Duvet to Window Panels

July 29, 2013

A week ago, I spent some time working on my friend’s in progress dining room, the same one where we installed the tongue & groove wall treatment a month ago. It started with a shopping trip to World Market last week where I discovered the Sonoma Floral Ikat Duvet and thought, oh hello gorgeous fabric, you’d be perfect as curtains in the space!

I’ve always believed a fantastic fabric can be a jumping off point for an entire room’s design, so this duvet has been reinvented into window panels to do just that.

duvet to window panels

World Market has a similar window panel but the background is brown. I loved the smoky gray background on this duvet with its touches of plum, cranberry, and mustard yellow – perfect for this dining room we’re filling with mixed wood finishes, warm metallics, and more plum accents.

A duvet is 88 inches wide so you get extra fullness compared to most conventional fabrics by the yard. To line the backs of the new panels I used two flat cotton sheets from Walmart for $11 each – less expensive than two lengths of liner per panel and the exact same width as the duvet.

sheets as liners

With this project, your only limitation is height. This duvet was 92” long, but I did add 2 ½ inches to the top and bottom with a plum linen border fabric so the panels ended up at 97” in height. Here’s the step-by-step for turning a duvet into window panels!

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Trim your duvet with scissors or with a seamripper so that you have two full lengths of fabric.

cut duvet

Lay your sheet on the backside of the fabric to form the lining and pin together. If you’re not adding a band and are only using the duvet fabric, hem the sides down the length of your new panel and repeat for the bottom curtain hem, attaching the sheet to the fabric to form the liner.

hem sheet to fabric

You can fold over the top and form a simple rod pocket like so and be done.

rod pocket

If you’d like to add extra banding to the edges, here’s what I did. I bought 3 yards of dark plum linen fabric, and cut it lengthwise down the middle in 8 even long strips.

strips of fabric

To form the band that wraps around the edges, use an iron to press ½” of the edges inward, join the edges together and press with your iron down the middle to get a long crisp band of fabric folded together. Forgot to take a picture, hence the funky diagram.

form pocket

Sew the band to the edge of the fabric, making sure the back and front stay even as you sew – it gives your window panel a nice colorful edge!

sew band to edge

For the corners, I wrapped the bottom band around the edge of the side band to form a square edge and then stitched it together and across the bottom of the window panel.

form a square edge

I hung these curtains with rings, but you can create a rod pocket for the top with the banding if you keep the sides open like this (be sure to tuck in the raw edge of the band).

form rod pocket

I’m crazy about this fabric and its rich jewel tones on a gray backdrop. Gorgeous!

ikat floral fabric

Great fabrics found in one form can often be reinvented into something else, curtains into slipcovers, napkins into pillows, clothing into home accents, the list goes on. This $89 duvet plus two $11 sheets and $12 in plum linen fabric transformed into two colorful window panels for a dining room.  (I saw the duvet is on sale right now for $45!)

duvet to window panels

More to come on this space in August – we’re painting above the tongue and groove paneling a smoky gray and filling it with all the things a dining room needs, including a table, chairs, rug, light fixture, and sideboard in plenty of time for fall entertaining, stay tuned!

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18 Responses to “Duvet to Window Panels”

  1. What a fun fabric to repurpose!

  2. Cassandra says:

    I love this look! I love the fact that these curtains are a duvet cover. My husband goes crazy when I show him something and say hey I could make …. out of it. He does not like the idea of spending money on something if I plan to deconstruct, paint or cut it up to make something new. He is the lead finish varnisher for GrandCraft yachts by trade so the thought of me spending money on beat up furniture and painting it is all but lost to him. Oh how I have wanted to buy a thrift store highboy and paint it gray!!! I love your style Kate! But if he doesn’t think it can be sanded stained and varnished he doesn’t see the point in spending money on it.

  3. Leanne says:

    I have used extra long linen-blend table cloths for my tall windows. Your duvet idea is even better. Maybe, if I can find two matching duvets (on sale of course), I could even consider the back of the duvet as the lining. So many of them are reversible and could look pretty from either side.
    Did you prewash and iron everything before sewing? Thank you so much.

  4. lesley says:

    Great idea Kate. I love finding ways to save on curtains! I’ve used quilts from Home Goods or TJ Max. They are really thick and long and usually come in awesome patterns. This duvet is an awesome idea as well.
    Lesley
    Calming the Chaos @ChaoticallyCreative

  5. Sarah says:

    I love all shortcut and inexpensive ways to cover windows. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  6. What a wonderful idea! It’s so hard to find printed panels at a good price. I really like the banding idea as well, and using a printed fabric to band plain curtains would be another option as well.

  7. Denise says:

    Simply gorgeous Kate!

  8. Beautiful! I’ve always wondered why we can’t just use patterned sheets/shower curtains/duvet covers, etc… as curtains, especially when drapery is so expensive. I guess the answer is, you CAN! Lining it with flat sheets is genius, thanks!

  9. Stephanie says:

    I used this idea also, and added backtabs to my panels. This is such a cheap way to make panels, especially since my windows are about 8 feet wide. However, one issue my mom and I dealt with was that the pattern was not printed on the fabric straight from top to bottom (the pattern was printed like a letter C). The only way we could solve this was that we pinned the duvet to the liner in the middle where the fabric was straight and then tugged the ends to align the pattern and then pinned it to the liner. Another thing is that the way the two pieces of my duvets were sewn together meant that each piece had a different length, so we had to fudge with the hems. I looked for a fabric to do a band but just couldn’t find anything that was right. It was definitely a two person job, but I figure I saved at least $200-300 on those curtains!

  10. Elizabeth H says:

    Love the fabric and the curtains are beautiful. What vision you have.

  11. meg says:

    Love how you repurposed this!

  12. Kim says:

    My daughter and I recently used a duvet to make a floor-to-ceiling shower curtain. We’d been looking for fabric to make one but the fabrics she liked were in the $25-30 per yard range and we needed 6 yards — well out of her budget. So I suggested starting with a flat sheet and doing some embellishments, like ruffles or appliqué. But at T J Maxx we found this duvet on clearance for $29 and it was the EXACT finished size we needed and was a lovely pattern in the right colors! My daughter liked the way the duvet folded over about 8″ at the top, adding a touch of interest to the rather subdued color palette (although she did switch out the clear buttons with prettier yellow ones that matched the bit of yellow in the fabric) so we simply added large white grommets to the top and she installed it! What a difference it makes, hiding the ugly sliding shower doors. They’re in a rental so her only option was to mask them. But she likes the new shower curtain so much, and how luxurious it looks, that she thinks she’ll use it when they buy their own place next year :)

  13. Kim Gibson says:

    Oh, if only I knew how to sew! Thank you for sharing though. BEAUTIFUL! Lucky friend!

  14. I love this tutorial! I would love to try this. It looks so easy to do since I know how to sew. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  15. Love this Scarlett O’Hara idea, can I publish this on my blog, of course you will get all credits and link.

    Suzanne

    decogirlmontreal

  16. Feral Turtle says:

    I love that fabric too and great job on the border. Sets the curtains right off. Good job

  17. I did the same thing! But I used an old duvet cover kicking around to create curtains to hide my ugly washer and dryer. What you found is stunning!!

  18. Stella says:

    Love this idea and have undertaken similar projects a number of times in my own house.
    Sadly kids have outgrown a pair of curtains that were once a duvet where I had also used large brightly colored plastic buttons on the tab-tops from a kids ‘learn-to-sew’ kit.

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