How to line drapes (with what you have)

August 28, 2013

I have a fun little project for you today – the afters aren’t anything earth-shattering, but it’s one of those to-do items I’ve had on the list (in my head) forever. And I did it without spending any money!

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m going room by room in the house decluttering (and cleaning). It’s taking me a long time. Eons. I don’t see an end in sight. Help. me. I have our bedroom and bathroom (and I’m ignoring our closet like usual) and then I’ll move on to the other floors. Working my way down sounded like a good idea when I was all gung ho about this idea weeks ago.

Anyway, part of the reason it’s taking so long is because I’m taking care of little (and huge) projects along the way. I try to ignore them but then I start twitching and I can’t concentrate and the annoying voice in my head goes “Oh it won’t take long, just do it!”

So I do. This is one of those. Our drapes in the loft/playroom/craft room have been hanging for a couple years, but they’ve really been pieces of fabric hanging, not drapes:

P. Kaufmann blue green fabric

It’s what I do. ;) It’s not the first time I’ve done this. If you don’t mess with the drapes you can’t tell too much. It depends on how much light pours in the window. These are a linen-like fabric so very light and sheer and they were looking kind of awful not being lined. Did anyone ever notice it? I doubt it. But it’s something that was bugging me.

So I went to my fabric stash for some lining. I went through all of it a few weeks ago and knew I had some bigger pieces. Well…I had two that were about a foot too short and nothing else that worked. And at this point I’m ready to do this thing so I’m racking my brain trying to think of what I could use.

I was about to just save it for another day (a non no-spend month day) when a light bulb idea hit me. (LIGHT. BULB. Name that movie.) I knew we had an extra set of cream sheets for our king-sized bed that we haven’t used in a long time. We have two sets we rotate and this was a cheap extra set we never use.

So I threw the flat sheet on the floor and realized if I cut it down the middle it would totally work. SCORE! I’ve seen this done a million times so it’s certainly nothing new, but it worked for me since I’m not spending on decor/DIY this month.

I figured I’d give you a quick how-to-line-drapes tutorial – but keep in mind I’m not a GREAT sewer. (Seamstress?) I just do things they way they work for me and they’re not perfect.

The big thing here – you need to lay your fabric with the print side down. If you’re doing a pillow, both printed sides need to face each other. When you’re done you’ll pull it back inside out so the good sides are out. This hides your seam:

how to line drapeshow to line drapes

I don’t pin the whole thing to start – just the top. I get that where I want it and pin it, then sew that part first:


Speaking of sewing. Do not be afraid. This is your friend:

brother sewing machine

I promise, if I can sew, you can sew. I’m not good at sewing. Not a great sewer-of-straight-lines. But the thing is, no one will notice your lines aren’t straight. YOU won’t notice. (Unless you’re sewing something with vertical stripes and in that case good luck to you my friend.)

Half the battle is learning how to get the machine threaded and it’s not hard. It shows you how to do it right on the machine and takes about a minute.

Then you sew. Like a boss:

how to sew

I love hemming tape, and for years I used just that. But we have animals and I found I needed to throw stuff in the washer occasionally. The hemming tape will actually hold up for a wash or two, but after that not so much. And honestly? Sewing may even be faster than hemming with tape and an iron. Once you get going it’s super fast.

You really want your lining to be slightly smaller than your fabric, so at the end you can iron the edges over so you can’t see the lining. Does that makes sense? You want the printed fabric to be seen from the side, not the lining. (I kind of help that along with the way I hang them too.)

The ironing afterwards took longer than sewing each panel, no lie:

how to line drapes

Here’s an idea of the different the lining makes. It makes them less see through, yes (you can get black out lining from the fabric store) but it also makes them fuller and they hang prettier:

difference between lined and non-lined drapes

Wimpy on the right, lined on the left.

Since I was at it, I took care of another quick little project. You can see in the pic above that the bamboo shades were hanging inside the window. I’m obsessed with getting as much natural light in this house as I can so I moved them up.

They now hang on the wall above the window:

hanging roman shades above window

It’s a little thing but it all looks so much better to me!:

lining drapes with sheets

I use the little clips to hang my drapes but hate seeing them, so I use this drapery trick to hide them from view. It gives your drapes the look of pleated ones (that are way over my head).

This room is way in between decor-wise, but at least for now it’s decrapified and clean. And the window looks nice. :)

line drapes with sheets

The “create” is coming down next. I think I need a break from words on my walls. ;)

So do you know how to sew? Have you ever used sheets to line drapes? I use sheets from Goodwill for my spray paint “tarps” occasionally – but I may need to start looking for more to use as lining. After a good wash of course. :)        

**You can see more about my DIY craft table here.

**The fabric is called Spring Vine Opal from P. Kaufmann.

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  1. I LOVE that fabric so much! I saw it at the fabric store and tried to magically get it to match my couch, but no dice. ;) Hopefully it'll still be around when we replace our couches in the spring! I love how you lined them. Looks great!

  2. Gah! You make it look so easy! I am so chicken when it comes to cutting fabric and sewing it. I have an entire roll of fabric to make curtains in my living room that has been sitting in a closet for a year because I'm too afraid of messing it up trying to cut a straight line.

    This post definitely makes me want to try! Any tips for cutting a straight line? LOL

    1. I would lay the fabric flat like it shows above and use a yard stick down the middle, use a crayon and draw the line, then cut where the line is. OR you can lay it flat, fold it in half and anchor it somehow by putting heavy things on the fabric, then cut wehre the folded part is.

    2. Ha! Thing is, the line doesn't have to be crazy straight -- when you hang them if it's a little off you won't see it. ;) Like Marie said you can fold it down the middle long ways and that will make it less width to cut. You can do it!!

    3. If you are cutting them in half like was done here, just fold them in half and iron the seam. Then cut on your iron line. :) I don't have any drapes than need lining, but I do want to line my bamboo blinds. That's my next project!

  3. I've been doing it for years...AND, sheets aren't JUST for lining...I've actually MADE curtains (and roman shades) from brand new patterned sheets! Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Very clever Miss Sarah!!! Don't you find when you set in your mind you can't spend any money it's when you get most creative!!! I wish I could sew, I can glue and I can bond fabric that's it! (: I'm jealous of anyone that can even do a straight line!!

  5. I learned to sew from my Grandma when I was just a kid, then I took 6 yrs of Home Economics in Jr. High & High School. I can sew things with & without patterns. I even made my own patterns for items I've sewn such as a Dracula costume for my kids (vest, pants & cape), fairy costume for my daughter, and western vests for my grandsons.
    Anything with a straight seam is the easiest. I've made curtains, valences, pillows, pillow shams, pillow cases, bedspreads, duvet covers, quilts, napkins, tablecloths, table runners, placemats, potholders (in the shape of Texas too), tote bags, purses, and reusable shopping bags (we have a plastic bag ban here in Austin). If you put your mind to it, you can sew it.

  6. So smart Sarah :) My daughter's curtains need to be lined since they are on an east facing window. She's tired of the light coming in at the crack of dawn!! I just put some off-white sheets in a bag for goodwill - going to get them out!! {Oh and the movie - despicable me - one of my favs :)}

  7. I have used sheets as curtains, just unpicked the seam at the sides of the wide hemmed end and stuck a curtain rod through. But when it comes to "the dawn's early light" showing through, I gave up and went to Wal-Mart and bought the rubber blackout 'curtains' -actual rubber colored, no fabric here, curtains. Cost $50. But I sleep really well now, in front of my east facing window.

  8. Sheets are perfect for lining! And I know what you mean about getting distracted...your curtains look better. tho. So, yay! distrations!

  9. Great job on lining the curtains! Sheets are my fav for lining! (Yes, I do sew.) Love the extra weight and fullness and no-fuss washing!

  10. Movie: Despicable Me

    I would like my reward in the form of a baked good....

  11. Great job! Love the fabric you chose. I've never mastered using a sewing machine, so I've done everything by hand. I used to break needles like crazy! My neighbor said she would teach me. Maybe now that I'm older I can finally get it... with age comes wisdom (or at least more patience I hope)!

    Take care,

  12. Sarah you did a great job! I love how they looked line! Thanks for all the inspiration. :)

  13. Hi Sarah, Thank you! I believe I can do this!! Judy


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