No-Sew Burlap Draperies

No sew burlap draperies

Hello, Go Gingham fans!  Sara has graciously invited me to share with you a fun way to get a lot of “look” for a little money.  Draperies can be a very expensive part of pulling together a room.  I know, Sara and I have both tried many ways to get a stylish look without spending too much money – using bedsheets, using really inexpensive fabric, buying ready-made cheap draperies.  It is has been quite a challenge to find a solution – but this one has worked for me.  Here’s how you can make burlap draperies for your living room – easily and frugally!

Burlap draperies are made of inexpensive AND cheap fabric, have a rough texture which works well with many different looks and may be the answer to your prayers (unless you happen to be praying for a new boiler, better behaved children, or a neck that doesn’t sag).  This project is is much easier than it looks and my total project time was 5 hours. (I worked straight through.  You might decide to feed your children or take a potty break.  You sissy.)

Materials needed for no-sew burlap draperies:  Steam iron and Ironing board

No sew burlap draperies

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.

No sew burlap draperies

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.)No sew burlap draperies

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

No sew burlap draperies

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

Make curtains without sewing

Make curtains without sewing

Make curtains without sewing

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.

Make curtains without sewing

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.  (Sara would probably fold them over again, because she is neat and tidy like that!)

Make curtains without sewing

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.

Make curtains without sewing

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.

Make curtains without sewing

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.

Make curtains without sewing

Make curtains without sewing

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

Make curtains without sewing

Make curtains without sewing

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.

Make curtains without sewing

Do you have other inexpensive ways of making window treatments?  I am sure Sara does – I am looking forward to hearing more stylishly frugal ideas from her when she returns!

A little love note from Sara ~ Annie, I had no idea this could be done without sewing and if I ever misplaced my sewing machine, I can now make these. Thank you for such a great post and tutorial, you no-sew expert you!!

Did you know you could make these without sewing? Are you loving Stitch Witchery, too?

 Go Gingham related links:

How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to make skinny jeans from wide leg jeans – make your own “jeggings”
How to mend pillow cases to improve your sleeping – hah!
Easy steps to remove pesky tags from clothing
Want to learn to sew? Start here with easy cloth napkins
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
Mitered cloth napkins made from an old skirt
Sew your own homemade lunch sack
How to sew a Harry Potter cape complete with wand pocket


  1. Great post! At first I was like burlap drapes, c’mon! But these are gorgeous and I love how they let just a little bit of soft light through. Question though from a novice, how would they be hung? i.e. clips on the drape, clips on the rod that clip on the drape? If you’re leaving it to me I would use those same office clips with twist ties 😉 Okay just kidding.

  2. I needed this idea several years ago! 🙂 Another idea for inexpensive fabric is to use painter’s drop cloths. I used them to make curtains to hide ugly storage shelves in the basement (I fastened them to the ceiling with a staple gun) and they worked out great. The curtains are in my kid’s play area, which has a treehouse theme, so I hot-glue gunned (I’m pretty sure that’s not grammatically correct, but anyway …) silk autumn leaves to them. You could stencil them, add ribbon borders, etc.

    I’m probably the queen of weird window treatment ideas, but in my son’s bedroom (cowboy theme) I hung bandanas over a window rod for a valance. And … when I found a shower curtain I loved but no coordinating window treatment was available (at Target a couple of years ago) I used placemats hung by curtain rod clips as a topper.

  3. So many creative ideas! You could hang the burlap drapes any way you would hang regular draperies – french pleat with drapery hook and ring or clips as I did. I would recommend some kind of pleat to make nice folds. I love the canvas painter’s drop cloth idea too!

  4. Hey Sara!
    I’ve been considering burlap for a while (I have a bit of obsession with the fabric). I had 2 questions for you. 1. Did you find that there was any odor? Some burlap is treated and it sometimes smells a bit. 2. Any issue with shedding? I love the look of the texture so much. It’s sort of like linen and velvet mixed together.

    1. Hi Jill – I love the look of burlap too! I have a combination of sparkly and rustic things in my living room and the burlap has been a very nice addition.

      Yes, some burlap does smell more than others. There are different weaves as well – some are looser and some have more little sticks and burrs. I happen to like the more uniform, tightly woven burlap, but there is place for all kinds! I would do a sniff test in the store before you buy to make sure the odor is not strong. I noticed some odor when I first started working with my burlap, but it has either dissipated or I have gotten used to it.

      And, yes, the burlap did shed when I was cutting it. I would imagine sewing on burlap would create a lot of shedding as well, but using the Stitch Witchery and keeping the panels on the floor minimized additional shedding. Since the panels have been up, I have not noticed any other shedding.

      The good thing is that burlap is not expensive, so fooling around with it is less risky than using decorator fabrics. Have fun!

  5. Just made these! They look awesome! Thanks for the idea!

  6. Just came across your site while I was looking for burlap drapes,thanks I will do what you suggested “no sew” I also saw a great idea of using heavy rope as tiebacks it looked great.

  7. I think burlap placemats would be a neat idea with some nice secondhand fabric underneath or around the border. You could have two ways to use the placemats summer and winter perhaps!!!

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