Custom, full length, drapery adds richness and drama.  It also adds expense, especially when dealing with 10’ ceilings. Mary and I needed to find drapery fabric that was a 130” in length.

Easy peasy…. not really…

The drapery fabric that Mary fell in love with was from a company by the name of Clarke and Clarke. It had the “wow factor” that Mary was looking for. The only problem being, the fabric was an ombre style that could not accommodate the height of the windows. I looked at my sister’s disappointed face and it prompted me to find a solution. “We can make our own!”

Fortunately, Mary is blessed with creativity, as well as the artistic talent needed for this project. We found a beautiful drapery fabric at just the right weight and cost at Joannes fabric store. They were kind enough to prepare the two 130” lengths for us which made our job that much easier. We found a fantastic art store up the street with impeccable service. Arts and Craftsman supply located at 1002 Barett ave. in Louisville, KY, supplied us not only with the tools needed, but the “how to” knowledge as well. We left with Procien MX Jet black dye, soda ash and Synthrapol. My vocabulary increased along with my curiosity if we could pull this off.

1. Natural linen fabric  from Joanne’s-

Mary washed it in color remover to take out the yellow tint. This was important as we were using a jet black dye which would have caused the  newly colored linen to read as green.



2. The dye bath-

It did involve a bathtub due to the sheer quantity of fabric.  The tub was filled with 3 gallons of hot tap water ,8 cups of salt and Procien MX dye. It is kind of a witches brew especially when it needs to be stirred every 5 minutes. Now add the soda ash (This binds the dye to the fabric) 

3. The big dip-

Mary hung the fabric from a rod into the dye  for 50 minutes. Mary marked the fabric where the dye should reach and go no further, allowing the curtain to have an ombre effect.

4. The big reveal-

Remove from the bathtub and rinse in cold water.Wash in hot water and add 1 and1/2 tsp. of Synthrapol. (It removes excess dye from the fabric. Who knew?)

We were blown away by the results. As you can see the finished project is stunning and statement worthy. This DIY was certainly  well worth the effort! Thank you Clarke and Clarke for the inspiration!

Posted by:Sue Haggblom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *