One fun thing about Hawk Hill now operating as an Airbnb is that I get to hear feedback about the house often. Of the questions I am asked, one of the most common is where I purchased the tiered, ruffled curtains in the grey bedroom, pictured here. The layers and layers of tiered ruffles of two different shades of grey satin create a lot of interest around these old fashioned double windows. Eyebrows raise when I pull up the fabric to reveal the unique method I used to create this luxurious look for a couple bucks instead of the hundreds it would cost to outfit the bedroom with commercially produced similarly voluptuous ruffled curtains. I love the romantic, elegant, expensive look of these curtains and the thrill that I was able to make them for a total cost of about $30!
These curtains don’t open and close, but in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add functional layered curtains behind these curtains so you can hang sheers, as shown below, or blackout curtains that tie back behind the gathered curtain panels.
This project creates an opulent window dressing on a budget- but does sacrifice function. The result of this tutorial is a stationary curtain that does not open or close. By using a double curtain rod or a single curtain rod paired with a tension rod (as pictured) you can hang functional curtains behind these window dressings. Thankfully the full coverage of these faux curtains means you can use cheap curtain rods rather than expensive decorative rods and finials.
Because my home has hard plaster walls and window frames original to the 100 year old construction, I’ve designed this tutorial using two boards underlying the curtains, leaving only 4 holes total in the woodwork, which makes this tutorial friendly for both older homes and rental homes where the window dressing will be temporary. If you’ve got drywall walls and are comfortable leaving dozens of tiny staple holes in your wall (easy to fill with wood-filler), you can skip the plywood base section of the tutorial.
Staple Gun (thumbtacks will work in a pinch!)
Needle & Thread (for sewing a channel for curtain rod)
2 pieces of plywood cut in 1’x2′ rectangles.
Drill, drill bit, & 4 woodscrews
1 bolt of fabric. Lightweight polyester chiffon or satin finish fabrics work best- thin, cheap fabric works well for this project!
ILLUSTRATIONS: apologies for the comical illustrations! I recently started experimenting with Graphite Crayons and am so in love I don’t want to doodle with anything else! (graphite crayons are a little like drawing with sidewalk chalk, but instead of chalk they are pure pencil lead which has a neat feel on a big sheet of paper.)
How To Make Ruffled Curtains from a Bolt of Fabric:
(Because I completed this project in my pre-blog era, I’ve sketched out my process rather than photographed the tutorial step by step.)
1. Attach curtain rod to wall. Always go larger than your window- especially for a statement window dressing like this one. I went about 6″ over the top of the woodwork and 8-10 inches wider on each side.
2. Attach plywood to sides of window. Don’t hang too high, as most of the ruffles will be placed 3/4-1/2 of the way down, rather than the top.
3. Unroll about 25ft of fabric from your bolt and sew a channel into the end of the fabric. With fabric still attached to the bolt, slip the end of the fabric onto the curtain rod. There’s no way to know how much length you’ll need, so wait to cut the fabric free from your bolt until you’ve styled & stapled your curtain.
4. Begin gathering up bunches of fabric and placing a staple underneath the fabric, into the plywood underneath. Allowing the fabric to spill down and over the staple. At this point it becomes all about styling and just moving and bunching and stapling fabric until you’ve created a waterfall ruffle effect. My advice is to not skimp on fabric or ruffles- it’s the opulent styling that creates interest, and that takes extra fabric.
5. When it feels styled well and sufficiently secured, cut your fabric free from the bolt and stitch a loose hem across the bottom.
6. Repeat with 4 to 6 lengths of fabric to create a romantic, flowing look.
Love the other set of curtains in this room? Check out my article on hiding a window behind a headboard curtains.