Office Makeover: DIY No Sew Curtains

We’ve really been cooking on the office makover. We finished up painting the ceiling and the trim and then we put together the big bookshelf that took over for three smaller pieces. How far we’ve come!

Yesterday I gave a little hint about what I’d be showing today.

Drapes! Rhymes with tapes! Or curtains! Rhymes with…well…not much of anything really, which is why I had trouble coming up with a rhyme yesterday.

The point is, even though we have blinds in this room, like in all our other rooms because they are required by our HOA, adding curtains always makes a space feel a little more finished. At least in this home office makeover, it was the difference for us between, “Um…maybe we made a mistake” and “Wow, this is starting to look really great!”

But curtains can be expensive and everyone’s “brilliant” tip that you can just buy them off the rack and have them hemmed at the dry cleaner? Yeah, well that’s likely to run you over $150 around the DC area before you even get to hardware. Try getting stylish curtains for less than $50 a pair. And the quote I got from my dry cleaner to hem curtains was $90. Sure its a steal over custom-made, lined drapes, which can run into the thousands. And maybe it’s different elsewhere, but even so that wasn’t really sounding like a bargain option to me.

Besides, at only 78″ off the floor, we were going to need to hem any store-bought curtains we found anyway. We fell in love with these from JC Penney’s new Jonathan Adler Collection. But with the Greek key frame, we weren’t going to be able to hem them to fit.

Jonathan Adler Curtains from JC Penney

Enter this very old DIY no sew curtain tutorial from Young House Love. Though they are not making curtains here. And after I watched the video, I still had a couple questions, mostly about how to cut the fabric and how to iron the corners. So even though everything most people would need is right there in that video, here’s a few pictures to take you over the finish line.

The first thing I did was order fabric. The fabric stores around here don’t have a great selection of modern geometrics and I knew I wanted orange. We found this fabric at (Premier Prints Shakes Slub Tangelo) for just $7.63 per yard for 4.5 yards after I found a 10% off coupon online. And per the video, I drove out to Joann’s Fabrics and bought some 7/8″ Ultrabond Heat n Bond Hem Tape. I ended up using about one and a half rolls so I’ll have some left over for another project.

When the fabric arrived from, the first thing I did was lay it out on the floor and measure, with the fabric doubled in half. I had just a few more inches than I needed, but I didn’t just want to cut off 2 inches because sometimes when they measure fabric at a store, they’re not super precise. As it turned out, I had 164 inches, not 162 like I expected.

Using a pair of sewing scissors, ones I keep specifically for fabric and that never cut anything else, I cut off the extra four inches. Then I cut a few inches along the top of my fold to get me started and ripped the fabric down the grain to give me two curtains panels. I had heard that this would give me a nice straight line and it turned out that was true. I’m much better with tearing than cutting a straight line.

Once I had two panels, I ironed them both. Dimension-wise, I knew I wanted my finished curtain size to be the width of the fabric minus the 2 inches I’d need for the hem (in this case, 52″) and 78″ high. So I had cut the entire length of fabric by four inches and halved it for two 80″ long pieces.

It’s hard to iron hem tape and take pictures at the same time, but the actual hemming was actually much easier than I had feared. Because of the geometric pattern, it was simple to keep the tape lined up, even when I was working with a cut edge that wasn’t always super straight.

And just like it says in the video, you lay the tape on the fabric, press with the iron and when that is bonded and cool, you pull off the tape backing, fold over the fabric and press to create your hem. Simple Simon!

The only slightly tricky bit was at the corners. First of all, I had to leave the iron on the corners a bit longer since it needed to heat and bond four layers of fabric instead of just two layers. And in a couple of cases, I guess I pulled the fabric a little too tight because I ended up with corners that didn’t match up, maybe by about an eighth of an inch. I just clipped them off so they wouldn’t show from the front once the curtains were hung.

We already had a $3 curtain rod and hanging hardware on hand from IKEA so we just used that to hang the curtains. Plus, we bought some curtain ring clips from Target, like YHL specifies in this post. We did end up needing a masonry bit and masonry screws to hang the rod, like we have with all the rest of our curtain rods. But a project that only required one emergency trip to Twins Ace Hardware for masonry screws instead of the usual three or four? I’ll take it! Oh and the finials are from West Elm several years ago. They match the ones we have in the living room. I bought an extra set when they went on clearance. I just love the Lucite!

So here’s the budget breakdown:

Fabric: $34.34
Hem tape: $6 (with some leftover)
Curtain rod and hanging hardware: $3
Curtain rings: $12.58 ($6.29 per package of seven rings)
Masonry screws: $0.50 (0.25 each)
Finials: left over from another project

TOTAL: $56.42

Not bad for a pair of curtains, huh? I also hung the Bjorn Wiinblad serigraph finally, after it broke my nice pot on Friday. I figured the next tumble might even be worse so I just screwed in two 50 pound wall anchors and got it off the top of the dresser.

More on that below the jump due to the mature nature of that print.

It’s shaping up nicely!

So here’s where we are now with the list to be completed:

  • declutter the space so we can see what we’re working with
  • knock out a few projects that are in the way (take apart the radio, sell or donate the old games and childhood memorabilia, figure out what to do with a big box of old trophies)
  • paint the walls, trim & ceiling
  • bring in different shelving, sell off current mismatched shelving
  • paint the “tool shed” and the cart
  • hang some curtains 
  • hang art on the walls
  • install a new light fixture
  • do something about the awful mirrored closet doors
  • add accessories that are currently in storage
  • add an area rug
Next up is painting my husband’s childhood dresser. I’m still going back and forth between painting it white to match the ceiling and trim, blue to match the walls, orange or stripping and staining it dark to match the other furniture in the room. Decisions, decisions!
Linking up to: Style Soiree!

The Koenigs Create

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