Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DIY Custom French Pleat Curtains

When we chose the dark blue paint color (Benjamin Moore Evening Dove) for our master bedroom a few months ago, we decided that we would hang white curtains from floor to ceiling to make the room feel lighter. The room has a vaulted ceiling, but I loved the high contrast look of the tall white curtains in other rooms. 

Shopping for curtain panels can be a pain... you need to find the correct length, material, and sometimes you get stuck between options like tap-top or grommets... which can be right for certain rooms and situations, but wasn't what I was looking for. I decided that I wanted either back-tab curtains or French pleat (pinch pleat).  Panels like these vary widely in cost, but a lot of times you will spend a lot of extra money just to get the pleat look. Well, here's a great and surprisingly cheap option for you to make your own French Pleat curtains using Ikea Ritva curtain panels. 

A pair of Ikea Ritva panels comes in either 98" or 117" lengths, so you get a lot of fabric for the low cost (you can always hem them to be shorter, if needed). I bought the 98" length and I'm really happy with how they look. Here's how I created the French Pleats.
 You will need to buy the panels from IKEA and then buy triple pleat hooks (like these) from somewhere like JoAnn Fabric or on Amazon. IKEA does sell some pleat hooks, but they are double pleat hooks and won't give you the same effect. If you want the triple pleat, you will need to buy the 4-pronged pins.
The nice thing about using the Ritva curtain panels, is that they have built in pleater tape into the header of the curtain. (If you are doing this with another kind of panel, you will need to sew this pleater tape into the top section of the curtain yourself) This means that you can create almost any design of pleats that you want... you just need to figure out where to put your hooks.
To start, put one of the prongs into a slot in the header.  Then, depending on how deep you want the pleats, place the second prong into another slot. Continue this until you have your finished single pleat.  Before you start your panel, you will want to decide how big you want each pleat to be and how much space you want to leave in between pleats. For my curtains, I had 5 pleats (each created out of 8" of panel width) leaving about 3" between each. On the ends, you can put a single pin in a slot to keep the panel ends neatly attached to the rod.
 When you are done, it looks like this:
Then, you just need to either attach the hooks to rings and hang them, or use the rings directly on your rod.
There you go! I'm pretty excited about the way they turned out. I still need to do a lot more in this room, but having curtains up already makes it feel so much nicer!


  1. Hi, I stumbled across your blog and really like it with one exception. Every time I type in Diy projects blogs come up and all the homes have gray interiors. I know it's the color of the season, even my daugher has it. But it makes me wonder. If we all follow trends how then do we really know who we are or for that what we really like. Just a thought.

  2. These look great! I love the corner panel!

  3. Hi,

    I love your curtains and how they sit higher than the rod. When I try to do that with Ikea products, the curtains sit under the rod with the curtain rings visible. Can you please advise how you got your curtains to sit high? Did you connect the hook directly to the ring?

  4. Emily-- you do not use rings if you've pleated them. There are spaces in the back of the curtain that slide on to the curtain rod directly.

  5. The pleats are lovely! That was great thinking with those French pleats, I think without them, the drapes would be just another white curtain without any twist. Now the curtain and the room itself look more elegant and more open. Thanks for sharing this trick!

    Bob Ward @ Allure Window Treatments

  6. I believe the standard width for the curtains are 57". Can you please tell me how wide are they are you pleated them?

  7. Yes, I'd like to know how wide they are after pleating them, too! Thank you!

  8. Can you please explain how many spaces you went for each prong? I'm having a very diffulct time and I've read the post a number of times :(

  9. Ok I think I got it to the same size and I love it! But how did you hang them on the rods? Did you use rings? Did you use IKEA rods? I ordered the 4 pleat hooks you recommend off amazon but the hook doesn't allow for any movement on the rod. Help!

  10. How do these curtains attach to the rod? Thanks!

  11. Where do I purchase the special heading tape in the UK


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