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DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

My Mom, Mummu and I sewed the curtains for the townhouse before we even moved here (I was so excited about owning my first home!), so I never got a chance to show you how we made my easy DIY sheer curtains – but recently we made a minor tweak, increasing privacy with layered sheers, so I wanted to at least share that with you because I LOVE how they turned out!

DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

First let me chat about why I wanted DIY sheer curtains in the first place!  Although you might already know that I love sheer curtains.  In an effort to make the small townhouse look bigger and brighter, I have found an ally in easy to sew DIY sheer curtains because sheers let in lots of diffused light but blur the edges of the windows, making them appear larger (and of the same size).  With fabric in similar shades as our all-white walls, I also think that our DIY sheer curtains make the rooms look bigger as well.

But my DIY sheer curtains had one drawback: they’re sheer, lol.  Sheer fabric comes in so many different “weights” and colors and styles, and some are more sheer than others.  The bedroom curtains, made from a different kind of sheer fabric, were perfect but in the living room I occasionally found that the fabric I chose for that space was a bit too sheer.  Sometimes I felt a little exposed.  Plus, I hadn’t been able to buy enough of the sheer material, so I always found them a bit skimpy.  Not many people can see into these rooms because we have no backyard neighbours, and are nicely nestled a distance from the road with a curtain of trees, but I still wanted a bit more privacy and also a more structured, less floppy look for my DIY sheer curtains. 

Private Backyard with Fence and Trees
Our backyard – must fix that dilapidated fence this summer . . .

My Mom came to visit after we went to IDS12 and we tweaked the curtains while she was here, creating layered sheers which added to the privacy and structure of my DIY sheer curtains, while still letting in lots of light and keeping that airy vibe – the reason I love sheer curtains in the first place!

Instead of ditching the original DIY sheer curtains and starting fresh, we just added on to the sheers with fabric my Mom scored for $2.00/meter.  On its own, that fabric was too sheer as well, but together with my old DIY sheer curtain panels, they created the perfect layered sheers.  Here’s a before & after photo of the sheers, side by side, so you can see the difference before I explain the how-to:

DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered SheersDIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

How to Make DIY Sheer Curtains:

We started with the original DIY sheer curtains we made, which were so easy to make originally: we just hemmed the sides and then the bottom – leaving a larger hem at the bottom (about 4 inches, for some weight), and then we hung them on rings with clips from IKEA. 

DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

How to Make DIY Layered Sheer Curtains:

My mom reworked the panels so they are all the same size now.  Although the curtain rods are the same length, we had originally made the patio door curtains wider.  Now all four panels (two for the window, two covering the door) are exactly the same, creating a more balanced look and making the window and patio doors seem the same size.  Ordinarily, when we sew a hem, we fold it under twice to hide any cut ends but, because these panels are hidden, my Mom just folded the hem over once:

How to Make Sheer Curtains

The new fabric has nicely finished edges, so my Mom only hemmed the top and bottom and totally skipped hemming the sides.   She made the length just a tiny bit longer than the original sheers so the old ones wouldn’t peak out the bottom.  Here’s a closer look at the finished edge of this sheer fabric:

Sheer Curtain Fabric

The real genius of this fabric is that it is extra wide, because it’s designed for sheer draperies, so each of the four new panels is double the width of the original panel.  We folded each new panel in half, and slipped in an original panel into each new, folded panel and then clipped everything into place.  From the outside edges, the old panel is trapped inside the new panel and is barely visible.  We kind of made a “sheer sandwich,” with the new fabric as the slices of bread and the old sheers as the filling.  Okay, maybe it’s more like a sheer pita sandwich, lol, because the new fabric wraps around the old and only has one open side.  If you rustle around, you can reach the old panel from the middle of the curtains (where they meet) or the bottom.  But if you aren’t touching them, the new layered sheer curtains just look like a floaty, gauzy curtain – it is hard to see where one layers begins and ends.

Here are some close up photos of my new layered sheers, but bare in mind it is really hard to photograph what I’m explaining because these sheers are so, well, sheer.

DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered SheersThe outside edges
Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

If you were to push open the new DIY sheer curtains from the middle, you could peak in between the layers:

How to Make Sheer Curtains Less See Through

The result is more subtly diffused light, a bit more privacy and a fuller, less skimpy look.  I think they look more luxe now!  The added layers make the sheers more stiff, too, and thus less droopy.  The additional layers really make a difference in real life, but it’s hard to capture it on camera.  Take my word that this layering trick makes formerly skimpy sheer curtains look much more full (and more expensive, I think, even though this tweak cost only $20).

Here are the old, single panel DIY sheer curtains, the BEFORE.  You can even see the window frame & baseboard heater very clearly through the curtains:

DIY Sheer Curtains
Before

With the “sheer sandwich,” the AFTER, the window frame and heater are more obscured, and the curtains aren’t as droopy at the top, where they are hung on the rings.  Subtle, I know.  Maybe you should come over for a homemade latte and I can show you my new DIY layered sheers?

DIY Layered Sheer Curtains
After

Sewing DIY window sheers is easy, but adding this layered sheer fabric trick is my new favorite way to make sheers because the end result seemed fuller and more structured, with added privacy but that same airy look.  I’m so thrilled with this little hack we came up with, after pondering how you make sheer curtains not see through – so I hope someone finds it useful.  You could even do this with store bought sheer curtains and just use the curtain rings to clip two or three panels of sheers together for added privacy. 

How So You Make Sheer Curtains Not See Through
After

If you’re curious about my other sheer curtains throughout the house, see more of the townhouse tour right here!  And be sure to pin this post for later!  You never know when you might want to make sheer curtains less sheer…

DIY Sheer Curtains | Increasing Privacy with Layered Sheers

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18 Comments

  1. Meg
    February 7, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    Nicely done – the look great!

  2. Faith Pike
    February 7, 2012 / 3:20 pm

    Looks great! We have a set of sheers on all of our windows. They make your house seem so bright and open!

  3. Inspire Me Heather
    February 7, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    Your room looks gorgeous Tanya, nice job on the curtains too!

  4. April
    February 7, 2012 / 4:57 pm

    I can totally see the difference, and they look FAB! Nice job …

  5. Dana@Mid2Mod
    February 7, 2012 / 5:02 pm

    Really good idea! They really give you more privacy now and look a lot more substantial.

  6. Carol@TheDesignPages
    February 7, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    It's perfect!! I love sheers as well and there really are some gorgeous options available now. Not just for grannies!

  7. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication
    February 7, 2012 / 5:31 pm

    This looks great! I can definitely see where it is less droopy at the top and they look a lot fuller at the bottom too!

  8. Sarah @ { rad: renovations are dirty }
    February 7, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    Your room still looks airy and bright, but the additional sheers make it more substantial, which is nice for the winter. šŸ™‚

  9. Martina
    February 7, 2012 / 6:57 pm

    I love how they seem more flowy & ethereal(than before) while still letting in lots of light, what a great fix for the sheers vs. privacy dilemma. šŸ™‚

  10. Carissa @ the Fabulous Design File
    February 7, 2012 / 7:05 pm

    Great idea. I like the new look! Sheers really do make such soft pretty light.

  11. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    February 7, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    You are all so fabulous and this is why I blog. I was kind of worried that nobody would spot the difference and say, "What the heck is the point of this post? Those curtains are identical". Some of my non-blog friends have exactly that to say. So I love that I have a community of amazing blog-friends that I can chat about this kind of thing with. So thanks, everyone, for taking the time to comment and just being so darn awesome.

  12. Beth
    February 7, 2012 / 8:24 pm

    This is very inspiring. I love sheers, and I really like the cheesecloth-like fabric you used. Great texture.Even though I love summer the most, the quality of light in the winter is nice, isn't it? It's like living inside of a cloud.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 7, 2012 / 10:49 pm

      Beth, I agree! I started my blog in Nov 2010 and had an easy time taking photos in the winter. In the summer of 2011 I really realized how different the light is and, even though it was sunnier long, struggled taking good photos. The light was odd! Now I appreciate the crispness of winter light. I say that as I sit in the DARK šŸ™

  13. julief
    February 15, 2012 / 2:01 am

    may i ask where u bought your sheer fabric? thanks!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 15, 2012 / 4:51 am

      Absolutely! Both fabrics layered here are from Fabricland (www.fabricland.ca, for locations in Canada & USA). But I think similar sheers can easily be found at other big box-type fabric stores. Hancock Fabrics also has similar sheers, I think. I find this type of store can have limited selection (compared to shops where you can special order anything under the moon), sometimes dated styles but awesome prices.

  14. Amy P
    March 14, 2012 / 5:20 pm

    When you turn on the heaters, does it bother the fabric? I have baseboard heating and I have my curtains hanging right above because I'm worried they'll burn! But I hate the way it looks.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 14, 2012 / 7:02 pm

      Hi Amy, good question! I have baseboard heaters but they have been converted from electric to radiant heat, so warm water passes through pipes hidden behind the metal. They do not get very hot, so there is no danger of the fabric burning. My Hubby does open them often, though, because he thinks it helps the heat move into the room.If you have electric baseboard heaters, they might produce too much heat. It is recommended that curtains shouldn't touch electric heaters.You could try getting a curtain rod that keeps the fabric at a distance (so, something that has more depth). Or, perhaps, try a modern looking blind that only covers the window and then frame it with curtains that are hung beyond the heaters. Fabric roman blinds can look chic, also, and when made the same colour as the wall, can really blend in.Hope that helps! I will keep thinking of ideas and you can feel free to email me: dans.le.townhouse@gmail if you want more help.Best of luck!

  15. Roxie Tenner
    November 6, 2012 / 6:19 pm

    Those sheer curtains made the area look bigger and airy. Who would have thought that a simple curtain alteration can make a big difference? šŸ˜‰ Those sheers can also make a good curtain for the summer. Your townhouse looks so nice, Tanya.

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