Customising ready made curtains is great way to inject some style into your room.
It’s cost effective, compared to have curtains made to measure. The challenge of working with the fabric available can also end up giving you a more creative, personalised finish.
I recently moved house and made use of a pair of ready made curtains I’d bought in a sale a long time ago. These curtains had a pencil pleat heading and, although wide enough to cover the window, they were not wide enough to be fully gathered up. This resulted in a bit of a straggly look, especially when drawn back. (Please excuse the awful walls – we were in the middle of decorating when he photos were taken!) Pretty uninspiring…
Pencil pleat curtains look their best when gathered up tightly. This requires the curtains to be 2.5 or 3 times the width of the window before they are gathered. Personally, I also prefer pencil pleat curtains when hanging on a track, rather than a pole, as they can sometimes look a bit disorderly when drawn back.
My ready made curtains were about 1.5 times the width of the window, and had a pole to hang on. So it wasn’t long before the urge to do something with them kicked in!
After working on an alteration on some inverted pleat curtains for a customer, I thought I’d see if I could make that work as a heading for my curtains. This type of heading can work with either little or lots of fullness, creating different effects respectively.
I calculated that I had enough fabric available for 12 fairly narrow pleats per curtain and 11 reasonable sized flats. I also needed to shorten the curtains, so once I had removed the pencil pleat heading tape I folded the excess fabric over into the heading allowance.
Being a big fan of covered buttons I added a grey velvet 19mm one to each pleat. I felt this just made them look finished, and more customised.
The great thing about covering your own buttons is that you can choose your look – contrasting or co-ordinating colours, one more more colours, texture and pattern are all variables. They are also easy to change if you get bored of the look!
You can buy button covering tools and self cover buttons very inexpensively from haberdashers and also from e-bay. I have found metal self cover buttons the easiest to work with. It’s really easy to do, and requires little concentration so you can sit and cover buttons whilst watching Poldark. Or whatever.
I was really pleased with the outcome of the new heading. Despite having limited fabric to work with I was able to spruce up these curtains, making them hang nicely and look neat and tidy. It’s also nice to know that no one else will have curtains quite like these!