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How to Cover Holes, Rips, or Stains in Curtains

Even if you make them yourself, curtains can be expensive. If you have a rip, tear, or hole in curtains that you really like, don’t despair. You can save them. Take this opportunity to add a bit of fun to your window with an added design.

Always choose your design detail to match your decor and the “feel” of the window treatment. For example, is the window treatment for a child’s room, play room/den, or other informal room? Keep your design detail simple: bows made from simple ribbon, buttons shaped like animals or in bright colors, and the simplest appliqués. Is the treatment for a formal area, such as a dining room, living room, or master bedroom? Use an ornate or embroidered ribbon to create bows, or choose one-of-a-kind buttons or a line of beautiful sequins to cover a rip or hole.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Appliqués: Appliqués are easy to attach. Simply pin them in place or use a glue stick. Pick a thread that matches the appliqué’s background and use a straight stitch all around the border to sew it in place. You can use your machine or you can hand-sew them on.

    If you’ve used a delicate fabric for your treatment and there’s a chance the rip, cut, or hole might extend farther out from underneath your appliqué, first mend the fabric with a zigzag stitch before attaching your appliqué.

  • Buttons: Buttons are a great way to add weight to a curtain and add a fun, whimsical feel. Sewing on buttons does take a bit of time, but the effect is worthwhile. Look for flat buttons that lay flush against the fabric; they can conceal flaws better because they completely cover the flaws. Be sure to mend the fabric underneath so that you have a smooth surface over which to sew the button. Then add your button over the flaw, making sure to add some additional buttons elsewhere on the treatment so it looks like a design detail.

  • Bows: Bows made of ribbon are another way to cover holes or flaws. Choose wire-edged ribbon to create bows with specially shaped loops. You can also create bows from strips of fabric. Consider adding small Maltese crosses and rosettes, as well.

  • Paillettes: Because quite a few large, shiny paillettes go a long way style-wise, you can get away with adding fewer, and you can save a buck or two.

Moms with young children, these tips work equally well to cover up stains that don’t “magically disappear” like on the TV detergent commercials:

  • Cafe, crisscross, or casement curtains look lovely with fabric bows sprinkled around. Use thin ribbon to make your bows and stitch them in place all over your fabric’s face.

  • Add some cut-felt fish, sharks, jellyfish, anchors, boats, and sea plants to your kid’s room curtains to cover up holes (or stains). Other great themes include the ABCs, dogs and cats, and barnyard animals.

  • Add a few sequins to a simple leaf- or flower-shaped appliqué for something truly elegant.

  • Patch squares of contrasting denim fabric randomly on your panels to give a rustic, country feel. You don’t have to finish the edges because the frayed effect adds to the look.

  • Use glitter glue. Another alternative is to pick up some glitter glue and use it to create a motif that fully covers the stain. Use a marker to draw the border of the motif around the stain, and then use it as a guide to fill the area in with glitter glue. It dries smooth and shiny; kids just love this stuff.

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