28 February 2011

PB Inspired Smocked Drapes

When we moved into our home last fall, window coverings were a priority.  I'm slowly working on replacing the ugly vertical blinds and broken miniblinds left by the previous owners.  As I was looking for inspiration, I saw these lovelies on the Pottery Barn Website...but there was no way I could justify spending $65 per panel.

via Pottery Barn
So, I thought I 'd try making my own version.  The first attempt had mixed results.  I didn't get the smocking quite right, and because I had hemmed the sides, they hung kind of wonky.

Here's the new version:

While these curtains may not have "true" smocking, I think my knock-off version looks pretty convincing...and believe it or not it's really quite simple.  It just takes a LOT of time.  Plan on at least two romantic movies per panel.  This is not a quick and done project, but the effort is well worth it.

I purchased this white sheer voile fabric from fabric.com.  Total cost $35, minus 15% off.  I got 12 yards, 59"wide, which was enough for my two windows, and two sets of sidelight curtains...with still some left over.  Much better than $260 plus shipping.  It is 100% polyester, but I found that it was really forgiving and easy to work with.  Cotton would have been better, but I have a feeling these will last longer in the super bright southern exposure.

Ready to make some of your own?  You'll need:
  • Your chosen fabric (something sheer would be best)
  • The curtain rod you'll be using (so you can make sure the pocket is the right size, and you can shirr on the fabric to judge where you need your smocking.)
  • 2-3 Spools of matching thread (REALLY important!)
  • Clear sewing ruler
  • Washable fabric marker
  • Sewing supplies, including your sewing machine, scissors. rotary cutter, embroidery scissors, pins, and seam ripper (just in case).
Step one.  Cut your fabric to length.  Measure the length you desire your drapes to be, and add 8 inches.  I cut mine with my rotary cutter to try to keep them as straight as possible.  

Step two.  Hem the top and bottom.  
Sew a seam 1/2" from each end.  This is your folding guide.  

For the top of your curtain, fold up 3" and pin in place. 

Sew at 1/8" from the edge.  

Measure up again, and sew the pocket for your curtain rod.  I made mine 1" wide for my 1/2" curtain rod.  

Repeat for the bottom, only this time you will be measuring up 4".

Step three.  Mark the placement of your smocking.  Using your washable marker, measure and mark each spot.  

Step four.  Time to sew those smocks.  First, pin the smocking marks, one row at a time.

Each "smock" is essentially a sewn knot.  At least 1/4" from the edge, sew a small seam about 1/4" long, sewing back and forth 3-4 times.

Kinda like my cuticles.

Repeat many, many, many, many times.

  Step five.  Trim each knot.

Step six.  Wash and hang up your finished drape.

Don't even worry about drying...just shirr on your rod and hang up your curtain.  Repeat for as many panels as you need.  I used two 59" panels for my 34" window.

Enjoy the smocked goodness you've created:

Not bad, huh? 

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21 happy thoughts:

Louisa said...

What a brilliant idea! I love the way your curtain looks. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

Impera Magna said...

Brilliant... sheer brilliant!

(pun intended)


Melissa said...

Romantic movies - romantic results!!

Unknown said...

Love these drapes! I've had my eye on them for quite some time...owned the PB ones when they originally had them in Porcelain blue but returned them because the color wasn't right. Then, they came out in white! (By then I was unemployed and poor. Heehee) I am going to give these a go for the bathroom! Thank you, my talented friend! Also, for your window picture dilemma, did you see this post? http://www.freckledlaundry.com/2011/01/gray-paint-color-tips-for-taking-photos.html

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

I am in awe!! Chris, you have really persevered. Your drapes turned out beautiful and I am inspired by your resourcefulness and your smocking technique is so clever!

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Wow, Chris... great job! I don't think I have the patience, but they're beautiful! Such intricate work.

Anonymous said...

Wow - this is stunning! I love the soft waves that you created. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely idea and instructions. I am bookmarking this one! :-)

Emily said...

Lovely! And much better than the PB price tag. :)

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Fabulous and gorgeous! You did a wonderful job! I will have to try this project out, it is so pretty.

BeingBrook said...

Lovely!! They turned out so pretty!! You should submit them to www.knockoffdecor.com!

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

Woahhhh. Gorgeous! Turned out great! :)

PS- I'm doing my first every giveaway on my blog and I'd love for you to stop by and enter! Check it out: http://mygirlishwhims.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-first-giveaway-and-

Anonymous said...

That is amazing! How wonderful that you had the patience to do that. I couldn't do that if you paid me! They are beautiful.

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Not bad????? Chris, it's AWESOME!! Well done for even *thinking* about doing this. I'd say they're nicer than your original inspiration.


Unknown said...

These are AMAZING! You are a creative genius my friend. They turned out so beautiful! Congrats!

Amy Chalmers said...

Wow, that is amazing. Of course I was very interested in this post because I have the PB smocked curtains on order as we speak! Yours came out awesome, and you had a lot of patience doing that job!

Megan said...

great job. I've been craving the PB curtains for a long time, but soooooo expensive.


Brandi said...

Wow what a neat idea! I wouldn't even know where to begin. You did such a beautiful job! Congrats on your feature!!

Sue@creativetryals.blogspot.com said...

Those look lovely! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

Angie Holden said...

Gorgeous!! Thanks for auditioning for OMTWI!! Be sure to put the button in your post or sidebar to be eligible! :)

Roeshel said...

OoOoOhhh! So pretty! WOW - your hard work and patience paid off...they're awesome and you're amazing! ;)

Love them!

Sarah said...

OHHHH How I love these! I found you from the Sew Can She web site. Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

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