How-to Make Striped Drapes Using Ikea Drapery Panels

One sewing project I have been slaving over working on and finally completed was sprucing up some plain store bought drapery panels. My daughter wanted striped drapes, we searched for wide-striped fabric but after the calculating yardage, price and work involved we made these instead.

All that was required was this:

And some contrasting fabric:

Here is the how-to:

You need:

  • Store bought drapery panels {I used Ritva drapes from Ikea for $39.99, I liked the weight and the header on these drapes}
  • Fabric for stripes, your choice, but choose a fabric with a similar weight and weave as the drapes, I used 3 meters, it will vary, depending on how wide and how many stripes you would want
  • Long ruler
  • Chalk
  • thread to match the fabric {or you can use contrasting thread to add some interest}
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron

*You could use fusible webbing if you didn't feel like sewing. 
*Another option: You could line the drapes to really give them a custom look, but I chose not to.

How to:

Hem the drapes following the directions on the package.

First determine how wide you want your stripes and how many would be needed on your drapery panel. My finished length was 86". I chose 7"wide stripes and determined I needed to cut 6 for each panel. 

 Lay out your fabric and measure strips 1" wider and 2" longer that your desired width and length. This is to allow for hems.

My drapes were 57" wide and I wanted 7" high stripes. Using chalk, I measured out 12 - 8" X 59" strips.
Using a quilting square or a dressmaker right angle ruler works well to get even strips.

Cut out strips and iron a half inch hem on one side running the length of the strip.

Then iron a half inch hem on the opposite side, using a measuring tape to ensure the strip is 7"wide after the edges are ironed. Leave the ends un-hemmed.

Start pinning down the strips. I determined my strips would begin 4"from the top, that way I ended up with even spaces of black and white down to the bottom hem.

 Continue this down the drape, spacing 7" between the strips. Leave the edges overhanging.

Topstitch the edges of the strips with your sewing machine, leaving the ends free.

Iron the edges over to the back and pin.

Slip stitch the edge hems. Press edges with iron.

Hang up!

Now I am working on sewing working Roman blinds for all three kids' rooms. The sewing part has been easy, but I am having a hard time finding parts in the right widths. I can't find wooden dowels {these help the folds} wider than 48" without having custom cut dowels from the fabric store. That brings up the price dramatically. 

I need 57" wide, anyone have any tips?

{No, I don't like Little Green Notebook's way of making Roman blinds}

XO Barbara

So Canadian, eh? : Vanessa Francis

This week's fabulously talented Canadian spent some time in Vancouver {yay} but now makes her home in the Toronto area. I stumbled across her blog well over a year ago and was hooked!


Vanessa Francis from decor happy

Vanessa is so....

Vanessa is a talented designer, the principal designer with Vanessa Francis Design, with such an eye for detail, her spaces are beautiful. I love her classic sense of style and have been following along as she has been designing her daughter's room. J'adore the colours and fabrics she has chosen. 

Not only has Vanessa has been hobnobbing with many local bloggers at the various events that have been held in Toronto but has had the opportunity to attend the Nate Berkus Show and most recently, Blogfest2011 in New York City!

Lucky gal!

Here are some of my favourite spaces she has designed!

Hello hodge:podgers! I have been enjoying this series and am so happy to be able to share some of my thoughts with you.

 Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood? How did you come to be a designer?

I have a degree in Politics and Commerce from the University of Toronto.  Way back when I graduated, there were no jobs for someone with a general B.A. I followed up my degree with a Post Grad diploma in Human Resources Management. My last corporate position as an HR Manager for all the Canadian sites of a high tech company (in Vancouver), with a boss in the US and the parent company in Germany, had me clocking a crazy amount of Aeroplan (air) miles.  Being an HR Manager is pretty stressful as it is and I would dream about getting off the roller coaster, starting my own business and having time to just be.

I should have listened to my inner voice years before but at the time I thought I couldn’t walk away from such a well-paid position.  I think a lot of people think that way and stay in a job they are not happy with just because of the status, pay, benefits etc.  Life’s too short to be doing something you don’t love!

Around the same time, my obsession with design began.  I decided to go back to school (British Columbia Institute of Technology) for Interior Design.  I spent hundreds of hours at my drafting table, space planning and “thinking like an architect” which was one of the school’s mantras.  I LOVED every second of it, even though my classmates were half my age!

How long have you had your design business? What challenges have you faced along the way?

I graduated from design school in 2003 but really didn’t start marketing myself until about three years ago once my daughter was in school full time. 

A challenge for any designer is finding those clients that value what you do.  I have become pretty good at determining this from the initial phone call(s) with a prospective client and I’m OK with turning down projects if I can tell it’s not going to be a good fit.  Once you find those clients that value what you can do for them, then the project and the relationship are easy breezy!

How would you describe your design style?

I don’t really have a style that I can describe in a few words like “rustic modern” or “new traditional.”   I love creating spaces that are comfortable, livable and beautiful whether for a client or myself.  I believe in buying quality and waiting until your budget allows for you to buy that great piece.  I also try to “save” quality pieces by reupholstering or painting. I try to source Canadian suppliers when possible.

How long have you had your blog? What made you decide to start writing a blog and what have you enjoyed the most about blogging?

I wrote my first post in May, 2009 but wrote sporadically if at all that summer.  So, I would say my blog is 1.5 years old.   I had been reading blogs for a few years before that and thought “I need to do this too.”  I found that clients would ask “well, how would that look” or “what do you mean?” when I would suggest an ottoman, woven blinds, wallpaper panels etc.  The blog started as a way to corral these images for clients for illustration purposes. 

There are so many benefits to blogging.  Friends or even other designers who don’t blog, really don’t understand why anyone would spend all this time researching and writing a post.  I know that the blog has brought in clients who have contacted me because they liked what they saw or read.  In fact, I met up with a client once and she had a folder of many images that she found on my blog.

One of the greatest benefits of blogging has been the wonderful people I have met and this design community that I am a part of.  I attended Nate Day last Fall and most recently attended Blogfest in NYC and met so many wonderful bloggers.  We also now have an active Canadian Design Bloggers network in the Toronto area where we gathered together last Fall and are meeting up again in a few weeks.

{Vanessa at the Canadian Design Blogger meet-up in Toronto last November}

{Vanessa at the after party when she went to the Nate Show}

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Your blog?

I love reading blogs and am quite the magazine-aholic subscribing to about 14 magazines and having a collection that is taking over my house! I draw inspiration from magazines from the UK, Australia and other parts of the world as well.  I also attend as many trade seminars/info sessions from suppliers as I can on new products.

I am most often inspired by a beautiful fabric and whenever I see one I file it away in my memory bank to be used in my home or a client’s later.

What goals or aspirations do you have for your design business? For your blog?

Well, I just want to keep on doing what I’m doing with great clients who appreciate good design.  I think like most designers, I would like to get published in a magazine (preferably the paper kind.)

I miss the synergy and comraderie of working with others so I would love to have a partner, my own “Tommy” if you will, to bounce ideas off.

Every blogger wants their blog to have more readers and I’m no exception.  I know I need to blog more (only post 8-12 times a month now) to do this. I’m working on this!

Is there a common design mistake that homeowners make that makes  you cringe?

If I had to choose one it would be buying the “set”.  You know, the sofa, loveseat and chair combination all in the same style and fabric.  Or the bedroom set with bed, side tables, dresser, etc. all in the same finish and all stuffed into a small room.  I’m amazed that with all of the magazines, blogs and design shows that people are still doing this today!

What is one thing that anyone can do to update his or her home without breaking the bank?

Can I mention two things?  I would have to say edit and declutter.  I do a lot of home stagings and just taking away a few items adds to the space (adding by subtracting).  It might be relocating a piece of furniture because every inch of a perimeter of a room is filled with pieces.  I would say that almost every staging I do involves styling a bookcase with what the client has and it is amazing how this simple task that takes a few minutes can transform a room from feeling claustrophobic to fresh.

On my blog, I write a lot about how art can transform a space without breaking the bank.  I would never advise a client to go out and buy mass produced art at a retailer.  Framing family photos is an inexpensive, personal way to bring life to a space.

What tips do you have for aspiring designers to hone their skills?

I would suggest they find a mentor if they are starting out on their own.  There are so many situations that come up that aren’t covered in design school and it would be invaluable to have someone who you can call to run something by.

If they haven’t taken any design courses, I would recommend that they do that as well.

If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be?

With the Oprah show ending this past week, I’m feeling nostalgic.  I watched her show over the past 25 years and admired how she changed lives and made a difference to the planet.  She is so inspirational and I would love to meet and chat with her.  

As for doing anything, I really would love to travel more. I haven’t been to Europe since I did the backpack thing right after university (and when I was living in Bordeaux, France for a short time with an ex-fiance but that’s a story for another blog!)  I would love to live in France or Italy for an entire summer. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I try and get to the gym a few times a week (doesn’t always happen though.)  I have started taking yoga classes again, including hot yoga.   I am certified to teach yoga but haven’t taught in years.  It feels so good to stretch and move and feel centered.

I also love when my daughter’s friends are over.   I love this age (9) when they are such funny, smart little people!

How do you manage to balance your family time, your work and blogging?

As every working mom will tell you (and you know Barbara), it’s a real balancing act.  I try to use from 9-3 when my daughter is at school to do client work or blog.  After school, is homework, dance, swimming etc. so I try to keep that time free.  From 9 pm until 12 (or dare I say 1 am), I am working/blogging as well.

What are your views on the role of Canadian design? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

Such an interesting question! It surprises me that there are only a handful of Canadian designers that are known beyond our borders.  While we, on the other hand, can probably rhyme off dozens of US designers.  I’m not sure why that is because we have a lot of design talent here.

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as Canadian design where you could look at a photo in a magazine and say, that’s Canadian like you could with a Belgian interior for example.  I think everyone has a different background, style, personality and their homes usually reflect that.  We are a diverse country with diverse interiors.  There are people that do “design on a dime” with great panache and there are those few with a healthy budget that have Veranda-worthy interiors.

Thank you Barbara for inviting me to hodge:podge today and allowing me to share my thoughts with your readers. 

Thanks for stopping by Vanessa. I adore your blog and designs. Hopefully one of these days design bloggers from ALL across Canada can finally meet.
Looking forward to seeing your daughter's room complete! 
I guess I shouldn't talk, I have yet to finish both my daughters' rooms!

XO Barbara

Unless otherwise noted, photos are courtesy of Vanessa Francis Design

Friday Musings

I am a bad blogger.

I didn't take an overall "after" photo of my re-vamped store bought drapery panels like I said I would.
I do have a sneak peek though...

{This was taken when only one side was finished}

This weekend I will get my daughter to tidy her room {always looks like bomb went off} so I can photograph the drapes. A tutorial will accompany the said photos as well


Yesterday I was thrilled to open my mailbox to find my the latest issue of Elle Decor! After getting an awesome deal on the subscription, $14 for the year, a steal in Canada, I couldn't resist.

Loved the issue.
Some of the interiors are a bit too frou for for me but the home of Keri Russell was just up my alley!

 I adore Keri Russell.

This is strange, but I feel like I "know" her because she looks just like my sister, especially when she played Felicity, her hair, her mannerisms, her facial structure - just like my sister.

Keri's home is
simple, clean and classic.

How fantastic is the light fixture?

Love the calmness this room evokes.

The issue also highlighted Vancouver, which was a fun read.
They mentioned Vij's as a fantastic must-visit restaurant.
Vij's is where Carol and I went for lunch when we hit Anthropologie on Wednesday!

 If you love Indian cuisine, this restaurant is for you. The food was suberb, the decor sublime and the company - fantastic!

{Check out the light fixture - the DIY version has been circulating around the net}

Another mention in the Vancouver article was The Keefer, a boutique hotel that wrote about here.
Many a movie star has stayed at The Keefer.

I have always wanted to stay at The Keefer but with rates starting at $700 per night, I might just dream about it instead.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Make sure you come back Sunday to read my latest  "So Canadian, eh?"interview.

XO Barbara

My Trip to Anthropologie

Vancouver finally got an Anthropologie

Yesterday I met my friend, Carol from The Design Pages, at Anthropologie. 
{I think I can call her a friend, after a few thrift store jaunts we have jumped to meeting for lunch. She is far better talented than I, but she doesn't let on how brilliant she is

A visit to Anthropologie is quite a trek as I live in the suburbs, and anyone from the Vancouver area knows that with all the new highway/bridge building the traffic can really stink. Nonetheless, I was excited to hit Anthropologie. 

After living in a Virginia suburbs of Washington DC for a few years, where all the exciting stores {and outlets} were, it was a bit of a shock coming back here. The closest Pottery Barn {we only have one here on the west} is all the way in Vancouver. You Americans don't know how lucky you are, a Pottery Barn in every major mall, as well as Williams and Sonoma,  Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and the list can go on. Let's not even get into the topic of a Target in almost every town.  We Canadians, let me re-word that, we Vancouverites are deprived of a decent selection of furniture and inspirational stores to shop at!

So we get excited when a new store pops up, even though it is a 45 minute drive away {at least for me, Carol, lucky her, lives closer}

Here are a few pics I snapped up while at the store. 

The sad part of this story is put two DIY gals into an Anthropologie and they just end walking around saying, "I could make that!"

Like this lamp shade...
 A great DIY project, dictionary pages torn and decoupaged on a lamp shade.

 Loving the owl cookies jar, so retro. I am seeing my elementary school friend Alison's 70's kitchen with funky owl wallpaper and yellow appliances.

Anthropologie has a delicious selection of knobs.

One of my favourites was this owl knob. Wouldn't it look fantastic in a nursery?

These were shower curtains, about $120 each. Uhmm, totally could make that.
Or you could use this idea for drapes in a girl's room.

We loved these dishes, the poetry didn't make sense, but was a fabulous idea. My daughter is taking ceramics, maybe I can convince her to make me something like this?

Carol resisted buying something while I couldn't, these came home with me:

A pretty turquoise knob for my daughter's room to add a bit of bling to her desk.

Being a caffeine addict, I love a great coffee cup. Coffee tastes better in a fabulous mug, no?

The rain is back, a great excuse to finish my never-ending sewing pile.

One project is finished though, which comes with a long overdue tutorial. 
A store bought drapery panel makeover!

If I can get a decent photo of the whole project with all this grey weather, I will have it up tomorrow!

What is the weather like where you are? Dreary as it is in Vancouver?

XO Barbara