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Unlined Pinch Pleated Draperies

Last night I came across some pictures for a tutorial that, for some reason, I never wrote!  This is a bit of a blast from the past, but do you remember Gwen’s bathroom makeover?  She had a shower with a brass frame, and to camouflage it a bit, I made an unlined pinch pleated drapery panel with a contrasting fabric band along the edge to use as a curtain in front of the shower.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

So if you’d like to know how to make your own unlined pinch pleated curtains, here are the details:

Tools & Supplies:

  • Main fabric for drapery panels,
  • Contrasting fabric for accent band on bottom of panels,
  • Coordinating thread,
  • Crinoline (aka, buckram),
  • Drapery hooks (aka, drapery pins),
  • Sewing needle,
  • Scissors,
  • Thimble (optional),
  • Iron,
  • Tape measure, and
  • Sewing machine.

 

Instructions:

1.  Determine how much fabric you’ll need.  I suggest hanging your drapery rod, with the rings, before making draperies.  Then measure from the bottom of the drapery rings to the floor.  This will give you your finished length for your drapery panels.

For the contrast fabric band:  You’ll need the desired height of the band, plus 3 5/8 inches.

For the main fabric:  You’ll need the finished height of the draperies, minus the desired height of the contrast band, plus ten inches.

If you’d like to make your panels double width (as I will show in this tutorial, and which I strongly recommend for wide windows) then double the amount of each fabric.  Please note, this is how much you’ll need per drapery panel.

If you’re making single-width drapery panels, skip to step #4.

2.  Take the main fabric, and sew the two widths together lengthwise, matching the pattern if necessary.  (I had to match the pattern on this fabric, which is why the seam is so far over on the fabric.)

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

3.  Also sew the two widths of contrast fabric together lengthwise.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

4.  With the right sides of the fabric together, pin the top edge of the contrast fabric band to the bottom edge of the main fabric.  Sew together with a 5/8” seam.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

5.  Because these draperies are unlined, I suggest finished off all of the raw fabric edges on the seams by doing a zigzag stitch right next to the seam, and then trimming off the extra fabric.  This makes the seams look cleaner, and also prevents the exposed raw edges from fraying.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

6.  Along the bottom edge of the panel (on the contrast band), with the back side of the fabric facing up, fold the bottom edge of the fabric up 1.5 inches, and then fold again another 1.5 inches to hide the raw edge of fabric.  Pin the hem in place.  Then do this very same thing on both side edges of the drapery panel.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

7.  With the bottom and side hems pinned in place, and with the drapery panel lying flat, use a tape measure to measure up from the bottom edge of the drapery panel and mark the finished length with several pins.  With the finished length marked in several places across the top, fold the fabric along the marks and re-pin.  Iron this fold in place.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

8.  With the back side of the fabric facing up, remove the pins along the top of the panel.  This is optional, but I could only find 5” crinoline, and I wanted a smaller header on my panel, so I cut the crinoline down to 3”.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

9.  Starting at one side, place the top edge of the crinoline along the ironed-in crease.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

10.  Fold the flap of fabric down over the crinoline.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

11.  Then tuck the raw edge of the fabric under the bottom edge of the crinoline and pin in place.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

12.  At this point, all four edges of the drapery panel should be pinned in place (no raw edges of fabric showing).  Sew the sides and bottom edge about 1” from the edge of the drapery panel, and sew the top of the panel about 1/4” from the bottom of the crinoline.  Remove all of the pins.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

13.  Now it’s time to mark where the pleats will go along the top of the drapery panel.  On my panel, the spacing worked out to about 4.25 inches.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

Whether you’re using a single width of fabric, or two widths of fabric, you want to end up with an odd number of sections (using an even number of pins), with each section as close to 4” wide as possible.  Every other section will be a pleat (do not pleat the first or last sections; start pleating on the second section—see picture below).

I don’t recommend trying to pleat a section that is less than 4” wide.  The fabric becomes very difficult to work with.  If needed, you can make the pleat sections and the non-pleat sections different widths.  For example, if you need to make the pleat sections 4”, and the non-pleat sections 3.75” in order to end up with enough sections, that’s fine.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

14.  Once you’re clear which sections will be pleats, begin on the first pleated section and fold in half (with the back sides of the panel together) so that the pins on either side touch.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

15.  Starting at the pins, sew parallel to the fold from the top of the crinoline to the bottom of the crinoline.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

16.  Repeat this on all of the pleated sections.  The panel should look like this.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

17.  To finish the pleats, pinch the top portion of the fabric along the fold, and push it down through the middle so that two other folds form, one on either side.  (Sorry for the blurry picture!)

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

18.  Now bring the two new folds forward, and pinch the pleat together from top to bottom to permanently crease the crinoline and form the triple pleat.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

19.  Sew the pleat in place.  I always sew my pleats in place by hand with a needle and thread (and a thimble to save my fingers, because pushing a needle through that much fabric can be painful!!).  On this particular panel, I decided to sew the pleats at the top.  This is called a Parisian pleat.  If you prefer a standard pinch pleat, sew closer to the bottom of the crinoline.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

20.  Repeat this on all of the pleat sections until they’re all triple pleated.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

21.  Now you’re ready to insert the drapery hooks (drapery pins) into the back of each pleat, and hang your drapery panel!

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

I’m generally not a fan of unlined drapery panels, but when I’m using them in place of a standard shower curtain, I never line them.

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

diy project--how to make unlined pinch pleated drapery panels with contrast fabric band at the bottom

Don’t pretty draperies make everything better?  I sure think so!

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashley
    November 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Great tutorial! I may need to use this for making drapes for my living room, since no-sew shades are out of the picture.

  • Reply
    Terri Roberts
    November 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Great tutorial – as usual! 

  • Reply
    גירושין
    November 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

    As always I love your tutorials.
    Makes everything much easier.

    Thanks,

    Sandra

  • Reply
    Di
    March 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I have been wanting to create drapes. I have searched web extensively on the matter and I found your method of explaining it the best. I am a new fan. 🙂 Please post a tutorial on lined pinch pleat curtains also… if it is not too inconvenient that is… Thanks bunch and will be checking your blog regularly.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    June 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Hi there,

    Thanks so much for the description. I would like to create pinch pleated curtains for my windows. Only problem is that the windows are angled, and I’d like the pleats to fall vertically and perfectly! Do you have instructions/basic pattern on how to deal with this for curtains for an angled line?

    Regards and thanks,
    Michelle

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