Archive for the ‘Drapery Panel Problems’ Category


Sliding doors are found in many homes, apartments and offices, providing a generous source of floor-to-ceiling sunlight while serving as an alternative to a solid exterior door for patios, backyards and sunrooms. While these multi-purpose sliding doors are popular and functional, they can also leave homeowners wondering how to add window coverings to these massive windows without blocking off the doorway.

Long flowing drapes and curtains can be difficult to use on sliding doors, particularly doors that are used on a regular basis. While drapery like sheers and panels can be attractive and enhance the decor of a home, these window coverings quickly becomes worn and soiled when used on a sliding glass door, especially in houses where children live.

Styles of Sliding Door Blinds

Sliding door blinds in a number of styles, including honeycomb (cellular), vertical blinds and horizontal blinds. Cellular blinds are usually made from a semi-translucent fabric such as a lightweight polyester; this allows natural light to pass through the blinds when they are extended while obscuring the view into the room from the outside.

Vertical sliding door blinds are made up of numerous full-length slats that are connected to a top rail. This rail is mounted on the outside of the door frame and covered with a header and end caps. The slats are attached to the mounting rail with a basic hook system, making remove individual slats quick and easy for both cleaning and repair. This particular style of sliding door blind is popular among both homeowners and landlords, thanks to the ease of installation and maintenance along with the affordability of these blinds.

Horizontal sliding door blinds are gaining popularity among decorators and homeowners who are seeking to modernize their decor by upgrading their window coverings. Horizontal blinds come in an assortment of materials such as natural and painted wood, aluminum and lightweight, affordable polycarbonates, making it easy to find blinds that match both your style and budget.

How Sliding Door Blinds Can Cut Your Energy Costs

Along with adding privacy to your home, sliding door blinds can help reduce your energy bills throughout the year. Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss during the winter and unwanted heat gain during the summer for most homes; adding blinds to your sliding glass doors helps to insulate them.

Experts advise that in the winter, homeowners should open up the blinds on their sliding doors during the day to take advantage of the free solar heat from the sun then close the blinds at night to prevent heat from leaking out through the glass doors. The opposite applies in the summer – close the blinds during the day to help block out the heat of the sun, reducing air conditioning costs.

Whether you choose cellular, horizontal or vertical sliding door blinds, you will enjoy enhanced privacy and energy-efficiency while allowing easy access through your sliding glass doors.

From time to time, As You Like It Design features contributed posts from guest writers or brands. This post is courtesy of BlindSaver.ca, an online retailer of blinds and shades. BlindSaver has been offering premium window treatments to Canadian and US customers for over 20 years


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Wow, the JYSK (pronounced Ysk, y as in yellow, by the way) has a great deal this week. (Nov 8 – 14, 2012) All of their drapery panels are half price. They have a huge selection and even at regular price are a good deal. If you want to do over your window treatments for Christmas or need to refresh a room, this is a very economical way to do it.


I am very fond of JYSK for a lot of different ‘decorating on a dime’ projects. They a wide variety of household items big and small. Take a trip to a store near you.

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I would like to share with you another shopping find. It is called Drapery King Toronto and here is the link. http://www.draperypanelstoronto.com/ They have all kinds of window treatments, custom and ready made draperies as well as blinds and drapery hardware. The website is very informative and easy to use.

Most people want a nice looking home but do not have an unlimited budget to achieve what they want. It is hard to find custom draperies that do not cost a fortune and ready made drapery panels are often just not suitable. Blinds and shades are ridiculously expensive, even at the big box stores. Therefore, I am always on the lookout for suitable window treatments and hardware at reasonable prices.

If you are within a reasonable drive to Toronto, it would be well worth your while to drop in and have a look.

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Easy DIY Blinds

for Your

Front Porch

These roll up blinds make your south or west facing porch a lot more comfortable to sit on on hot summer afternoons. They add shade to the front wall of your house too, which helps reduce the heat inside your home and your (scary) air conditioning electric bill!!

Here is what you need:

  1. enough polyester fabric or outdoor decor fabric to make your blinds (cotton will fade and rot) (yarn died is better than printed on one side only)
  2. 1/2″ thick dowel for the top and bottom pockets
  3. two eye hooks
  4. 4 m length of 1″ to 1-1/2″w twill tape for the top ties
  5. 4 m length of 1/2″ twill tape for the bottom ties
  6. two cup hooks to put in the top  dowel to hook the blind to the eye hooks in the upper framing of the porch.

It is pretty simple to make these blinds, cut the fabric to fit the space. Hem the side seams. Make a pocket top and bottom (with ties sewn in). Slip a 1/2″ dowel in each pocket. Add 2 cup hooks to the top dowel. Screw two eye hooks in the top of the porch frame to correspond with the cup hooks and hang. Roll the blind by hand and tie it to whatever height you want with the twill tape ties. When you lower it, tie the bottom of it to the porch railing with the twill ties sewn into the bottom seam, so that it does not blow all over the place in a breeze. Note: do not leave them down in a strong wind as you could ruin them. They are fine otherwise and will last for many years, especially if you have used polyester fabric which will not rot or fade and does not rip easily either.

Here are some more detailed instructions for the less confident DIYer!

To establish how much fabric, first decide how long you want them. The ones in the picture just go to just over the top railing. You could have them full length if you wish. Measure from the top to where you want them to end and add 13 cm (5″) — which is 6.5 cm (2-1/2 “) each to the top and bottom to make the pockets to hold the dowels.

Width. — This depends on your porch and how far apart the posts are. You do not want the blinds to be any wider than 6′ because that is the widest the dowels come in and also, the wider they are, they become really awkward to handle. Also, most fabric is 54″ wide, although you can find extra wide fabric. If your blinds are going to be any wider than 50”, you will have to buy two lengths of fabric for the blind and have  french seams in the blind (seams that are finished on both sides)  or hunt for extra wide drapery fabric. The fabric shown in the picture was double wide drapery fabric and so there was no problem with the width.Measure how wide it needs to be and then add 8 cm (3 “), that is 4cm or 1-1/2 inches for each side seam.


Lay out the fabric on the floor and cut it to the desired length. Then measure how wide it needs to be and add the extra amount for the seam. Cut it out. Sew up the side seams with a full double fold over so it won’t fray in the wind. (Fold it 3/4″ and then fold it again) Press the seam in place before sewing, then sew. Now the sides are made.  Measure and be sure that the width is right before your final sewing of the second side seam.

Top pocket:

Fold down the top edge   .6cm (1/2″) press, then fold 3.7cm (1-1/2”) press. The next step is optional. Measure in along the second fold (which will be the top edge of your blind) about 30cm (1 ft) and make a small button hole on the fold. This is to make a place to screw in the eye hook to be screwed into the dowel which will be placed in this pocket for your top support. . Another way would be to place a small grommet  there to make a hole for the eye hook. You can screw the eye hook right through the fabric if you don’t want to struggle with making a hole in the pocket, but you are risking creating a ‘pull’ in the fabric, if the screw catches a thread awkwardly.

After making the holes, fold the pocket down. Cut 2 m of the wide twill tape and fold in half. Place the fold inside the seam if the upper pocket, a little bit farther in than the hole for the hook is. Do this at either end. Stitch the fold down. Now you have the upper dowel pocket and the ties for the blind made,

To make the bottom dowel pocket, you do it exactly the same as the top pocket, minus the holes for hooks. The other difference is that you substitute the narrow twill tape for the wide twill tape to make the bottom ties.

Now hang your blind.

Roll it up by hand and tie it in place with the wide twill tape (flip one of the two parts of each tie over the top of the blind) Tuck the bottom ties in while you are rolling. You can let it part way down and retie the wide ties if there is no wind or let it all the way down for shade or privacy.


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to Various

Drapery Questions

Everyone seems to want to know how to hang flat, store bought drapery panels so that they don’t look like flat, store bought drapery panels!!! I gave you some advice/instructions in previous articles (see category Drapery Panel Problems”) and here are some more!

Using Clip Rings on a Decorative Rod

You just bought a very attractive decorative rod and  you want to hang the draperies so that the rod shows and the curtain is below the rod. You also want to be able to open and close the curtains and that is not practical with rod pocket panels. The absolutely simplest way is to use clip rings. If you check out the accessories in the curtain rod area, you will find rings in all different sizes and you will notice that most of them have a clip attached to them. Buy these!  Buy big rings (2″) for a fat rod and smaller rings (1″ or 1-1/2″) for a narrow rod.You will need about 9 per panel to make them hang nicely. You can clip the rings to the top of pinch pleats or you can clip the rings along the top of a flat panel, either way, your drapes are now hung below the decorator rod, on rings, which will showcase the rod, like you see in decorating magazines. The only issue that I have with these, is that every so often the fabric pulls out of the clip when you are opening/closing the curtains.

  • These rings can be expensive, so shop around for the best price and get them on sale if possible. Best bet is at Fabricland (if you are in Canada) The drapery hardware is always 1/2 price if you have a ‘sewing club’  card and is often  on sale at 1/2 price for everyone – if you watch the flyers.

You just lay out your curtain panel and attach the rings, evenly spaced, across the top of the panel. Make sure you have one about 2 cm or 1″  from each end. The way you space them is described fully in “Easy Drapery Project for Flat Panels” Then slip the rings on the rod and you are done.

Drapery Measurements

This one seems to confuse people so I will try to shed some light on the subject! This one requires a tape measure. Ready made panels come in 2 lengths to make full length drapes, 96″L and 84″L.

96″ is 8ft – these hang from ceiling to the floor if you have regular height ceilings and will hang nicely below a decorative rod if you have the 9’ceilings that builders are putting in so many of the new homes and condos being built in the last few years.

84″ is 7 ft and used to be the distance from the top of your standard window frame to the floor, but now the windows tend to be higher up the wall than they used to be, which makes this length hard to use.  Measure from the floor to the top of the window frame. If it is around 84″, you can buy this panel length.  Just install the rod about 1-1/2″ above the window frame and it will work for you (install 2″ above when using 2″ rings on your rod) You can put the rod across the top of the window frame itself when using grommet panels.

If the distance  from the floor to the top of the window frame is around 90″, then buy the 95″ length and shorten them. If you don’t sew, shorten them using  iron-on fuseable hemming tape. All you need is an iron and ironing board – or a friend that has one!!! You can let them ‘puddle’ but, unless you are good at it, and the fabric itself  ‘puddles’ nicely, they tend to just look like you couldn’t be bothered shortening them!!!!!

Grommet Draperies

I can see there is some confusion about grommet draperies. You feed the rod through the grommets, you do not hang the grommets from hooks!!! These kind of draperies need to be measured differently than if you were measuring for the kind that you hang below the rod! If your rod is across the top of the window frame, you measure from the floor to about 1″ above the rod, to get the right length. If  your rod is 84″ from the floor, your 84″ curtains will hang about 1″ to 1-1/2″ above the floor! You would then need to let the hem down on the panels to get them to the correct length. Unfortunately, most grommet panels ARE 84″ not 96″.

In any case, with ready-made draperies, you will  often find that they are too long or too short! You can let out the hem if they are less than 2″ too short or you can shorten them or let them puddle if they are too long. Another trick, if they are too short is to add a band of contrasting fabric to the bottom edge, wide enough to make them the right length.

Pinch Pleated Draperies

Pinch pleated double or triple full ready-made draperies are hard to find. Surf the net or have them custom made. If you shop for your own fabric, you can get it at a good price. Then look up “Drapers” or “Seamstresses” in your area,  and you can have them made for a reasonable price! You can make them yourself too – the unlined ones are not hard at all! How to make a two fold pleat is described in “Turn Rod Pocket Panels into Real Pinch Pleates” . Also,  using pleating tape is described inMore about Converting Rod Pocket Panels”

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So you found some curtain panels that you like and put them up and you are NOT happy with them. They really look amateurish, sloppy, or just not right, and you don’t know what to do to fix them. Here are some of the reasons that they don’t look/hang properly and some things that you can do to make them look more professional.

1. Problem: Multiple Panels that Hang Separately. You want curtains that you can close and open so you had to buy four or even six panels to cover the window when they are closed. Now you have to pull the centre panels across, then pull the next panel across on each side, or you have the panels pinned together with safety pins at the top! It is a pain and you often end up with  gaps between the panels that require endless adjustment. It just looks bad and you know it!

Fix: Sew the panels that form each side of the window together so that each side of the window has a single panel, not two or three separated ones. To do this properly, you have to unstitch the side seam and pick back both the hem and the header about 6″ so that you can sew the two side seams together, then restitch the hem and the header over the new seam.

A less difficult but also less professional fix is to not unpick anything, just lay the two edges together, facing each other and carefully hand baste them to each other right along the edge by hand, as invisibly as possible. It is not as good a fix as above but will at least keep the two panels together and if you sew carefully, it will not show. You still have the two side hem stitching lines showing on the front side of course, but there is nothing you can do about that.

2. Problem: The Curtains Look Sloppy on the Rod. They don’t hang properly.

Fix: This depends on the kind of curtain and the diameter of the rod. Both things can come into play here. We will deal with them one at a time.

Rod Pocket Panels.

The pocket and the rod must match.

Rod pocket panels come with different size pockets. Some have narrow pockets for 1/2″ rods and some come with as much as 3″ wide pockets for wide flat rods or thick round rods. For the curtain to gather crisply, the pocket must fit snugly on the rod. If the pocket is too loose the curtains don’t gather well, they are bunchy and hang haphazardly.

Fix: If the pocket is too wide for the rod, sew a new bottom seam line across the pocket in the correct place so that the rod slides snugly into the pocket. It should not be loose at all. You should not remove the old seam line as it forms the bottom part of the hem for the header.

Fix #2: Buy a rod that is the correct size and style for your new curtains.

Back Tab Panels

Problem: Same as rod pockets. They hang haphazardly and unevenly and with this type even irregularly. In this case the back tab, which is up to 3″ deep is too big for the rod. It doesn’t hold the front of the panel snugly to the rod and the curtain sags in odd directions. I really don’t like back tab panels as they are really difficult to get to hang nicely.

Back tab panels actually do not hang well on round rods. They tend to slip around it, each tab finding the place it wants to be, which is not the same as the one beside it. They hang much better on wide, flat rods, that keep them hanging straight up and down and not drooping forward like they will do on a round rod. The problem with this is that the wide, flat rods are not decorative and not meant to show.

F1x: Each tab is tacked to the front of the panel at the top and the bottom of the tab. Put an extra tack farther up from the bottom with a sewing machine or by hand, to make the tab smaller and fit more snugly on your particular rod. They still tend to tip forward at the top, but at least they do it evenly.

Fix #2: Replace your rod with one that is thicker.

Fix #3: Ignore or remove the tabs and insert pin hooks and hang them from curtain rings.  This works well.

Problem: 84″ Long Curtains are Too Short, but 96″l are Too Long.

Most ready mades come in various lengths. Those lengths are based on a standard 8′ ceiling (96″) or the height of the average window frame a long time ago (84″). The problem is that most curtain rods, to be stylish, end up being placed about 90″ from the floor these days, between the window frame and the ceiling. Another problem is that, in newer houses, windows are placed higher on the wall than they used to be with only about 6″-8″ clearance from the ceiling. 84″ doesn’t work well for most people anymore.

Fix: Take out the hem and let it all the way down. Either hem it with a tiny rolled hem, or  add wide seam tape/extra wide bias tape, to the bottom, then turn the added tape/fabric up and stitch by hand preferably or with a machine, to replace the back side of the hem. Actually, a strip of any fabric that coordinates with your curtains  reasonable well, will do. The original fabric is on the front side and the added fabric is on the back side this way.

Fix #2:  Add a contrasting or decorative band to the bottom of your drapes. A contrasting band is a stylish look right now too! Unpick the hem and about 6″ of the side seam, and simply sew a band of fabric that is the appropriate width to the bottom. Resew the side seam then hem it. Don’t forget to have enough fabric for a 4″ deep hem. The deeper the hem, the more professional it looks and the better it hangs.

Fix#3:  Buy 96″ long panels (if you can find them) and shorten them to just barely brush the floor.

Fix #4:  Buy some large rings with clips  and put them on your decorative rod. Attach the panels to the clips, which will lower a pinch pleat or back tab panel an inch or even two,  and some rod pocket panels even more. This may just be the answer for your particular situation. Careful with those clips on delicate fabrics though – the clip could snag and put pulls in the fabric.

  • NOTE: Ready made curtain panels can be a very economical way to dress your windows, but shop carefully, some of those ready made panels are very expensive and when you add it all up, you could have had custom draperies for the same price or less, if you used a low cost fabric.  The cost of draperies is not in the making of them, it is in the fabric, which can be extremely expensive. It is the same for ready made curtain panels and frequently they still need to be altered to look good!

Also see: “Easy Drapery Project”,  “Turn Rod Pocket Panels into Real Pinch Pleats”,  “More About Converting Rod Pocket Panels”

This link was sent by a reader – see ‘Response’ below


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Easy Sew
Pleats and Gathers

Rod Pocket Panels can be converted to pleats or gathers another way. This one is for those of you with access to a sewing machine and really basic sewing skills.

At the Fabric Store, ask for pleating tape or shirring (gathering) tape. Then have them show you the appropriate hooks to go with the tape. They will advise you as to how many you should need.

Pleating tape is a heavy tape with pockets for hooks in it, that you simply stitch across the top, back side of your panel and insert the 4 prong hooks that create the pleats. The only downside to this tape is that is rather heavy and not really suitable for sheers and some semi sheers.

  • NOTE: This is really easy but there are two mistake that you can make. The pockets for the hook prongs are clearly marked. The pockets are closed at the top and open at the bottom to slide in the hooks. It is really easy to sew the tape down with the pocket opening facing the wrong way. The closed part of the pocket goes at the top of the curtain and the open end of the pocket faces the bottom of the curtain.
  • Also, count the pockets across the curtain, 1,2,3,4 (this makes a pleat) skip two (this makes the space between the pleats), repeat,  1,2,3,4 skip two all the way along the tape, and see if it come out evenly and you do not have a half a pleat left over at the end. If it is not working out try skip 1 or skip 3 (make the space between the pleat larger or smaller).

Shirring tape is a heavy tape with strings in it that you pull to gather the curtain to the correct width and fullness. You then have a sort of ‘smocked’ look to the top of your curtains. You insert the hooks in the pockets in the tape and then hang below your rod. This way you have a gathered look but the curtains are hung on rings below the rod rather than over the rod in the traditional manner. This looks really good. The tape comes in a number of widths. The wider the tape, the more gathering strings and the nicer the finished look. Again, the downside is that the wide tape is really heavy and not very suitable for sheer fabrics but works well with any fabric that is opaque and has some body to it. The narrow tape with only 2 gathering strings will work on very lightweight fabrics though, just not really sheer ones because it shows through too much.

Pleating and Shirring tape is an easy way to make inexpensive (or even expensive) flat panels into panels that can be hung on rings below the decorative rods that are so fashionable right now.

Also NOTE: There are different kinds of hooks for different uses. When you are hanging your draperies BELOW the rod you have to buy the kind of hooks with the hook part at the top of the hook not in the middle of the hook. The ones with the hook in the middle of the whole hook are used when you want to cover the track with the pleated part of the curtain such as a traditional I beam rod or traverse rod. These are not decorative rods and are meant to be hidden by the drapery. See Picture

Also see: Easy Drapery Project, & Turn Rod Pocket Panels into Real Pinch Pleats & Solving Ready Made Drapery Panel Problems

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