No-Sew Burlap Draperies

My burlap drapery project was inspired by many of the pictures I saw on Pinterest. I never found instructions, so I made some up!

Here are some of the great pictures I found to get ideas:





Anyone who has ever decorated a home knows that draperies can be a very expensive part of pulling together a room. In all my years of moving and redecorating homes, I swear I must have tried everything – using bedsheets, using really inexpensive fabric, using very expensive fabric, buying ready-made cheap draperies, buying ready-made fancy draperies, doing the sewing myself, having a seamstress do the sewing, having a friend who is a seamstress do the hard part of the sewing (thank you, Shelley!) – and no matter what I have done, it has always been one big hot mess of an expensive, time-consuming, pain-in-the-you-know-what thing to do.

Burlap draperies are made of inexpensive AND cheap fabric, have a rough texture which works in well with many different looks, and may be the answer to your prayers (unless you were praying for a new boiler, better behaved children, or a neck that doesn’t sag). This project is easy enough for a monkey to do. Total project time: 5 hours. (Unless you decide to feed your children or take a potty break. You sissy.)

You will need:

Steam iron

Ironing board

Tape measure



Buckram (I used 3″ wide)

Stitch Witchery (follow the package instructions)

You can figure out how much yardage you will need for each burlap panel by adding up the desired finished length, plus 4x the width of your buckram.  Get a bit extra to allow for squaring it all off.  The buckram will run the width of your fabric, so get that much for each panel.

STEP 1:  Lay it all out on the floor.  Ask your dog to help by “sitting and staying” so she won’t lie down on the fabric.   (That box on her neck is the “Holy Mackeral” invisible fence collar. It works.)

Start by making sure you have a straight, squared edge.   You can square off the fabric by folding it over and cutting off the excess or by cutting along one of the burlap fibers, depending on how straightly woven your burlap is.

I aligned the squared off edge of my burlap with a plank in the wood floor and taped it to keep it in place while I measured the length. (Yes, I am a smarty-pants.)

STEP 2:  Measure three inches (or the width of your buckram) from the edge, fold the fabric over and press.

Tuck the buckram into the fold.  Fold the fabric over again and press.

STEP 3:  Fuse the folded over header with Stitch Witchery.  Before you go all the way to the ends, decide how much you are going to fold over the selvages in STEP 5 (when you will finish the sides) and cut that much off of the buckram inside the folds at the selvages.

Be careful not to get the whole roll of Stitch Witchery too close to the steam iron or you will accidentally fuse your useful roll of Stitch Witchery into a much less useful hockey puck.

STEP 4:  To finish the hem, do all of this again at the other end of the panel, but leave out the buckram.

STEP 5:  Fold the sides of the panel in about 1.5 inches (or enough to hide the selvage) and press.  You can fold the fabric over again and press – or not – depending on how finished you want your edge to be vs. how wide you want your panel to be.  (The buckram inside should only extend as far as the finished width of the panel – it is too stiff to fold over.)

Really fancy draperies are 3 widths wide (I know – that is a hell of a lot of fabric!  That must be what makes them really fancy!), so I always make my draperies as wide as possible.  This being burlap and all, I am under no illusion that these draperies are anywhere near fancy, but I do like a full bodied drapery (as well as a full-bodied beer, but not a full bodied me).  I folded my selvages over one time and I am feeling just fine about it.

To keep the folds of the hem and header from gaping, stick some pieces of Stitch Witchery between the layers of fabric.  Press this area really well to fuse it all together.

If your selvage is neat and tidy, you probably don’t have to fold it over again.  Even if it isn’t neat and tidy, you don’t have to fold it over again.  Its a free country.

STEP 6:  Fuse the folded over sides with Stitch Witchery.

Either way you finish the sides, you should get a front which looks something like this.

STEP 7:  Pinch some pleats into the header and clip your drapery to the rings on the drapery rod.  Create attractive folds and tie loosely with scraps of fabric.  You can lightly spray the fabric with water and let it dry to gently encourage your drapes to hold their folds.  We all need gentle encouragement.

If your burlap draperies happen to have a bad attitude and need more than gentle encourgement, you can give ’em the clip treatment.

You can probably leave these clips on forever if your draperies are particularly unruly.  Nothing’s perfect.  In fact, these draperies are not meant to be washed or dry cleaned – but think about it – how often do you wash your draperies? I would guess never.  And you don’t feel too bad about yourself, do you?  You shouldn’t.  There are more important things to think about, spend time on and fuss over than draperies.  These draperies are plenty perfect.



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  1. Annie, these look great! Even though I am a sewer, I keep stitch witchery on hand and use it for lots of things. I also love sewing “tape” – it keeps seams in place but you have to be careful not to sew over it or it will gum up your sewing machine needle big time. Speaking from experience here! Well done!

    1. annie kip says:

      Sewing tape sounds interesting – so you don’t use pins? Thanks!!!

      1. I use pins – definitely! I just used sewing tape on the Roman shades I made to keep the tape in place while I sewed it. That was after I put in so many pins my arm was ready to fall off!

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