Wednesday, March 3, 2021

How To Turn Ikea Curtain Panels Into Custom Looking Drapes

I've been slowly making my way through a long list of house projects that I want to accomplish and new curtains for our living room has finally been checked off the list!  When we decided to move our living room furniture into the new media room (more on that to come next week), I knew I wanted to brighten up this room a bit.  

previous living room curtains/furniture 

I loved the old curtains I had made, but they were dark and heavy, and this room doesn't get much light because of all the trees around our house so I wanted something much lighter.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do and could have purchased the fabric to make the panels, but I'd seen a few ideas floating around Pinterest of an Ikea hack and decided to order them and give it a try.  I'm SO happy I decided to go this route because I ended up with custom looking drapes for a fraction of what I would it would have cost if I made them myself and even less than if I had paid someone else to make them for me.  

When I shared on Instagram last week, I asked if anyone would be interested in a tutorial and got a lot of YES responses.  I didn't take the best pictures during the process because I was so excited to be getting them done, but I'll share as much as I can because if you can sew a straight line, you can make these, too! There are a ton of YouTube tutorials that show step-by-step exactly how to customize these panels. If you need more guidance than what I share here, you can always search for a video. 

The Ikea Ritva curtains come as a two pack in both 98 and 118 inch lengths which is great if you have high ceilings and what's even better is the price!  I got the 118 inch length pack of two for only $39!  They are called "white" on the website so I wasn't sure if they would work for me, but a lot of the reviews said they were more of a cream/off-white which is exactly what I needed.  

I debated adding lining to these because all custom drapes are lined and these do not come lined, but I opted not to line them because I really wanted the light to be able to filter through and help brighten up this room. To me what really makes them look custom is adding the velvet trim tape. They would look great alone, but I think adding the trim to them really helps make them look special!  

Because they are 118 inches long the first thing I needed to do was hem them.  The first step is to determine how long your panels need to be and then decide what size hem you would like. I went with a big 6 inch hem, but you could also do a 4 inch hem and have it look nice.  With a 6 inch hem you need 12 inches total extra length because you fold the bottom up once, then again and sew. The easiest way to hem is to fold over the bottom and iron it into place (measuring the length of the hem as you go) and then fold it again while pressing the hem and pinning into place. Lastly, just stitch a straight line across the top where you have pinned. 

bottom of the panel - 6 inch hem

The next step is to pin and sew on your trim.  I went with a 3 1/2 inch velvet trim tape, but there are SO many possibilities.  I purchased my trim at a local fabric store, but I actually found this velvet trim online, too!  I measured the length of my hemmed panels, added a little extra, and multiplied by 4 because I was going to be adding the trim on one side of all four panels.  I needed 13 yards total and it was $14.95 a yard, so not cheap, but I figure it's all about balance since the actual panels were very inexpensive! I layed out my curtains on a large flat area and decided that I wanted the trim to be placed 1 inch in from the side.  I pinned the trim in place the length of the panel (and folded it over the top and under the bottom of the panel).  Next sewing that straight line comes into place again.  Simply stitch along both sides of the trim, removing the pins as you go until the entire thing is secured.  

velvet trim pinned into place and ready to be sewn 

The last step is to add pleating hooks.  This is kind of a cheat way to achieve a pinch pleat look.  Generally, you can sew in pleating tape across the top of your panels. It has these tiny little pockets that you can slip THESE hooks into to achieve the pleated look. The wonderful thing about the Ikea curtains is that they already have pleating tape sewn in which mean one less step. They actually have three ways to hang them, but the pleating tape/hooks make them look the most structured and custom. 
back/top of panel with pleating hooks in place 

After slipping all of the pleating hooks into the pleating tape you are done and it is time to hang your curtains!  You'll need some curtain rings to put on your curtain rod. They make rings specifically for pleating hooks, but you don't need to spend the extra money on those because normal rings work just fine!  You just place each hook through a ring and they are secure. 

pleating hooks hanging on regular curtain rings 

This is the finished view from the front. This project is so simple and so worth it for the final look.  

If you don't know how to sew and want to do something similar, you can google "how to use iron trim tape" and see some tutorials for using THIS stuff.  It allows you to hem and add trim tape without sewing.  I'm not sure how well it holds long term, but it would definitely be worth checking out. 

Any questions? Don't hesitate to ask!

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