How to Make Extra Wide Drapes for Sliding Glass Doors

I know this post is way overdue and many of you have been writing to me asking me to explain how I made the extra wide drapes to cover all the sliding glass doors in my house.

Sliding door drapes on a budget

If I only had to make two panels to cover one door, I would have had this posted sooner, but I had 4 doors to cover and I lost my production line mojo back in June!

When I started researching ready made white drapes for sliding glass doors, all I could find was ugly custom made ones that costs over $1000 per door.  I had to figure out a way to get the width I needed on the cheap. I didn’t want them to look like sheets hanging from the windows. I wanted them to have ample fullness when closed.  I did lots of research in this post and came up with a way to semi-DIY what I needed.

where to buy extra wide drapes for sliding glass doors

After the pile of ready-made drapes I bought sat waiting all summer long to be transformed in my studioffice, I decided to hunker down and get them made before winter comes.

I am happy to report that I got the job done. Here is how I made them.

How to Make Budget Friendly Extra Wide Drapes for Sliding Glass Doors

White drapes that are affordable

I bought 52″ x 95″ pre-made white drapery panels from Target and All-Modern. I needed four panels for each door.  Two per side.

I wanted to mount the rods as close to the 8′ high ceiling as possible, so I purchased 95″ long panels knowing that they would shrink and I could hem them if needed.

To make one extra-wide panel, I used 2 store bought panels. I needed to rip out the side seams on every panel so I could then sew two together to make one very wide panel.

I could not make one super long panel to cover the entire door that would go off to only one side because the rod length needs a center support. This support stops the drapes from going any further then the center. When the support is placed right in the center of the rod, each panel can easily close all the way up to it.

supplies needed:

  • 2 – 52-inch wide drapery panels for each side of the door.  To cover one door, I needed 4 panels.
  • Drapery hooks
  • Sewing gauge
  • Stitch ripper
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Iron and/or hand held steamer

Note:  I did not hang the rods until after I washed and dried the panels to allow for shrinkage. Once I knew the shrunk length and the length of the ring clips, I could figure out where to mount the rods on the wall so the drapes would just skirt the floor.

  1. Wash and dry each panel in hot water so the fabric shrinks. ( You need to allow for shrinkage so after future washings when you go to hang the panels they won’t be too short.)
  2. Since each panel may shrink a bit differently, I did a check. I measured all the panels to see if they were all still the same length after washing. All of them were except one that was one inch shorter. To get it the same length as the others, I stretched it out with my hands.
  3. Lay the washed and dried panels right side down on your work table or floor.
How to make extra wide drapery panels on a budget

4. Using a stitch ripper, remove one side seam on each panel. (Notice the red lines in my drawing?  They show where I removed the seams. It is important that you remove the seam on the outer side of each panel if you have them face down). This is so that when you place the right sides of the panels together to sew a new seam to create one extra wide panel, the correct sides of the drapes will be sewn together. You also need to open up the rod pocket and hem a little so that you will be able to sew the entire length of the panels together.

5. Once the seams are open, place the right sides of the panels together, one on top of each other with the right sides together and the ripped seams lined up.

6. Use straight pins to attach the two seams together, then sew the seam on your sewing machine. I made a 3/4″ seam. Remove pins and press the seam open. Note: I didn’t use the rod pocket to hang my drapes, but if you will be, make sure you open up the seam enough around the rod pocket so that when you sew two panels together, you can leave the rod pocket usable.

One extra wide panel done!

I did this 7 more times so I would have 8 extra wide panels to cover 4 sliding glass doors.

There are many ways to hang drapes and curtain panels.  The easiest would have been to simply use the existing rod pocket in the drapes. For my personal style though… I wanted the drapes to hang from white metal rings, so I had to semi-DIY how I hung them.

how to place drapery hooks on a drapes

I used drapery hooks and rings to hang the drapes. You can read about them in this post: 4 Tricks to Use When Hanging Curtains

the easy way to get wrinkles out of curtains and drapes

The thick woven cotton drapes from Target got very wrinkled as I worked on them. I used an iron to press them before I hung them, but after they were up, using a hand-held steamer helped remove the stubborn wrinkles. The brush attachment helps spread the fibers of the fabric before the steam hits it which makes the steaming process go very quickly.

How to find budget window treatments for sliding glass doors

I used the insulated sheer curtains from All Modern in my bedroom.  I like that there is very little stack back.

Extra wide curtain panels for sliding glass doors

I used the woven cotton drapes from Target to make the extra wide drapes in the kitchen…

How to make extra wide drapes to cover a sliding glass door

…the living room…

In My Own Style studioffice

… and my studioffice. 

How extra wide sliding glass door drapes look when closed.

It is hard trying to get a good shot of the drapes closed, but here is how the Target drapes look when they are closed. You can see that there is still some fullness in the panels and the light filters through them.

How to install a drapery wand

To open and close the drapes, I simply pull a drapery wand that I attached to each panel….

What is a drapery wand?

… the rings glide easily over the rod. When it is time to open the drapes, I simply hold the rod and push the drapes off the window to each side.

How to make curtain rod finials using glass door knobs

I made the rod finials using door knobs. I did this in my previous house using industrial metal tubing, but I did it a bit differently this time with store bought rods.

See how I made the door knob finials: How to Make Curtain Rod Finials Using Doorknobs

  • The drapes from Target that I used are no longer in stock, but they do sell similar ones, here.
  • Drapery Hooks
  • The white rods and rings I used are called Nantucket Rods from Bed Bath and Beyond. They no longer carry them online, but may still carry them in stores.

More DIY Drape & Curtain Ideas

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  1. Somehow I failed to notice when looking at my new home that every room has wide windows which, while not as wide as your sliding doors, will when covered still stretch out standard width panels more than I want, and like you I’ve been having a rough time finding the right drapes for them. Thank you for sharing your DIY tips! I’m curious, how noticeable are the seams between the panels when the curtains are drawn, particularly on the sheers with so much light passing through?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sarah –

      When I was figuring out how to make the drapes so the seams would not show, I decided to make them wider than needed so when they are closed there are still folds in the fabric that hide the seams. If I used just enough fabric width to cover the window, the fabric would have no folds and you would see the seams. Hope this makes sense.

  2. Natalie Graves says:

    I am so glad i found your blog! I have been looking for hours for an appropriate way to handle my 140” wide sliding glass doors (9 ft ceilings). The main idea I’m stuck on, is can I get away with using only one middle support for a curtain rod that has to be so wide!? I am hanging 4 panels of of the IKEA RITVA curtains, each pair approx 5.5 lbs according to packaging, so 2 pairs total.
    Also, Do you have recommendations on heavy duty curtain rods? I am hoping for brass. Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Natalie – The IKEA Ritva curtains will look very nice. With the long 120″ length you will need one center support, but that will be all if you get a very stiff rod with only a small section of telescoping. My sliding glass doors are 108″. The one center support is all that is needed and my rods are not that stiff.

      If you want bright brass – you can see a more modern looking rod that comes in a long length here:

      Here is another that starts at 120″ and goes a little wider. It would be plenty stiff enough since you won’t need to telescope it to get the length your need. It can be used with one small support in the middle: and also check out this rod:

      Any of these will work for the length of your doors.

  3. Love your blog! I’m trying to update some cottage drapery over a sliding glass door that has an additional window on each side- it’s a beautiful view! I ideally want only one stack on each side but want to close the curtains when not there. I’m concerned about the weight of the curtains and will they need a support bracket for the weight…. then the curtains cannot slide out of sight to see the view. Do I simply have to choose a light weight fabric or do you have a trick for that too?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sandy –

      I think I understand your sliding glass door question, but before I answer it, can you tell me – Do you have a curtain rod up already over the door window? If so how far past the door/window combo does the rod extend?

  4. Hi Diane,
    I came across your blog a couple of months ago and I am hooked! You’ve inspired me to take on some things I’ve been putting off for years. Like putting curtains across the 3-panel sliding glass doors.

    I bought a set of 4 inexpensive sheer panels, 50″ x 84″. If I use a seam ripper to undo the side seams before sewing them together, I think you will see the visible raw edges, since they are sheer. Would it be better to not undo the seams, and sew them together right on the seam and then press that open, so that the raw edges will be folded away within the manufacturer’s original seams? Would love your take. Thanks so much!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Laura – Good question. Yes you can leave the seams in place and sew the sheer panels together. The reason I didn’t do it this way was I thought the seams would be thicker. The other reason was I was using the sheers as a liner for cotton drapes. I wanted both to be the same width when hung together. If I just sewed the seams together as you are asking, the sheers (lining layer) would be shorter. Does that make sense?

      1. Hi Diane – yes, it does, thanks for responding. In the last few days I have been mulling this over – and haven’t settled on whether to sew them without undoing the seams first, or undo the seams first. At one point I decided to leave them completely separate, but then I imagined myself opening and closing 4 of them every time! I am now thinking I’ll sew them abutting together but not overlapping with a zig zag stitch. Please feel free to chime in on that idea. But otherwise, I think I just need to give it a try, and undo it if it doesn’t look ok.

        Thanks again for your reply. I’m really enjoying your blog – I found it when I searched for curtain ideas for a sliding glass door. I’m drawn to your style and colors, and so many great ideas. Love how you transformed your house. I’m excited for summer because I would like to try painting some furniture with your chalk paint recipe. But: curtains first! With love from Michigan –

  5. Pam Harris says:

    I admire what you have done. I’m wondering if this can be done with grommet curtains. I found a curtain that is perfect for our patio doors but it does not come in extra wide. Thinking about joining 2 panels. Do you think that would work?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pam – I think you can join two panels with grommets. You could simply sew the left side of one to the right side of the other, but depending on how they are sewn and how close the grommets are to the end of the panels. You may have to remove the line of stitches on each panel and then join them, making sure that the grommets from the two panels don’t overlap each other. They can be close, but not overlapping.

  6. HC SMART HOME says:

    Great ideas to share with us. I especially like the office room with all light colours. During the lockdown time, an office environment is very important. Thanks for inspiring me!

  7. Hi I hope you can help me I tried putting electric tape on the curtain rod extensions so that the curtain rings will slide smoothly when I open and close the drapes. Hope you can help me thanks.

  8. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh thank you for the info on how to make wide drapes Beautiful God bless

  9. mary wilson says:

    Where do you attach the drapery on the hook? The detail does is note in the photo on my computer.

  10. Lee Anne Clarke says:

    You’ve inspired me to make my own rods – thank you! Beautiful!

    May I also ask what the paint colour is, it’s lovely.

  11. Am I right that your rod is long enough so that the curtain when open is outside of the glass door area? I am wondering how to keep the curtain out of the way so my massive dog & male person can go in & out without dragging the curtain with them. I seem to wind up with furry or dirty curtain edges.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Anna –

      Yes, the rods are long enough to go way past the glass and molding around the doors. They were hard to find. I had to purchase them online since most stores do not carry the longer lengths. and Beth Bath and both have longer lengths. I think Overstock does also. To figure out how long I would need the rods, I measured the stack back of the curtains and added a few more inches just to make sure when the drapes were open they were off the windows and not blocking any of the glass doors or view.

      1. Darlene Sipe says:

        Exactly how far past your windows did you end up extending the curtain rods?

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Darlene – I attached the bracket to hold the curtain rod – 8″ away from the frame of the sliding glass door. The finial is past the bracket and in this area, the first ring goes. The end of the finial is 10″ away from the frame of the doors.

  12. Hi Dianne, thanks for this, it couldn’t have come at a better time as i am converting a small section of my home into a small office space and these drapes will look fabulous on my glass doors! :)

  13. You made $1,000 dollar drapes! They are perfect.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carol – Thanks – With a little effort each door only cost $120. Much better than the $1000 I was finding when I was searching for white drapes.

  14. Hi Diane ,this is what I need to start. I have six sets of sliders on the back of my house. They open onto an enclosed yard and now they are bare. Though I don’t need curtains for privacy,I love how your looks. Thanks for lighting a fire. On a mission for curtains,wish me luck.

  15. Your curtains look great. Having made draperies before, I can appreciate why you put it off for so long. It’s a pain in the patooty! LOL! I think I’m going to steal your idea for the drapery wands for the curtains in my breakfast nook.

  16. How do the drapes open and close? They look great!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joellen – The drapes open and close by pulling them across the rod. The drapes are attached to rings and I have a drapery wand on each panel to make pulling them across easy. I linked to a previous post on about the drapes where I showed this, but I will update this post with the photo to make it clear how to open and close the drapes.

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Again Joellen – I just updated the post with a photo of the drapery wands that I attached to each panel to be able to easily open and close the drapes.

  17. Mary Heicher says:

    Ok Diane, I am in love with the file chest of drawers.
    Is that a purchase or one of your re-purposing projects?
    I hate my file cabinet, it’s down right ugly.

    1. Mary Heicher says:

      oops didn’t see you’d already answered my question, sorry

  18. Beautiful. I, too want to know about the white piece in your bedroom. Filing cabinet? Is it custom made?

  19. Thanks for the demo.
    Too white.
    Can’t see anything.

    I got a good deal on 95″ curtains at Home Goods.
    Mine are a nice crisp white also BUT have a pale grey imprint on them sporadically, so you can see the panel.
    I used a black, wrought iron curtain rod, which really makes the whole scene pop.
    I got 4 panels to cover my huge living room sliding glass doors.
    Almost hung them as close to the ceiling as possible. (9 ft ceilngs)
    $22 a panel, making the grand total $88.
    Thanks for posting this.
    I get a lot of great ideas and inspirations from you.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cindi –

      HomeGoods does have a lot of great looking drapes. They seem to be getting more and more, too. The price is the best!!!!! Your curtains sound beautiful with the wrought iron rods. Love to hear how readers use their personal style to decorate. XO

  20. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Wonderful. You are really doing it right. I too am looking forward to seeing you redo your kitchen. I had no choice but to delete my ever so tiny dining room, but knowing that you chose to not have one is great news for me. So …… what are your plans for the upcoming holidays for your family dinners? I know you have that all down pat in warm weather.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll – I think the holidays are going to be pretty quiet. I am planning for simple meals for only 5 of us. Thanksgiving may only be 3 of us. I will set everything up all festive at the kitchen table…if it is nice out…maybe even outside. :-)

  21. Can you show a pic of what they look like when they are closed? Thanks!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lori – I tried getting a photo during the day showing them closed for the post, but since they are not totally opaque, the light comes through them and you can’t see any detail. I will try to get a shot at dusk when the light coming into the rooms is not so strong.

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lori – I just added a photo I just took of the drapes in my living room closed. It is not the best, but I think it will allow you to see that some light does comes through the fabric and there is still fullness in the fabric even when they are closed.

      1. Thanks! They look great closed as well!

  22. Patty Pozolo says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, makes it sound easier than I expected! Is that white piece inyour office a filing cabinet? Can you share the source?

  23. Love your semi-custom drapes. I hope you show the back and how you installed the drapery pins. I’d love to know the make of your steamer. I just have a tiny folding travel steamer and it’s not very effective on bigger projects.

  24. Deanna Thurmond says:

    Is the brick wall in your office painted? If so, can you tell what color it is? It looks as though it might be a metallic.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deanna – The bricks on the wall are not painted, but they are a very brown brick with a very rough surface that catches the light. We have the same brick in the living room. I covered it when I redid the fireplace, but I did paint a part of it white. It was hard to do because of the rough surface. you can see it in this post:

  25. Heike Woolard says:

    Beautiful job, I love seeing your house come together. Can’t wait for the kitchen reveal.
    I had to do something similar for a set of French Doors in my bedroom. I don’t recall the width my curtains came in but I bought the 95″ ones, but the height had to be 89″ and I basically needed 3 panels, but I did not want a double and single panel. At the time I had nowhere to set up my sewing machine and was working 50+ hours, so a friend of a friend that is a seamstress said that she would fix them up for me for $30. I jumped on that offer. At ~$30 per panel and the sewing fee, I came in at ~$120. Very affordable. She cut one of the panels lengthwise in half and sewed each of the two sections to the other panels and I tell you, she did such an amazing job, you can’t even tell when the curtains are closed. She was super fast about it too.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Heike – I wish I had someone like your friend to make mine. $30 a panel is a great price. Very affordable. She is a good person to have around. :-)

      1. Heike Woolard says:

        She is, and has a lot of table space to lay those out. I think I got the panels at Bed, Bath & Beyond or one of those similar stores. Mine are actually rather textured and a dark chocolate brown, as I mainly wanted them to keep the “winter” out. Right now they are rolled up over the curtain rod as I rescued 5 kittens and you can imagine what they are wanting to do with them.
        I could not imagine having everything white like you, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I have a dirty husband, 2 large (80 lbs) dogs in addition to the kittens and two old lady cats. I have tile floors in all of the rooms in my house because of the dirt, you would not believe.
        So I live vicariously through you in your white house.
        :) Cheers

  26. Thank you for the easy tutorial, Diane. This is one of those jobs I’m going to have to tackle (just for one room, though, thankfully!) and your instructions are going to come in very handy! Looking forward also to seeing how you made the rods. The Lake House is looking wonderful. Sue

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sue – I always try to find a doable alternative. It may not be the traditional way of doing things, but they work for me. :-)

  27. They turned out beautifully! Thanks for the how-to