DIY Window Treatments: A Little Work, A Lot Of Savings


We ended up doing a lot of extra’s when we had to have our floors and walls re-done due to the flood (I know, I know….you’re sick of hearing about it by now….sorry!) But, the whole dilemma took over my life for 6 weeks or more so it stands to reason there are just “things” to share on my blog.  One of those things is my family room window treatments.  With fresh paint and floors going in I decided it was time to update my windows after having the same ones for the last decade.   So with money going out like crazy for so many different needs I convinced myself that in order to save a few pennies I needed to do the things I was able to do myself and farm out the things I could not.  One thing I know how to do is sew. 


So I did some looking, designing and thinking and landed on this design as my inspiration.


There are variations of the same style, but I always came back to the same basic design.


These are from Reilly-Chance…..a website you should check out, by the way.  I’ve actually come to despise sewing (although when I first started my business I made all my client’s window treatments).  I have the workroom I use for my clients make almost all my own stuff to spare me the time and energy.  But, in this particular case with so much money going out for other things I decided to drag out my sewing machine and go for it.  These are actually surprisingly simple.  All they require is a little time and patience.  (Not that I have much of either!)

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So after some extensive research I finally found my fabric.

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And, after weeding through a multitude of trims I settled on this one.  I was torn between doing tassel trim or beads so when I found this combination of both I knew it was the one.


I measured the width of my window plus a few inches out on each side.  In order to have enough fabric to create the swoop you see I had to cut the fabric 1 1/2 times the width of the window.  My window measured 48 inches plus the few inches on each side.  A width of fabric is 54 inches so I did each window with       1 1/2 widths of fabric (or 81 inches wide).  My windows are 72 inches long, plus the 12 inches from the window sill to the floor so I determined I wanted my valance to be 24” long.  (I added for the top and bottom seams and hems and cut the valance length accordingly.)


Notice the seam on the left where I sewed the fabric together to create the right width?  I did the same for the liner fabric.  Then I pinned the face fabric (the decorative, pretty fabric) to the white liner and sewed all the way around leaving a pocket on the side so I can turn the fabric inside out.  Then I sewed down the side seam.  I made sure to press all the seams so that it had a clean, flat look.  At the top I turned it under a good three inches and at the bottom I turned it under a good inch for a finished edge.  This keeps the white liner from showing.


I recycled these green velvet pelmets from my old drapes for my new ones.  I removed the old trim…..


And I turned under the top to shorten them.

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And added new trim….


By gluing it on with a product called Fabri-tac – it’s like sewing with a tube.


I did the same thing with the beaded, tassel trim and pinned it into place until the glue set.


I made sure to wrap the trim around to the liner side to keep the edges clean.  (When you cut trim it immediately begins to fray so you have to be very careful.)


Then I played around with these tassels until I figured out what I wanted to do with them.


I ended up cutting them into two pieces and sewing one at the end of each pelmet.



I looked at several different styles of medallions before I settled on squares.  But, I had them hung in this diamond shape for a little more pizzazz.  (The pelmets hide where each end of the valances meet.)


I know they’re not quite as snazzy-whazzy as the Reilly-Chance valances, but it was all I had the patience to do.  And, I must say I like them just fine!  If you prefer, you can add banding or trim (or both) to the top of the treatment, or a row of banding to the bottom.  There’s a great many ways you could embellish them if you wanted to.  I just opted for a simple style…..mostly because I was too lazy and short on time to do anything anymore complex than that! 

Hope you’re inspired now to tackle your own window treatments!

Happy Decorating!

No Sew Window Treatment In Less Than An Hour


I mentioned the other day that I made a no sew window treatment for my daughter’s bathroom.  A very simple, very easy treatment anybody can make.  And I do mean anybody!  So don’t feel too intimidated to try it.  You’ll be surprised at how simple this is and how great it looks.

Check out these step by step instructions and give it a try:


First get a strip of wood like this 1×3 from Lowes.   If you want a deeper return on the sides you can certainly do that, too.  I chose this size, because it’s all I needed for her bathroom.   Cut it (or have it cut at Lowe’s for free) somewhere between 3 and 6 inches longer than the window itself to allow room for the brackets and good coverage over the window.


For the correct measurements:

Measure the width of the board and add the returns for each side to the total measurements.  (Excuse my broken thumbnail – I broke it doing this project!) If your window is 30 inches wide and your returns are 3 inches you will add 6 inches for a total width of 36 inches so the sides of the board will be covered up.  It’s not complicated at all:  the width of the board, plus the depth of the board.  That’s it.  To figure the length a good rule of thumb is 1/4 to 1/3 of the length of the window for the finished length.  (For this treatment you will want to allow enough fabric to give you almost double that length so that when you create the swag you have enough fabric for the correct finished length.)  In my case the length of the window is 72 inches and my treatment’s finished length is 22 inches


 Fold the fabric in half with the face fabric (the pretty side) on the outside.  Fold in the sides like the picture above.


Use fabric glue like this Fabri-tac to secure the edges you turned inside.  Just dot the glue inside the edges and press together to give it a finished look.


 Wrap the top unfinished edge around the board so that both sides of the board are covered and staple into place. 


Tuck the fabric around the return edges (kind of like you would the edges of a flat sheet on a mattress) to form a neat fold.  Staple into place. 


Now you have a long piece of fabric hanging from the board.  In my case since I needed the finished length to be 22 inches (or so) so I started with a length of 44 inches (or so) of fabric.  It hung straight down in a rectangle after it was adhered to the board:  Basically a valance that hasn’t yet taken shape.


To create the swag look you are going to take your fingers (both hands) and place them just a few inches in on each side of the valance.   Now start to scrunch upwards like you’re creating a fan or an accordion.  Do this till you get the length you prefer on the outside swag points.  (Remember 1/4 to 1/3 of the length of the window is a good rule of thumb.)


Once your length is in place tie off the swag with ribbon.  (You can even use ribbon for your tie’s if you want to.)


To create the bands or ribbons select the width you’d like.  You can make them skinny or wide, whichever you prefer.  I wanted these a little on the wide side, but I’ve done these before with a skinny band and even rope tassels.  (Rope tassels work really well, too, and using them makes one less step for you to do.)


I wanted mine to match the shower curtains I had custom made so I purchased a similar fabric, but in a smaller print, and folded them to the width I wanted – seam in the middle as shown above – careful to turn under the bottom edge for a finished look.  I tacked them down by using the Fabri-tac glue shown above.  I tied them off to the right length with a small black ribbon, but you could tie a knot or a bow, too.  If you prefer you can just do a clean band by looping the band edge up to the board and stapling it into place.


When you are finished you should have something that looks like this. Ta-da!!!  Not hard at all!  This took me around 30 minutes start to finish.  You can do this – I promise!

I will say, though, that this treatment is better if it’s not a window facing the street or facing the backyard.   Otherwise, you probably want to match the liner fabric to your other windows – usually in a neutral color such as white, cream or beige.  This would result in having to sew on a liner (probably with a band of the face fabric at the bottom so that the liner doesn’t show from the front).  And, this is where custom drapes become necessary for those that don’t have an understanding of this sort of thing and sew really well.  

So remember this treatment is more for a side window, rather than the front or back where the liner can clearly be seen from the outside.

 Now for the candle.  Pretty basic, but here’s how to do it for those of you who might not know:


Take a basic candle votive such as this.


 Cut fabric to fit with enough to turn under the edges.


Turn in the raw edges in the back and glue together with Fabri-tac.  Finish off with a ribbon of your choice.  The ones with the wire on the edges work best so you can shape them.


Add a little bling or embellishment if you’d like for fun.

And that’s it!  There you go.  Now you can make a window treatment and a candle cover to snazz up your own space.

Good luck with your own project and Happy Decorating!!!


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