How to MacGyver Store Bought Window Treatments


Different clients have different budgets. Custom window treatments can take one of the largest chunks out of a decor budget and some clients prefer to use their budgeted decor dollars elsewhere and are comfortable resorting to store bought window treatments. Non-custom window treatments can be the perfect solution for many applications. I often suggest embellishment to semi customize store bought window treatments. Below is an example of how I had to more than embellish store bought treatments in order to make them fit. The window treatments below (both sets) are ridiculously too short, by a whopping 10". This budget bedroom window originally had a black out roller shade but the client wanted layered window treatments to complete the look of the window and bedroom. But even budget window treatments should fit the window properly. OYE!


Although the window treatment rod is hung close to the ceiling (as it should be folks, makes the room and window appear larger), if it was hung just above the window frame (horrors), these window treatments would STILL be too short. Hellloooo... Target, I'm suggesting you make your window treatments longer by at least 18" to account for taller ceilings and decent hems. I solved this issue by adding an insert to the existing panels. The inserts for the grey panels came from existing IKEA off white panels and the inserts for the patterned sheers was achieved by buying one extra sheer to use as the insert.



To add inserts, and therefore a little interest without having to touch the hem. Yes, this can be done.

What you will need:  

fabric for inserts, sewing scissors, sewing tape measure, sewing pins, sewing machine, coordinating thread, iron and ironing board, a stool for removing and re hanging and an extra pair of hands (optional) to help with the rehanging.


1. While panels are hanging from correct rod height, measure from the bottom of the existing hem edge to the floor / carpet ...these panels were too short by exactly 10". Make sure your measurement allows for 1/4 clearance above the floor /carpet.

2. Determine where you want the insert to be. We decided to visually have it where the lower window frame begins, or about 1/3 approximately from the bottom of the treatment. This is really an arbitrary decision, but the insert should divide the treatment in thirds, quarters, fifths...NEVER in half.

4. We needed 10" extra inches to achieve the proper height for the finished window treatment. But seam allowances must be included before cutting the inserts. I wanted 1/2" seams. Therefore I needed to add an extra 2" to the 10 " for a total of 12" unfinished insert.                                                                                                                                                          *1/2" at TOP of insert sewn onto 1/2' of  TOP existing panel = 1" Plus 1/2" at BOTTOM of insert sewn onto 1/2" BOTTOM of existing panel = 1" for a total of 2 extra inches*                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ** keep in mind that the 1/2" seam allowance needed from the top and bottom of each panel reduced the overall length of the finished panels by 1", therefore, the insert ended up being 11", but the desired total finished length was achieved **


NOTE: for the patterned sheers, I knew I couldn't match the pattern repeat, so I cut the insert lengthwise, so the pattern would purposely not match. I measured and added enough length to include the two side hems to match the existing side hems on the panels.

5. The inserts were cut to 12" and thankfully, the IKEA inserts were only slightly wider than the panels so a quick side hem was done to make them the same width.

6. To ensure the inserts was going where we wanted them, I pinned the inserts to the panel at the desired height which in our case was 28" from the hem edge.

7. I then cut each existing panel at the 28" from the hem. I pinned the TOP of each cut panel to the TOP of the insert and sewed the 1/2" seam allowance. I then pinned TOP of each panel including the newly attached insert to the cut BOTTOM of each panel and sewed 1/2" seam allowance.


8. I ironed the two seam allowances on each panel OUTWARD and then topped stitched on the RIGHT side, close to the seam edge, to hold in place.

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VOILA...semi custom store bought window treatments that are not only embellished, but are now the correct height.


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