DIY Easy Pleated Curtains {from sloppy to structured}


This simple, inexpensive pleat tape will have your DIY curtains whipped into beautiful custom curtains in a jiffy! 

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

So, after I made my drop cloth curtains, I decided that they needed a little more structure up top. The canvas drop cloths are semi-heavy, but a little flimsy for clip rings. And I wanted a bit more structure … or at least to try something I hadn’t tried before.

{Don’t crucify me if you’re an amazing seamstress … I may be using this product all wrong, but it worked for me and I like the results, so I’ll share what I did.}

I’d heard about this stuff that you can sew onto the top of the curtains and it almost instantly creates pretty pleats. Something that doesn’t take more than sewing in a straight {or somewhat straight} line? I’m in!

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

“This stuff” is called pleater tape. And it’s amazing! I bought mine at Joann’s and it was pretty cheap in the $1-$2 range per yard.

First, you’ll lay the tape across the top of your curtain and pin it down, making sure it doesn’t go over the top hem of the curtains. I did this first and then cut off the excess on the ends.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Before you sew the tape into place, you’ll want to secure the ends of the cord that runs through the tape. I just tied mine at each end.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Then you sew the tape on both the top and the bottom sides. There’s a line along both sides that gives an easy path to follow. I sewed mine kind of straight.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

I can cut a straight line with a circular saw all day long, but a sewing a straight line seems to elude me.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Then you start pulling the cords through the pleater tape. Mine had four cords, so I just worked my way from one end to the other.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Once I get them all pulled through, you can see that it was really pleated. Too pleated for me, actually.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

So, I worked with it a while until I achieved the look I was going for.

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Once I got it how I liked it, I hung it back up with the curtain rings. Turns out, I probably should have bought the tape in the bin to the left of the one I bought. It would have given me the look I ended up with, but I had no idea. 🙂

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

I absolutely LOVE the new look. And I know it’s not precisely straight or pleated, but I really like the way it looks … a little imperfect makes it perfect for me!

DIY Easy Pleated Curtains

Wasn’t that so simple? You’re welcome.

Now, all of you super awesome seamstresses can leave tips and corrections in the comments. Go ahead … I can take it. 🙂

Have you ever used pleater tape before?

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  1. Wow! Thank you sooooo much! I had NO idea there was such a thing as pleader tape. I plan on making curtains to take the place of doors for my kitchen cabinets and I wanted my bottom curtains to be pleaded so YOU are a lifesaver, especially to one (that would be me!) who DOESN’T SEW!
    Thanks again,

  2. Thank you so much for sharing these great, simple instructions! I can’t wait to make them in a few weeks. Keep posting!

  3. I am so happy that I found this! You could also purchase regular rod pocket drapes and add pleats. I may use this option myself.

  4. Great tutorial Laura! I am hoping to get a sewing machine for my bday or Christmas and totally need curtains! Pinning this to use soon! 🙂

  5. The thing that makes bloggers great is going outside that familiarity, outside that box.You do it, you find other “Lovely Ladies” that do it and then we get the opportunity to learn, grow, be inspired and try the project ourselves. Isn’t that what this is all about? Well you have it down pat. I love to visit this site for that reason. All of you make it look easy enough for me to try things I might not have otherwise. Again, thanks for the inspiration Whether it’s your project, or you found it, tried it….you get it just right!

  6. I’ve never used that before, and I didn’t know you could just buy it! So great to know. Thanks!

  7. Love this look and what a great tutorial… Would like to invite you to come share at One More Time Events.

  8. This is such a fabulous idea. I love it, I would never have thought to use the sheering tape, but it is perfect. Your drapes are stunning. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  9. Wow! You made this look pretty easy! The finished curtains look fabulous! I would love it if you’d link this up to my Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop. I host a weekly blog hop every Sunday at 8 Central time just for great ideas like this! Hope to see you there!

  10. Just when I thought your drop cloth curtains couldn’t get any cuter?!? I absolutely LOVE these… now I DEFINITELY have to make some!! I have about 73 windows in my house that are naked! That’s right… not a strand of curtain in my WHOLE HOUSE! They are just so dang expensive! I sense a blog series in my near future!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. 73 windows?? Girl, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But I LOVE making window treatments, so it might be my dream come true. There are a TON of beautiful, inexpensive ideas for window treatments. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

  11. I had no idea tape like that is available to make pleats on drapes. I love the new look of your drapes. Great job.

  12. I’m not an amazing seamstress, but I did do it professionally. Don’t worry, you did it exactly right. 🙂 The only thing we did differently in the shop was to stitch down the cords on each end instead of tying knots, and that just makes it a little prettier on the back. Good work, they look great!

  13. I love them with the pleats!! I have used a different type of pleater tape before… where you buy little metal clip thingies (the technical term:) that go into a few of the little pockets and create a pleat by pinching those few pockets together. Does that make sense? It was easy to sew on (though I never sew straight lines either, who needs them really?? totally overrated). But the metal clip thingies were super hard to put in. Once it was done it worked well though. I love how it changed the look of your drapes!!

    1. Yes! I’ve seen those metal clip thingies before. But they looked too hard for me, lol! So, I stick to sewing semi-straight lines and pulling cords through. Although the metal clips probably give it an even more structured look. Thanks girl!

  14. I can’t handle a circular sew either and I am just a semi-straight sewer, too, but I will definitely sew this. I had no idea that’s what that tape stuff was for – lol! It really makes it look beautiful. And to think of what fabric you started out with. Great job and thanks for sharing with us.

  15. Great job! I am not a super seamstress by any means, but when I want to get a really straight line sewing something I put a big thick magnet on the metal base if the sewing machine. Then just run your fabric along it & it stays in place. That is probably not a real sewing technique, but it works & was especially helpful when I first started sewing.

    1. You make beautiful clothing for your girl, so you count as a super seamstress in my book. GREAT tip!! I’ll have to try that. 🙂

  16. I think it is perfect for you. I do sew a lot but I couldn’t handle a circular saw if my life depended on it! You did great!! 🙂

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