How To Make No-Sew Curtains (And Make A Window Look Way Bigger)

We’re back with our homemade nursery curtain panel how-to. Remember when we revealed our punchy patterned find during last week’s shopping post? Well here’s how we took it from one big bolt of rolled up fabric by P Kaufmann…

… to three gorgeous floor-length curtains (two for the window and one for the doorless closet). And probably best of all: there’s no sewing machine required. In fact, here’s my short and sweet list of supplies: tape measure, scissors, iron on hem tape, and an iron of course. Plus we even added a few kid-safe features so stay tuned for those details…

But before we get into all the dirty curtain-makin’ details, we should mention that we hope our baby sleeps well. So in the interest of aiding our little one in that area, we decided that we also needed to grab some sort of 100% light-blocking blinds or shades. So we trolled the aisles of Home Depot and found some chic white faux-wood blinds. We loved them because they felt almost like substantial wood shutters when they were lowered (a lot more solid than those thin plastic or metal venetian blinds) and they definitely would block any and all light when in use (and could easily be pulled up and out of the way to let light stream in during the day).

But here’s the bummer. Of course they didn’t come in the exact measurements of our quirky old house’s window (39 1/4″ wide in case you’re wondering). Sadness. But we soon learned that Home Depot could actually cut them down to custom fit our window perfectly- and the cutting service is F-R-E-E. That turned our frown upside down. So we give the guy in the orange apron our window’s odd width and he had our custom-cut clean-lined faux wood blinds waiting for us about five minutes later. The blinds weren’t super cheap at $37, but they look convincingly like much pricier white wood blinds and we know the darkness that they’ll provide will be priceless when we’re dying for one more minute of sleep.

Of course we also liked that they didn’t have those dangerous loopy pull cords (they were labeled as having “kid safe cords” that are actually separated instead of connected so they’re less of a strangulation hazard- no loop to get caught in). And of course we plan to keep them wound around one of those cord wrangling pieces of metal at the top right corner of the window far out of baby’s reach anyway, but we love the added loop-free design.

And since we love a before picture, here’s the window prior to our little curtain and blind fest:

John had the blinds up in about twenty minutes, but they definitely left a lot to be desired in the length department. They were actually a bit heavy to raise and lower, all due to the fact that they were at least two feet too long for our window, so there were a bunch of slats that just clumped together at the bottom of the blinds when they were in the “lowered” position. Luckily in the installation instructions they actually detailed how to shorten them to customize their length to fit any window. Nice.

So John just followed the included directions and popped out these little plastic pieces on the bottom and could easily remove as many slats as he’d like and trim the excess string. Then he just popped the bottom pieces back on and we had an even more customized nursery blind that was a lot less cumbersome to raise and lower without all those extra slats at the bottom. Then, like a finely tuned relay team, John tagged me and said “your turn” and I began working on the curtains.

First I measured the approximate height that I wanted the curtains to be (just shy of 8′ for an almost floor to ceiling look) and added an inch and a half on the top and bottom to accommodate the hem. It was actually a nice clean measurement in the end because I determined that cutting two eight foot long sections of fabric would do the trick perfectly (since I wanted them a bit shy of 8′ but with the added hem measurement it brought them right back up to 8′ exactly). Hurrah for no quarter of an inch calculations!

The other super convenient thing about measuring out my fabric was that we already happened to have our new 5 x 8′ rug on the floor… so to cut my 8′ long fabric sections, I simply rolled the bolt from one end of the rug to the other and cut a straight line using the edge of the rug as my guide. It doesn’t get much easier than that. And for the width I just left each panel as wise as the bolt allowed (so I didn’t need to trim those edges at all).

Then it was time for my trusty Heat N’ Bond iron on hem tape (I always grab the “ultra hold” variety). You may have seen us using it in this crib skirt tutorial from a while back and we’ve also used it to hem all the white Ikea curtains that we have hanging in the rest of the house. In short: I’m a hem tape black belt (the irony is that John does all the clothes-ironing in the house). Anyway it’s great stuff for leaving a polished and clean-looking edge (a lot more reliable then me with a sewing machine!) and it’s even washable and super cheap (we grab ours for a few bucks a roll at Michael’s). So I whipped out the ironing board, fired up the iron, laid out my big eight foot long fabric panel and had my scissors and hem tape on hand.

All it took was an easy-iron hem on each of the four sides of my fabric (for step by step hem tape instructions, just check out this post). Then I had a nice finished panel (without any rod loops or tabs) that I could clip up using my cheap-o oil-rubbed bronze curtain rings and rod from Target. Just look at how seamless and perfect that edge is! Much more even and less bunchy than anything I could sew…

Then I tagged John to get to work hanging the curtain rod with heavy duty anchors (so it’ll never come toppling down, even if over 100lbs of force is used) while I created a third curtain panel for the closet (this one only needed to be seven feet long). I also made a little rod pocket at the top of this panel (I just positioned hem tape about 4 inches below the edge of the fabric and ironed the fabric to that line of hem tape created a nice loop of fabric). Meanwhile John was already executing my let’s-cheat-our-off-centered-window-so-it-looks-more-balanced plan.

This angle gives you a better idea of what we were dealing with. See how the window is shifted a bit too much to the left? Well it’s nothing a curtain rod and some billowy floor length curtains can’t totally solve. I asked John to hang the left curtain rod support hook only about four inches wider than the trim on the left side of the window but requested that he hang the right curtain rod support hook about fifteen inches wider than the trim on the right side of the window.

This way, once we hung each of the curtain panels, we could cheat them both over to the right (blocking a bit of the window on the left side, but adding a ton of balance and polish to the room):

And we also mentioned in our shopping post that we snagged our simple oil-rubbed bronze curtain rod along with two packs of curtain rings on clearance at Target for less than $12 total. We love the height and the elegance that the shot of dark color brings to the wall, and love that it echoes everything from the mocha finish on the floor to a few of the darker wood accents that we’ll be bringing in to keep things from getting too sugary sweet and matchy-matchy.

Plus the clip-on curtain rings are actually something of a safety feature. Remember how we mentioned that someone could hang on those curtains without the rod coming down thanks to the use of some heavy duty anchors? Well we also realized that using clip-on curtain rings would allow for just the fabric panels to pull down if anyone got too rowdy and tried to swing from them (while the rings and the rod would most definitely stay put). We even tested them out by tugging on them a bit, and although it took pretty much all of my pregnant adult weight, sure enough the fabric was released from the rings and fluttered lightly to the floor while the rod and the rings stayed nice and securely in place on the wall.

And as someone who has never used curtain ring clips before I just have to sing their praises. Not only are they nice little secret safety features, they also create such perfect little “waves” in the panels which result in such an amazingly high end look (and best of all, there’s no rod-pocket required, so you can hang any panel of fabric without worrying about extra sewing or loop-making).

Oh and we can’t forget our tiny little blue closet (thanks to John’s cute idea to bring the aqua color from the ceiling into the mini enclave for fun). Doesn’t the curtain panel add some nice pattern and sweetness to a closet that was formerly pretty bleak looking?

Maybe we should refresh your memory with a before pic:

It’s looking better already, right? And of course we still have to add bins, baskets, and more hanging rods (along with some sort of storage piece on the floor of the closet).

As for how we swagged our curtain panel so it’s mostly out of the way, we just hung it on a $3 tension rod (one that screws into both sides of the molding for more reinforcement than those that rely only on tension). Then we added a regular old Ikea coat hook that we already had on the left side of the closet’s interior trim. Next I made a little strip of fabric (using my trusty hem tape to finish the edges) and used that to create a loop around the curtain panel. Note: it’s safety pinned in the back so it can easily be removed and readjusted.

Then it was as simple as slipping my loop of fabric onto the hook on the side of the closet to hold the curtain off to the side.

So that’s the story of how we made our off-centered window look more balanced, blocked out all the light for less sleepless nights (fingers crossed) and added a fun pop of pattern to both sides of the nursery in the form of breezy floor-length curtains (which make the ceilings feel about a foot higher). Plus we only spent about $35 a panel (with almost an entire yard of fabric leftover!). Oh and it always makes us smile at our fabric luck when we recall that it’s actually indoor/outdoor fabric, so it’s a lot more stain and fade resistant than the average bear (although still completely washable). Which is a good thing when it comes to sticky fingers and goey faces…

But what about you guys? Have you made your own curtains before? Do you have a closet with a panel of fabric on a tension rod in lieu of a door? Spill the sewing (or hem tape) beans.

Update: This P Kaufmann fabric seems to be discontinued now, but here’s an affiliate link to another fun oversized floral print on amazon for anyone looking for something similar. 

Psst- Wanna see our nursery progress from the very beginning? Here’s our painting post, our big shopping spree, and our crib hunting rundown.


  1. Nela says

    Hey there! Love your ideas…. I have a question in regards to the closet door. How did you repair the indents done to the frame caused by the hinges of the old door? I have one closet in my spare room I would love to do this, but the spot where the hinges where are horrible. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation!!

    • says

      Hey Nela,

      Some simple putty should do the trick. Just grab a putty knife and fill in those indents so they’re not longer visible once it all dries and you paint everything white to match the trim. If you ask someone at a home improvement store for tips they can show you what to get and how to use it. Hope it helps!


  2. says

    The room looks great so far. I love the curtains! I cannot wait to see the final reveal!

    For our daughter, I embellished a white eyelet valance I bought for about $5.00. I ran pink and green ribbon through the eyelet holes and ironed on dainty little flower patches horizontally across the area above the eyelets. That’s about it for our no-sew curtains.

    Oh, and we use tension rods/curtains for closets all the time. Love the look!

  3. Sonya says

    I have the same blinds and had no idea you could shorten them to “customize” the length – thanks for showing that tip!!

    Love your new curtains! Your post is so encouraging to me because I’ve wanted to make tie-up curtains for my bathroom windows and thought I’d have to take a sewing class – yours look so great with the tape that now I’m going to give that a try! I say bravo to you for doing what you want with the style/length now while knowing you can always make modifications later on! I feel that sometimes people seem to think that the baby will arrive ready to crawl around and rip them down right away – haha :)

  4. Joe says

    We replaced my teen daughter’s ugly bifold closet doors with a curtain, and it’s a total nuisance. But hers is a lot wider than yours, so maybe you’ll have better luck. One day soon I’m going to take down her curtains and install a pair of sliding closet doors.

  5. says

    props to iron-on hemming! love that stuff. and i adore that light!

    i have a very thin closet in my room with no door that i found a wooden roman shade for at good old walmart. it’s a bit of a pain to raise and lower it every day, but it looks really tailored and fits great.


    • says

      Hey Kristen,

      We knew that our ceilings were 8 feet tall and that we wanted two almost floor to ceiling panels for the window so that was 16 feet of fabric that we needed off the bat. Then we measured the closet and learned that it was just shy of 7 feet tall so that took us to 23 feet of fabric total (which breaks down into 8 yards of fabric necessary and should have left us with about a foot of fabric to spare). The bonus was that the guy who cut it for us gave us a bit of extra yardage on the front and back end (just to be sure) so we ended up with nearly a yard of extra fabric leftover- which is always nice to have on hand… just in case. Hope it helps!


  6. Rosie says

    Great looking nursery you two! Baby P will be proud!

    Are the bottom of the curtains hemmed too? How much are they actually “falling” on the floor? I want to try my hand at making curtains (maybe that drape on the floor), but have no idea just how long they should be to overlow on the floor.

    Are straight floor-length curtains not really the look nowadays? It’s all new to me and I’m learning as I go.
    Thanks for your help!

    • says

      Yup, all four sides of each panel of fabric are hemmed, and I left about 2.5 extra inches on the bottom for that pooled look when they gather on the floor just a bit. These days everything from curtains that just graze the floor (or even stop about a quarter of an inch above the floor) to panels that pool on the ground even more than our nursery ones are definitely “in” so it’s all about personal preference. If you want a clean and crisp (ie: more modern) look, go for panels that just graze the floor or stop short about 1/4 of an inch before touching it. If you’re after more of a vintage-y or traditional look then a bit of extra “pooling” on the floor always looks romantic and sweet. Hope it helps!


  7. Sam says

    That fabric is great- it really brings the room together. I’m also in the process of putting together my daughter’s nursery and love checking in with your blog to steal ideas from you! Can’t wait to see the finished room!

  8. Amanda in Boston says

    Glad you found those blinds! We have the same one in all the windows in our condo! We had HD cut them down too, which was so great. We looked into the honeycomb blinds and it would have cost 1,000. They do look very nice, and are great at blocking out light. Gotta love HD!

  9. says

    Love the curtains and they were so easy to make. I’m thinking of copying your idea for the curtain and a closet door in our guest room. I’m gonna bookmark this post.

  10. says

    I’m super impressed with how you made the window look centered. You can’t even tell!

    Sherry maybe you’ve already answered this question- but do you own a sewing machine? Do you have a crafty seamstress side, or is it all just find-genius-ways-to-do-super-cute-projects?

    • says

      Hey Amanda,

      Nope, no sewing machine for me. The funny thing is that I registered for one when we got married and my sweet grandma got it for me way in advance (it arrived about 3 months before the wedding). Every time I saw it sitting in the closet taking up space and collecting dust I felt guilty for not using my grandma’s gift. So after about a month or two of realizing that I never used it (and always reached for alternatives like hem-tape) I just faced the fact that it wasn’t for me and I could use the closet space more than the guilt-inducing sewing machine and ended up exchanging it for something else on my registry. Of course I called my grandma to fess up and she was just glad I got something I could use (and even teased me for trying to sew when she knew I was more of a “metropolitan girl” anyway). Isn’t my grandma hilarious? Anyway, it all worked out in the end.


  11. says

    Great tips! I’ve used those exact blinds in our house and love them. They are a little more expensive than a traditional blind when your working on a budget, but well worth it and I think they always look great.

    I also have the same problem with a window in our master and I’ve been thinking about doing exactly what you did here, but I was having a hard time picturing what it would look like. Mainly because I didn’t know if the light filtering in would throw the eye off so that it was noticeable. However, in your picture you don’t even notice that you moved the panel over an additional few inches. Fantastic!

    BTW – I love your site. I’ve only been following a few weeks, but have learned so much! I think my favorite so far is the basement. I feel the exact same way about mine as you did about yours. I can’t wait to start applying some of your ideas to ours!

    Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see the final after photo!

  12. Natalie says

    Love the fabric! We also used the Home Depot faux wood blinds in our house. We have a 1940’s house, so like yours, the windows were all different sizes. They customized our blinds and then my husband labored on shortening all of them once we got them installed. They really are great, and so easy to clean too!

    Can’t wait to see more updates of the baby’s room!

  13. says

    Oh, one of the many projects on our apartment renovation…
    The closets in the unit don’t have doors (or jams for that matter) so I suggested to Garry a few weeks ago that we could get tension rods and put a curtain up instead of worrying about a door. With all the complex projects he’s working on, he was thrilled that I finally came up with something simple!

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