How to Fashion Frayed-Edge Draperies - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

Frayed-edge curtains are a simple treatment and require no sewing at all, just a few clips for hanging. This treatment lends a natural, organic-looking feeling when the frayed ends move in the breeze. You can use this unique frayed look in any room; try a simple fabric for an informal room, or a more ornate fabric for a formal room.

When choosing a fabric, select one that easily unravels to get the frayed fringe effect. Loosely woven fabrics, such as simple cottons, are great for this project, while cotton twills and polyester fabrics don’t work because their weave is too tight. Before you commit to yardage, get a sample and clip a small piece of your loose-weave fabric to test it. Pull threads from both the side and the bottom. Are you getting the effect you desire?

  1. Measure the width of the window and add 12 inches to it.

    Six inches on either side gives you adequate fabric to allow for the initial trimming and then the fraying process, plus a little fabric to spare in case you want the fringe a bit wider. (Snipping fringe that is too long is a lot less work than taking too much fabric off to begin with and trying to correct it later.)

  2. Add 7 inches to your length measurement to allow for the fabric that drapes over the top of the treatment.

    For a 30-x-60-inch drape, use a piece of fabric that is 45 (because fabric doesn’t come in 42-inch widths) x 67 inches.

  3. Cut your panel to the correct measurement.

  4. To prep your fabric for fraying, trim off an inch or two from the left and right sides.

    Doing so makes pulling the threads easier in order to create the fringe. (You don’t have to trim the top and bottom, which fray well on their own.)

  5. Unravel each side, pulling outside threads one or two at a time.

    Your goal is to obtain an inch of fringe all the way around, top, bottom, and sides. Keep your measuring tape or yardstick handy so you can keep all your sides even.

  6. When you’re done, simply fold 7 inches of fabric over to the front of the panel.


  7. Add your clips at the top of the fold and hang your panel from your rod.

    If you don’t mind doing a bit of light sewing, consider zigzag stitching around the edges where the fringe starts, as a final step, to secure your frayed fringe. (This step is a nice extra, but the panel still holds well without the added stitching.)