Drapery Detail Tutorial

Last week, I posted about a master bedroom installation I completed for this great couple who live in Mountain Brook.  I mentioned you can get a high end custom look with your drapery panels by adding trim detail to the lead edge of ready made panels.  It's very simple to do and will save you lots of cashola.

  Here's what I did . . . 

Find high quality 100% linen panels with 100% cotton lining.  These days they are really more available than you might think.  Think mainstream interior design stores (you know the ones you get a catalog from every other day or so?) and you'll find lots of options.

Also, these panels were actually a tabbed top style.  But, we chose not to use the tabs and installed them with rings and rod hardware.  This is another great way to get a really high end look.

 You will need to iron the inside edge of the panels where the tape will be applied.  The key to a great finished product is not the quality of your sewing machine, but rather, in the time you take to iron everything really well.  Since these panels were very wrinkled when I pulled them out of the bag, I ironed the lead edge front and back (no starch, just steam) before even thinking about pinning the tape to the panel. 

Turn under the cut edge of the trim and pin it to the back side of the top of the first panel where you want the tape to go.  This will prevent the tape from raveling.   In our case, we added the tape just to the inside or "lead" edge of each panel.  But you could add it to the top, bottom and/or sides depending on the look you would like to achieve.  

Carefully sew the tape to the panel on the back side.  You will not be able to see this seam on the front side since the tape will cover it. 

Flip the panel back over to the front side and begin pinning the tape in place.  I never apply the tape right to the edge of the panel.  To really get some contrast, I like to apply the tape 1/4" from the edge.  I make this measurement the entire time I am pinning the tape down.  

You want this edge to be exactly the same all the way down else you eye will be drawn to the difference and the tape will look very uneven.

Sew the tape onto the panel.  You will need to do this on both sides of the tape.  I like to make this seam as close to the edge of the tape as I can get it.

First the right side . . . 

Then the left . . . 
When you get to the bottom, you will need to tuck the tape under just as you did at the top.  For this seam, I tack it down by hand as to not see it in the finished product. 

I always use a monofilament thread when I am doing this type of top stitching.  Monofilament thread is clear like fishing line so you will not see it in the finished product. 

If you are using a graphic tape with a longer repeat (like what we used in this project), it is very important to make sure the pattern matches on the two panels that will be flanking the window.  If you don't do this, it will not look right in your finished product! 

That's it!  If you don't sew and are feeling a bit frustrated right about now, consider begging, pleading or even bribing a friend or relative who sews to do it for you.  I called several workrooms here in Birmingham and the price varied from $25 - $50 per panel to add this type of detail.   So, it will serve you well to do a little groveling! M.


  1. Wonderful tip!! I have done this before with solid grosgrain ribbon and it was lovely too. Great step by step tutorial too!

    xo Allison
    Spicer + Bank

  2. Yay! I've been waiting for this!! Such a great look and relatively simple (even for sew-deficient me)! Thanks for sharing!!
    xo Heidi

  3. I have had the worst luck having my workroom do this as it seems to stretch and pucker. I had to have them hand sew it and it worked so much better. I thought about using stitch witchery (sp?) to see if that would be an alternative. Your look great!

  4. I love tape trim on the leading edge of panels. I've done it on many occasions on different projects. You made it look so easy! Great tutorial!

  5. Do you use the monofilament thread in the bobbin also?

  6. Great tutorial, Mandi! I have a sewing machine and have taken a sewing lesson here and there, but I have the hardest time keep things straight when I sew. Not sure what my problem is. I need to do this to my dining room curtains, and I think I'm just a little nervous to do it myself. Might need to start begging!

  7. great thinking ...I would have to haggle to have this done, I just don't get along with sewing machines.

  8. Great job! And thanks for the detailed tutorial! I will definitely have to tuck this post away for future projects! :) Have a great day!

  9. I am so impressed...that tape is gorgeous and the final effect is just perfect. Love it!!

  10. Love the idea and the tape. Would you please share where you purchased it? Also, someone else asked the question about using the same thread in the bobbin....just wondering if you did? Thanks. Liz


  11. I found the tape locally at King Cotton. As for the thread question, I do use the monofilament in the bobbin too. The other thing I will mentioned is I use "sharps" glass head pins. They go into the fabric very easily and do not pucker or pull the tape as you are trying to pin it onto the panels. This helps tremendously when trying to keep the tape even. Hope this helps! Mandi.


Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.