Destashification Challenge: Drapes from 2,000 miles away…

“Mom,” said the son, “Mom, could you make some drapes for my new apartment?”

Words every sewing mother waits to hear from her grown children….

Coordinating Pillows

Coordinating Pillows

The Stash provides many yards of silk dupioni in a blue-grey, and the coordinating pillows were sent earlier this summer.

While the finished drapes are beautiful (silk dupioni is very forgiving) the journey toward their completion was long and sinuous….

Recessed Window - currently decorated in the "Thrown Coat Motif"

Recessed Window - currently decorated in the "Thrown Coat Motif"

Let us start with the window, apparently intended to be an architectural feature of some note.

The window is recessed – but not uniformly.  The top and left side are recessed approx. 12″ while the right side and the bottom are only recessed 5″.

The actual window (glass) fills almost the entire 57″ * 58″ opening.

At the base of the window is a “hotel style” heater and AC unit.

This architectural puzzle prohibits wall-mounted and/or floor length drapes.  Needless to say, an actual cross-country trip (tape measure in hand) to view this window and its special features (and visit with the son, of course) was required!

So, inside-mount (like a shower curtain) sill-length drapes it is!

Tape Measure was not quite long enough

Tape Measure was not quite long enough

Step two:
Measurements – check again – remeasure – go have coffee – remeasure.  Go workout.  Remeasure – Add 4″ – then cut.

Then do same for lining.




Step three:  Sewing.  Then do the same for lining.

Step four:  Take the “pull-the-threads” pleater tape back and get real pleater tape.  The pull-the-threads type is great fun – but produces pleats that look more like uneven gathers.

Attaching "Real" Pleater Tape

Attaching "Real" Pleater Tape

Step five:  Sew on the pleater tape.

 Step six:  Return pleater hooks to store.  Apparently, there are a several types of pleater hook available.  “Ceiling” hooks have the hook part near the top of the drape, “wall” hooks have their hook further from the top of the drape.  Other pleater hooks remain a mystery to me.

Along the mystery lines….Fabric Stores all seem to carry “Brand X” pleater tape and “Brand Y” pleater hooks.  (Brand names were changed to protect the innocent).  Apparently this serves to further confound the drapery making process.

Pleating with pleater hooks

Pleating with pleater hooks

Step seven: Place pleater hooks in pleater tape pockets.  I remember helping my mother do this as a child.  It still seems like fun to take something flat and create nice even pleats!

Except the pleats do not look so “nice” or so “even”.

Not so nice or even pleats

Not so nice or even pleats


Step Eight:  Hand sew each set of pleats so they are nice and even.

Step Nine:  Find an inside mount drapery rod that does not look like Great Aunt Helen’s kitchen cafe curtain rod – and has sufficient structural strength to hold up a set of lined drapes.  Drive 1 hour north to purchase.  Visit fabric store next door.  Add a few things to The Stash.  Drive 1 hour home.

Step Ten:  Place drapes and rod on floor to see if the length is correct (no real margin of error for inside mount drapes).  Realize drapery hooks are too narrow to fit over drapery rod.

Step eleven:  Drive to several ready-made drapery stores to view options.  Visit fabric stores in the vicinity.  Add a few things to The Stash.  Purchase drapery rings with clips in color to match rod on clearance.

Hand sewn pleats

Hand sewn pleats

Step 12:  Place drapery rings on rod, attach clips to drapery to determine if length is correct.  Realize that the 1.25″ inches added by the rings/chain/hooks makes draperies too long for 58″ vertical opening.

Step 13:  Ask daughter to help cut wire chain and clips off drapery rings.  When she picks up “the sewing scissors” to do so, instruct her quietly and patiently that the sewing scissors are only to be used for fabric… Then go get the wire cutters and cut the wires yourself!

Step 14:  Hand sew drapery rings to hand sewn triple pleats.

Finally Completed:  Beautiful Drapes!

Finally Completed: Beautiful Drapes!

Step 15:  Place ring/drapes on rod and hang to view.

Step 16:  Measure to verify length is correct….


Check sketch and initial measurements.

Step 16:  Remove hem and lengthen 1″!

Step 17:  Mail to son.  Insured.  Return Receipt Requested.  With stencil for where and how to place rod in recessed window and instructions for ironing before hanging – knowing full well that ironing is just not going to happen!

Step 18:  Call son and let him know that although the drapes for his bedroom are complete and in the mail, sewing the drapes for his Living Room will be delayed for a while!





















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