No sew Curtain Panels In A Snap

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Curtain panels add instant warmth to a space and for me make it feel like home. It's one of those things that you didn't know you were missing until you install them for the first time. Custom lined curtain panels are the best, but whatever the reason... time, energy, budget… sometimes you just need a slap-dash solution. I am a sewer, so it's easy for me to make a change without much difficulty, but if you don't sew or you are not willing to have them custom made, here are a couple of quick and creative options. 


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This image from Cottage Living March 2008 inspired this post. Designer Nancy Braithwaite works her magic on her daughter's Atlanta cottage. These curtains are made from quilts sewn (you could use clip rings) to rings and installed. It's genius and beautiful! She also used the same quilts to upholster the sofa and chairs. Notice the detail along the chair skirt. If you are not familiar with Nancy Braithwaite, she is a master at the less is more approach to decorating, as illustrated in her wonderful book Simplicity. The title says it all, and is a coffee table book that I strongly recommend.

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What I love about using a quilt or coverlet is that they are usually fairly thick which helps them hang well. This is important because - this is snappy solution - so these will not be lined. The adorable quilt below from Serena & Lily in king size, measures 110" wide x 92" long. The 92" gives you ample length for 8' ceilings. If you have 9’ ceilings or taller you will need to use the 110” width side for your curtain length. If this is the case you will probably have more luck with a solid quilt. Just make sure if your quilt is a print, that the design will work “railroaded” or horizontally hung.

Normally I would insist on your panels being hung directly under the molding. That is ideal, and easily achieved if they are custom made. However, this is a quick, fun solution when perfection is not required. So hang them as high as the available length allows.

Now, if you have too much volume widthwise and you need to divide your coverlet/quilt in half or if you want to adjust the length and have to cut off the bottom, I have an easy no-sew solution for you. 

Using Liquid Stitch adhesive, attach the Wright's bias tape to the raw edge of the fabric. Go easy on the amount of glue. I have done this and it will dry clear, just try to keep it fairly smooth.

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I am sorry that the above image quality is terrible, but this is the Wrights double fold bias trim glued onto the rough edge of these panels. I made these for my daughters dorm room a couple of years ago and they held up great. The bias tape is an excellent solution when you need to finish a raw hem as well.




This image via A Cultivated Nest, demonstrates how easy it is to use a rectangular tablecloth and clip rings to create some panels in a snap. Just be sure to purchase one that is long enough. A tablecloth that is 70x90 would work for a room with 8ft ceiling, where for 9-10' ceilings you would want to go for the larger 70x108.

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 The above image via Golden Boys and Me

If you are using the drapery clips and the fabric is thin enough, "pinch pleat" the fabric before you clip it.  Fold the fabric into 2 pleats with your fingers and then clip it.  It couldn't be more simple, and makes a huge difference in how the fabric hangs.  

This Block Print Tablecloth currently available at Pottery Barn, would make great panels. The cloth measures 70"x 108". The 70" wide gives you plenty of fabric to "pleat" when using clip rings and they will be nice and full. Now remember, they will not hang like lined and interlined curtains, but they will have volume, and the block print compliments their light and airy almost bohemian feel. The 108" length is nice and gives you flexibility depending on your ceiling height. If your ceilings are 8 feet you will have to hem them from the top because you don't want to loose the detail around the hemline. Remember, this post is about panels in a snap, so I am suggesting you trim them from the top, fold the raw edge over twice and press before you "pinch" them to the rings.

If you have 9 ceilings, depending on where you hang your rod, you can either allow them to puddle on the floor or fold the top down. I will be easier in this instance because you will have much less excess fabric.


It can be so fun and satisfying to fluff up a window in an afternoon with some “no sew” panels. If your game, give it a whirl and send pictures of your efforts I would love to see them!