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DIY Greek Key Trim Curtains (Video: Create A Greek Key Design With Twill Tape Or Ribbon)

On Friday, I gave y’all a peek at my new DIY Greek key trim curtains in my living room (or curtain, rather, since I still only have one completely finished 😀 ), but I wanted to share more details about how I made them, including a video of how to create the Greek key design using twill tape or ribbon.

I’ve done several tutorials on various types of curtains and draperies — both lined and unlined. You can click here to see all of my window treatment tutorials.

My best tutorial for lined, pleated draperies is the one I did for the original living room draperies I made back in 2014. You can click the links just below to find that detailed, step-by-step tutorial. The tutorial is for double-width (i.e., two widths of fabric) drapery panels, but if you want single width panels, simply start with the “hem the fabric” step in Part 1.

I’m giving you those links because I’m not going to repeat the basic steps for making a lined drapery panel in this post. But I think it’s helpful to be familiar with the basic steps so that you can understand how the basic process changes when you want to attach a trim around the edge of the panel.

So for these Greek key drapery panels, the first thing I did is sew the two widths of fabric together (this one is actually 1.5 widths of fabric), and then I folded in the bottom hem, pinned it into place, and set the creases with my steam iron. But I did not actually sew the hem yet.

Then on the leading edge of the drapery panel (that’s the inside edge, i.e., the edge that would meet the other drapery panel in the center of the window if you pull your draperies closed), I folded the fabric three inches, pinned, and ironed the crease in place.

And then I measured from the bottom hem to the top of the panel, marked my finished length (my finished length is 89 inches on these draperies), and folded, pinned, and ironed the crease in place.

With those three sides folded, pinned and ironed in place, I turned the panel so that it was right side up. Then I prepared my twill tape by attaching the Heat ‘N Bond Ultrahold iron-on adhesive to the back of the twill tape. The twill tape I used is 3/4″ wide (I bought it here — this is the best price I found for large quantities), and the Heat ‘N Bond adhesive tape is 5/8″ wide (click here to find it on Amazon).

After attaching the Heat ‘N Bond to the twill tape, I removed the paper backing and then attached it to the drapery panel according to the directions on the package. I placed it two inches from the edge of the drapery panel on the bottom, leading edge, and top.

Then I placed painters tape just inside the first border of twill tape to give me an even spacer between the two stripes of twill tape.

And then I added the inner twill tape along the edge of the painters tape, creating a Greek key design in the top and bottom corners of the leading edge of the drapery panel.

I made the following video to show you the full step-by-step process of creating that Greek key design with twill tape or ribbon.

On the outside edge of the drapery panel (i.e., the edge opposite the leading edge), I attached the twill tape all the way to the raw edge of the fabric and trimmed away any excess. This ensures that the raw ends of the twill tape will be securely tucked inside the folded fabric on the edge and there wont’ be any raw twill tape edges exposed on the finished drapery panel.

And with the twill tape design completely ironed on, I then used my sewing machine to topstitch the twill tape all the way around the panel. This was the most time-consuming part of the process. I sewed both edges of the tape as close to the edge as possible, and it gave it a very nice finished look.

With the twill tape design completely finished, I then went back and sewed the drapery panel as usual, which is described in full in the other drapery tutorial links I gave at the beginning of this post. I started by sewing in the bottom hem. Then I attached the lining and sewed in the side hems. And then I added the buckram header tape to the top and finished the header with pleats. Again, all of those details are here and here.

So I anticipate that the main question will be, “Why all of the folding and pinning and ironing before attaching the twill tape? Can’t you just measure the flat fabric and allow for those hems?”

The answer is yes. You can certainly do it that way. The reason I go ahead and fold and iron in the hems on the bottom, leading edge, and top header before attaching the trim is because I find it more accurate to measure from the folded edge rather than a raw edge that hasn’t been folded. I also find that it’s harder to make mistakes or accidentally overlook a measurement (like getting in a hurry and accidentally allowing only four inches for a bottom hem rather than a double four-inch fold). If all of the folds are in place and ironed in, then you can be pretty sure that the placement of the twill tape is just right.

I’m pretty sure that these are the most time-consuming drapery panels I’ve ever made. That border certainly isn’t a quick and easy detail (not that it’s difficult, but it’s certainly not quick, especially with all of that topstitching), so I’m still not finished with my living room draperies. But I think it will be worth the effort when they’re all finished.

I love that the Greek key design is simple, and yet it adds a professional and custom look to the panels.

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy
    April 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Lovely work, as usual. and that purple fabric is exactly so the right tone. A bit misty, a bit moody, but not bruise-y and not bright. Perfect.

    • Reply
      Tami
      April 9, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      I love your description of the curtains! And I totally agree with you!☺️

  • Reply
    Sharon
    April 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

    The panel is gorgeous. Coming from someone who sews a lot, while the design may not have been overly difficult, it was tedious and time-consuming I can tell. You amaze me with your talents! Can’t wait to see all of the panels installed!!

  • Reply
    Sherre
    April 9, 2018 at 9:53 am

    The more I see of this purple fabric, the more I fall in love with it! The texture and color are both great. One of these days I’d like to relearn how to sew! I knew how when I was a kid but then stopped for 20 years.

    • Reply
      Linda
      April 9, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      It comes back just like riding a bicycle. You just have to practice a bit before you want to make something nice 🙂

  • Reply
    Cyd
    April 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

    This is one of those “so worth it” projects. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Theresa P
    April 9, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Really nice. So professional and custom looking. Great job!

  • Reply
    Lorin Small
    April 9, 2018 at 10:15 am

    So glad you got to work on your curtains, you do beautiful work. They are just stunning! Great tutorial as always. This space is really coming together!

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    April 9, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Kristi – These are lovely. Would you launder these yourself? If so, any special handling?

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 9, 2018 at 10:17 am

    First. super great job! As a retired professional, I have one comment. It is neither here nor there really, just a tip. Most workrooms sew the sides then the bottom hem so that drapery weights can be used if wanted. Thought I would mention it. Love your hard work!

    • Reply
      Marianne in Mo.
      April 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      That’s how I learned to do it too. I’ve done both ways, and it doesn’t seem to matter, since I usually know if I’ll be using weights before I start.

      • Reply
        Linda
        April 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        I kind of like it the way you did it because it means there is no opening in the side seam to be visible. Have a great day!

  • Reply
    Deb Morehead
    April 9, 2018 at 10:22 am

    You did a beautiful job. I just love them.

  • Reply
    Devra
    April 9, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Peeve certainly appreciates them!

  • Reply
    Rebecca B
    April 9, 2018 at 10:35 am

    This is off the subject, but how is Cooper doing? No more pee on the living room rug I hope? Poo is easier to clean than pee.
    On another subject, yes, the curtains look great. I cant wait to see them all finished and hanging up in the living room to see how the colors in the rug, sofa, and curtains all harmonize.

  • Reply
    Marilyn Canaday
    April 9, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I love the fabric and color! The trim is just beautiful! It is all going to look so pretty when you are done!

  • Reply
    Susan L.
    April 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

    These make the room! Such a beautiful color and accent to the rug and artwork, and the white band sets off the woodwork. Gorgeous!! And I love the calico posing on your mantel, too. So much fun when the “kiddies” roam into our blog photos. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laurie
    April 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Did you use an edge-stitching foot for all of that topstitching? It’s gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Laurie
    April 9, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Gorgeous! I love how these came out.

  • Reply
    Heather Gillett
    April 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Tricky detail, GREAT job!

  • Reply
    Zeita Reed
    April 9, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Love the fact that the mantle is the correct width for Peeve to perch..😏 And your use of the painters tape. By working with different mediums I’ve learned a multitude of ways to incorporate and cross use various aides to make the project a success. Thank heaven for painters tape! 😁. It is all coming together. You have come a long way, and it is very good. Bravo!

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you for this tutorial. I’m in the process of making a Roman shade & adding trim to it will be a nice extra detail.
    I’ve used all of your drapery tutorials to learn how to make my own. I don’t ever look at ready-mades any more. It’s more fun to get exactly what I want.
    Using a 48” wide table has got to be difficult when working with 1 1/2 panels though. That’s a lot of fabric hanging over the sides.

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It looks great and Peeve is cute as ever!

  • Reply
    Marianne in Mo.
    April 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Question – did the twill tape affect the sewing of the hems at all? I’m trying to wrap my head around whether the tape was involved in the hems or if it fell outside of them. Not that I will probably ever do this, as I doubt I have the patience, but WOW – the finished look is awesome!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    April 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    That panel is perfection, Kristi! So crisp and tailored and professionally done. Love the color of that linen, it’s very sophisticated, and of course since I love classic anything, am duly impressed with your beautiful Greek key design! Peeve is so impressed with those drapes that she had to jump up to get a closer look!

  • Reply
    Karyn M
    April 9, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    I love the drapes- they are beautiful! I can tell you are a perfectionist with all your projects which is awesome!

  • Reply
    Connie in NJ
    April 9, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    The drapes are beautiful and very nicely tailored. I love the video and your method for making the key pattern–I have to bookmark this!

  • Reply
    kate
    April 10, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Very tailored and chic, beautiful

  • Reply
    Sewducky
    April 10, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Got a question on supplies, how do you find less expensive painters tape? Basic blue 1″ and 2″ wide stuff, nothing fancy. Do you get the bulk pack when you run low (to be a future investment). My husband uses the 2″ blue stuff for his 3D printing hobby (on his print bed), it’s pricier than some lunches!

  • Reply
    Laura Murphy
    April 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Youve done it again! There have been several design elements (rug, wallpaper, curtains, etc) where you have done them with a bold pattern/ color and it has completely changed my outlook! I didnt there there was ANY bold wallpaper (or i guess stencil for you) that I liked enough to put in my home, and your music room walls changed that. And youve done it again for curtains! Despite having slightly different taste in decorating, I LOVE everything you do because of how well it works! I have learned so much from you and more than tutorials you have taught me that its okay to take risks with what you love and rooms can handle multiple prints/ colors if you balance them. Thank you for sharing your process and home! Ive followed your blog faithfully since you first left the condo, and its been my favorite website ever since!

  • Reply
    designdreamer
    April 28, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Love, love, LOVE the drapes!! Could you remind me/us where you got the fabric, please? Also, what happened to the video of how to do the Greek Key? (I guess it could be a problem on my end)

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