This is the story of my search for white drapes for my new house that I thought would be easy, but ended up taking weeks. I was trying to find solid white drapes that had the styling I wanted (opaque, but breezy) and function (sun control) I needed… and of course all on a budget. I found that this was a tall order.
When we moved into our house in December there were custom made pinch-pleat drapes on every window and all the sliding glass doors.
All were extremely nice and hung on HUGE decorative rods with HUGE wooden rings. I took them down as soon as we moved into the house for two reasons:
1. The fabrics were not in my decorating color scheme.
2. Even when they were opened, the stack-back of the drapes covered way too much of the glass on the doors since the end of the rods stopped at the end of the doors.
What I needed and wanted to fit my decorating style were white drapes with a breezier feel at each door and when opened the stack-back would not cover the glass at all. I also didn’t want drapes with grommets or formal pleats. I wanted them to hang on small white metal rings that would not add to the size of the stack-back.
Buying white 84″ length drapery panels to hang on a 36″ wide window for under $50 is a piece of cake.
Finding white 95″ length drapery panels so I can hang the rods close to the ceiling like I did in my previous house is not so easy, especially when you don’t want to spend $500 + per window. I found many beautiful panels that I loved but were way out of my budget.
I have 7 regular sized windows in my new-to-me lake house. Aside from these windows, there are 7 sliding glass doors. One in my studioffice…
All are 9 feet wide. A lot of fabric will be needed when summer rolls around to cover them from the hot sun. I don’ like to cover up any window, but when the thermometer soars, being able to simply pull drapes across the glass while the sun is directly hitting them as it passes in the afternoon will keep the house much cooler.
The other 3 sliding glass doors in the house are upstairs in the bedrooms.
They already had nice white rods, drapes and sun blocking liners.
I love the sliding glass doors since they offer stellar lake views from every room in the house, but they have given me a run for my money in how I am going to get them covered since I have found after searching that manufacturers just don’t make what I envision. So what is a DIY’er to do? Redesign purchased panels to fit my wants and needs is what I had to do.
I knew that I could make drapery panels from scratch using fabric, tablecloths, sheets, etc. to keep the cost down, but I wanted the panels to drape nicely and be full, yet keep the rooms feeling fresh and breezy. I know my sewing skills are lacking when it comes to production line type sewing since I would have to make 8 very wide and large drapery panels. No-Sew was not an option since no-sew glues will break down faster when in the hot southern sun. I want my efforts to last for a long time.
Although many people think curtains and drapes are the same thing, since they both cover windows, there is a difference by definition and use, even though most of us use the words interchangeably.
- Curtains usually are a lighter fabric, thin or sheer. They are not lined and won’t block out light. They should not be used for privacy, since you can see through them.
- Drapes are made of heavier fabric and typically are lined. They are used for blocking out the light, cold and heat, as well as for privacy. They are more formal in appearance.
What I needed for each sliding glass door:
- 4 – 54″wide x 95″ long white drapery panels, not sheer and if possible, thermal lined.
- 144″ long white rod, brackets, finials, and rings
I needed 4 panels for fullness. I plan to sew two together to make one panel so the drapes would look full across the window when closed. I didn’t want it to look like I had sheets hanging. I needed the extra long rod, so the stack-back of the panels would hang away from the glass when they were not in use. I wanted easy and breezy, but having a thermal lining would be smart to keep the heat down in the summer months since the house is in the south and faces southwest.
White Drapes I Considered:
I started my search by ordering the IKEA Ritva panels $24.99 a panel that are popular with decorating bloggers. They are very nice curtains with all sorts of hanging options built right into the back tabs. I don’t live near an IKEA anymore so I could check them out in person. I ordered one to see what it looked like. It was not white enough, the fabric was the color of a drop cloth, but was beautifully made and that would drape nicely. It had everything going for it, but sadly I sent it back because of the color.
I then headed to Walmart and Target where I did find 84″ length white panels, but not 95″ long. I came home and started searching online for the perfect 95″ long solid white drapery panels.
Every online home store has white drapery and curtain panels, but most were too sheer, too expensive, not white enough or long enough.
In my search I also found that white, 144″ long curtain rods are pretty much non-existent. I thought about making them using PVC pipe like I did in the guest bedroom in my previous house, but it seems that narrow diameter PVC pipe has red lettering all over it now. Why did they have to do that? I could have had super long rods for $4.00 each!
I did find two white curtain rods that would be long enough. One at Walmart.com and the other at Bed Bath and Beyond.com. I first ordered the ones above from Walmart, they were well made and quite affordable, but I was disappointed when I opened the box. They were not true white, more of a taupe-white. I returned them.
After weeks of more purchases and returns, these are the white drapery panels, rods, and rings I liked the best:
Target: Threshold $29.99 per panel. They are truly white and fall nicely from the rod. They are an impressive weight fabric for the price.
All Modern: Rhapsody Voile Thermal Lined from All Modern $34.99 a panel. These are super thin, drape beautifully, have a thermal lining, and have practically no stack-back.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond: Nantucket White Rod, Brackets, and Rings: The finials that came with these rods were not quite what I wanted, but with a pair of scissors it was easy to cut the jute off. I made a few more changes to them to fit my style. I will show you how in my next post.
I am using the All Modern thermal lined panels alone in my bedroom so the stack-back is small and will only cover the sidelights when they are open. I am using them as liners on the other 3 sliders that require more sun/heat protection. I am spending more than I wanted, but am quite happy with what I found.
I have only one panel finished so far to fit my needs, but will have the slider in my studioffice done and will show you the completed drapes along with how I fashioned new finials for the rods next week.
- IKEA Ritva Panels $24.99 | 2. Target Threshold Natural Core Solid White Curtains $29.99 | 3. All Modern Rhapsody Voile Thermal Lined | 4. Crate and Barrel Lindstrom $59.95 | 5. Crate and Barrel Wallace $89.95 | 6. Prospect + Vine Jasper Faux Silk Lined Panels $59.95
Other 95″ long drapes and curtains that I considered:
- Country Curtains Janes Plain & Simple White Curtains $39.95
- Target Nate Berkus Horizontal Sheers $29.99
- Pottery Barn – Belgian Flax $59.00