Prepare the drapery lining:

Next I pinned and sewed to pieces of drapery lining together to form a double-width panel, just like I did with the fabric.

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And just like with the fabric, I ironed the seam flat…

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Then opened up the lining and ironed the seam open from the back…

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And then turned it to the front and ironed the seam…

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Hem the drapery lining:

Working along the bottom edge of the lining, with the right side of the lining facing down, I turned up three inches and pinned and ironed in place.

how to make double width lined pinch pleated drapery panels - 17

*Note:  When working with blackout lining, you’ll notice that one side has more of a fabric feel, while the other side has more of a rubbery feel to it.  The softer fabric side is the “right” side of the lining (i.e., the front) and the rubbery side is the back.

Then I turned up the bottom edge another three inches and pinned and ironed in place.

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And then I stitched the hem in place on the sewing machine.  Note that I never go to the trouble of doing a blind hem stitch on lining.  I personally don’t see the point since the lining is almost never seen.  I just stitch right on top.  But if you want to be a perfectionist, you can do a blind hem stitch on the lining also.

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Attach the lining to the fabric:

With the lining hemmed, it’s time to attach the lining to the fabric, and when you’re making double-width drapery panels, it’s very important that the center seam on the fabric lines up with the center seam on the lining.

I always start right in the middle along the center seam, and I start at the bottom.  First I measure up from the bottom of the fabric three inches, and that’s where I start the lining.

I pin the lining at the bottom, and then work up along the center seam and pin the lining to the fabric.  I always make very sure that I’m smoothing out both pieces so that they lie perfectly flat against each other, and I make sure the seams are perfectly lined up.

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And I continue working up the center seam until the two pieces are completely pinned together along that seam.

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Next I smooth out the fabric and the lining.  (Note that I only work on one side at a time.  I’ve never had the luxury of having a work space large enough to completely spread out a double-width drapery panel.)

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Since the lining extends past the edge of the folded fabric edges, that means that the lining needs to be trimmed.

So I trim off the extra lining so that it comes right to the edge of the fabric (actually about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch narrower than the fabric).

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And then I can unfold the edge of the fabric, tuck the lining under the fold, refold the fabric, and pin everything together.

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Then that whole process is repeated on the other side.

And finally, I used a blind hem stitch on each side to sew the side fold.

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Again, you can read more detail about a blind hem stitch in this post.

And with that, all of the raw edges of the fabric and lining should be completely hidden along the bottom and side edges.  That just leaves the top edges.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to finish up with the header and pleats.  I’m hoping to have my draperies finished today and hung by the end of the day, so I’ll also show you how to hang draperies the professional way.

So far so good, right?  Are you feeling a little less dependent on that iron-on hem tape now?  I told you it’s not difficult!  You can do this!  :)

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Comments

  1. Kim says

    This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for such great instructions! I DO feel like I can make my own now! Time to dust off the Bernina!

  2. Carla says

    Those are beautiful. I confess to being a hem-taper! Several years ago, I bought a nice older portable sewing machine at a yard sale for $4.00. I had my mom sew on it just to make sure it worked, then my plan was to sew simple things. It’s not the sewing I have a problem with. It’s that you have to be an engineer to get the darn thing threaded! Under, over and around the 8 or 10 obstacles. And you have to know whether the thread goes in from the front or the back. And does it go clockwise around the thingy or counter-clockwise? I even had my mom draw me a diagram and I can’t do it! So I gave up.

    • Maggie says

      Your post made me laugh because I think I would have made a lot more things over the years, except for the threading of the dang machine and the changing threads. Then while looking at and dreaming for a new machine,I noticed they had numbered the channels for the thread and the bobbin case actually showed the way the thread goes. I was so excited I went home ,got a magic marker and did the same thing to my old machine. It works like a charm …..and that is why I like this site, Kristi make it all look so easy that I actually try some of the things she shares.

  3. Alta says

    Super easy instructions, Kristi! I’ve made lined drapery in the past, and your instructions are the easiest I’ve seen. Looking forward to seeing the finished result!

  4. Charlsie says

    I am so excited to see this post. But give up my hem tape!! All my bed skirts, drapes and heck, even clothes have hem tape. Sewing machines are scary. I can’t seem to keep a straight line. I am also overwhelmed by fabric types. What is the best fabric for drapes? Thanks for the lining suggestion. I am willing to try. Because of you, I refinished my wood floors myself. If I can operate that sander.. a little sewing should not scare me. Thanks for all the inspiration! Courage too, you keep convincing me I can do it.

  5. Sue says

    Beautiful tutorial! I agree completely with geting rid of the iron-on hem tape, duct tape etc that they want you to use for no sew items. Sewing is easy for home use and its very satisfying to make something of quality for your home or yourself. I recently saw a tutorial on how to make a sweatshirt into a cardigan using fashion duct tape. It looked nice but at the end of the tutorial is said “Do not wash in a machine because the tape will come off.” Do you want to replace it each time you wash it? I don’t think so! With hem or wide bias tape you could do the same thing and you wouldn’t have to worry when you wash it. Can’t wait to see your draperies complete and hung in your living room.

  6. A says

    Charlsie, the trick to keeping a straight line is to line the fabric up with a piece of tape on the edge of your machine, and just like when you’re watching well forward of your place on the road in a car, watch well forward of the needle when you sew.

    Great tutorial, Kristi. You look familiar, I liked your Roman blind tutorial, but ended up making unlined ones with rods for stiffening. Leaving the bottom of the lining loose is so key to getting them to hang nicely.

  7. Kim says

    I’m excited to see this post and I love how easy and detailed your instructions are. JoAnn fabrics opened a new store in my town this week (the closest craft and fabric store was previously 2 hours away) and my husband just surprised me with a new sewing machine! I’ve never had one before, but when I read your tutorials I feel confidant I can try making my own! Thank you! I love all of your ideas and helpful hints. Now to go pick out some fabric!

  8. Susan Clark says

    Well, I read it all twice to try to be sure I wasn’t missing anything…what about squaring the material? That is the step that has prevented me from dealing with large pieces of material. A loooong time ago, I made (or tried to make) some short tiers for my baby’s room and when the two panels were closed, they each ran down hill toward the center of the window along the bottom hem. I never knew what I did wrong. I know my quilting starts to get all wonky when my strips aren’t cut from squared material. So I’m stuck!! Help me get past this point please, and I’ll have the nerve to make my first cut on that expensive material! Thanks, Kristi!

    • Andrea says

      My issue is fabric wrangling. Tutorial is a hair too late for living/dining area- but… there is always my craft den and it’s one big window. That seems more doable. :D One window… something to get my toe wet on DIY window coverings… (the pane of my existence) ;)

      • Debbie says

        Go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy a dry wall square. Not super expensive. I think under $20. They’re 48″ wide (home dec is usually 58″) and are shaped like a big T. Lay the shorter end against the side of the fabric with the longer side going across the fabric. Chalk a line to cut.

        Just make sure that the fabric is fairly straight to start or even then you’ll have crooked panels.

    • rebecca says

      i always square my fabric by making a small cut with scissors and then tear the fabric, or pull a thread through to make a straight line through the grain(there is probably a better way to describe though). great pictures Kristi, makes me want to redo my unlined pinch pleated drapes with lining.

  9. Qusie says

    Great tutorial! If you have time at some point, I’d love to hear how you decide on thread type/color. Do you just select a color that is close to the background of the fabric? Also, there are so many types of thread – which is best for these and other home decorating fabrics? Thanks!

  10. Kismet says

    You know, people that do things well often can’t figure out why the rest of us can’t ‘just do it’. But I am here to tell you I was lost after the first 2 paragraphs. I can’t even BUY fabric. Don’t you have to take into consideration the fabric width? And the type? Arrggghhh. All so confusing. I did just recently buy a $70 machine from IKEA for mending and sewing a straight seam here and there. Sorry, it just seems overwhelming to me. But thanks for the lesson. :)

      • Carolyn Orbach says

        I’m with Kismet on this one. My Mother was a seamstress, she MADE dresses and trousers etc that people paid her to do. Not to mention she made ALL three of us girls everything we owned growing up. Except for our Levi’s that is. And we weren’t, by no stretch of the imagination, ever shabbily dressed. She could throw together a beautiful sundress in an evening for any one of us girls and she created the most bangin hip huggers on earth. I SOOO wanted to sit at that machine and turn out something. Anything. And dang it I tried! And she tried teaching me too. Alas, it just wasn’t to be. The patterns blew my mind, I had no clue how to figure the amount of fabric needed. I’m sewing handicapped.

  11. Diane says

    Threading is important. Grab you sewing machine model’s guide (or look it up on the internet) and know which side the flat side of your sewing machine faces (when you are putting it into the needle holder part) and make sure you have it inserted properly. Next, find out if you thread the needle from the right or left. Use a sharpie and write this info somewhere hidden on your machine, for example, flat in/right. NOW pull the bobbin thread up and pull both threads under the sewing foot and to the back. Make sure the needle is in the highest position and enjoy sewing. This will spare you having a thick knot of thread when you begin. I know it shouldn’t matter which side you thread from but it really does.

  12. says

    After all these years, I am not the least bit intimidated about sewing at all…I am however intimidated on using and threading a bobbin and sewing machine! I would sew everything if I had someone close by to thread the machine and keep me from throwing it against the wall in frustration! lol

  13. Susan M. says

    Can I tell you how dang excited I am that you’re finally getting around to these – so excited to see them hung! I do a fair amount of drapery sewing and had a question please Madam. I construct as you do, but was told years ago to make the hem of the side that leads into the window 2.5 to 3″ and the hem on the outside of the window the 1.5″ as you do. Guess maybe since some times you see the reverse when looking at a window and this provides a bit of the fabric rather than seeing lining? Have to admit I’ve cheated this if I’m struggling for an inch or two in width but generally try to incorporate into the calculation and finished panel. Since you have benefit of having taken a professional drapery class, wondered if this was mentioned? Also, do you recommend using weights?

    Thanks Kristi!

    • Sydney says

      As a professional drapery workroom I can say I have never made my side hems a different size. I actually have never known another workoom to do that either. I always do a 1.5 side hem on both sides. If you’re working with a single width panel and want to have as much fabric as possible in the drapery you can always do a 1″ hem on the sides. The 1.5 side hem is more of a guide than a rule.
      ONe little tip to help with the ironing in the hems is to take a file folder or other piece of thin cardboard and draw lines across it. ONe at 8″ one at 4″ one at 3″ and etc. THen just stick it inside the hem, bring the fabric up to the line and iron the hem right over the cardboard. It’s much faster and easier then measuring it all out with a ruler and you get nice straight lines.

  14. Genelle McDaniel says

    What a beautiful tutorial. Sounds as easy as pie. Not sure if I could stay in the floor long enough to do this, but I’m so very proud of you. And also very proud that you are not procrastinating any longer on those lovely drapes. Can’t wait to see them hung. Will making the sheers be as easy as you make the drapes appear to be? You are so blessed with so much skill and creativity. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  15. Jaybird says

    Hmmmmm….I don’t think I had better admit that I just “fused” 3 yards of flannel to the back of a comforter so it won’t slip off the bed……..again………ooops
    My curtains and draperies are all sewn by machine…..does that get me out of trouble????
    Your instructions are awsome, and those draperies will be beautiful!!
    Blessings to you,
    J

  16. LISA JANUSKA says

    I dunno….I’ve tried to use a machine. My Mom gave me her old Singer, it’s older than me, and that’s just OLD. Anyway, that thing is MEAN!! It won’t except the thread on the bobbin, (chews up the fabric) which I’ve been shown how to properly fill it and place it, etc…it’s been to the mechanic on a number of occasions when my DAD would use….yes the man would put a crease in his work uniforms back in the day – all himself!!!). It is just a hunk of metal with an old motor, that gives me shivers thinking about trying it again. I’m too cheap to buy a new one, for fear I won’t use it…..so I just get others to do what I know I could do myself. Am I a bad person for this….maybe, but my mind shuts down thinking about dragging that honker of a machine up out of it’s antique “Early American” cabinet, and giving it another try….it’s just plain MEAN!!! But I still would love to make my own curtains – some day…..

  17. natalia says

    I don’t know… I want to have nice draperies, and I agree these are the best. But then I would have to but a sewing machine. And where would I put that?

  18. Sharon says

    Hi Kristy,
    Nice and detailed tutorial. Thanks. I recently purchased about 20 drapery panels on clearance from $100/panel down to $20/panel. I have two huge back windows that I had to cover but although these panels were lined, they were not lined with blackout. I needed this not only for the darkness but also for heat retention in my Great Room (I live in Canada). I went out and purchased a few rolls of the thermal blackout and dis-assembled the panels, joined 5 together and then lined them. Big Job but I am so happy I did it. I have only one question however. You instruct that “the softer fabric side is the “right” side of the lining (i.e., the front) and the rubbery side is the back.”
    What exactly do you mean? Is the fabric side the side that is closest to the window or the side that is against the inside of the drape – unseen? I hope I did mine correctly.
    Thanks
    Sharon

    • Jeanne says

      The “back” side would be the “wrong” side of the fabric, and when constructing the drapes you would have the two wrong sides of fabric touching each other and the “right” sides would be out – meaning the soft-fabric side would be facing the window, like you mentioned. I believe that’s what Kristi meant. The “rubbery” side would be inside the completed drapery panel.

  19. BeckiB says

    I am so impressed at how much work you do on the floor. If I try to work on the floor, my knees hurt, my legs go to sleep, and I can’t get back up. Props to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Mary Stewart says

    SCORE! This is the tutorial I’ve been waiting for you to get started on! I recently purchased the house I grew up in from my mom. I’m in Texas and she’s in Michigan living in a second house that is 7 doors down from where I will be living. I will be heading that way in June to gut and redo my “new” house and I will be using a lot of your tutorials to make it beautiful again. The house is solid and was built in 1908. It has the original hardwood floors and they are still beautiful. They just need a good cleaning. I will be adding a fireplace following your tutorial to one wall in the living room and will add bookcases on either side of it. A month ago, when JC Penny had a sale on drapes, I purchased 10 panels. They are 50×108 in size and unlined. Original price $70 per panel. I got them for $17 each. I will be using your tutorial to line them. I’ve also have several pieces I will be painting (sofa and chairs) and I want to build an ottoman. I’m so excited! I’ve got my brothers/cousins on alert and they are reading your blog too. It’s going to be a breeze redoing the house because you’ve already tackles the projects I want to do and provided trouble shooting advice and shortcuts for your tutorials as well. Thanks for being a DIY angel and for sharing your gift with us. YOU ARE APPRECIATED!

  21. Diana W. says

    I’m SO EXCITED! I actually already have the material and the blackout lining, I was just waiting for inspiration to strike. Thank you for providing the best and most detailed tutorial I’ve ever seen! You’re the best!

  22. Laura says

    That fabric is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s not upholstery fabric, right? Picking out fabric is my biggest problem. Did it come from JoAnns??

  23. Jeanne says

    Excellent tutorial! When I made my pinch pleat valances for my dining room, I bought a book from JoAnne’s and had to read several different sections multiple times before I was confident I was doing things in the correct order. Having space to lay out the fabric is a plus! And the math involved in figuring out the spacing was tricky. Plus I had a fixed amount of fabric to work with (that I bought from ebay) so I had no wiggle room upfront when cutting the fabric.

  24. Betsy says

    Kristi, thank you SO much for such a fantastic tutorial! Your timing could not be any better, as I am preparing to participate in a showhouse and am going to try to sew my own draperies this time, as my budget is so tight. Your photos are super clear and detailed. I think I’ll start these in about 2 weeks. I am psyched!!!

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