Cindy adds pinch pleat draperies to her 1960s mid-century modern home

Cindy finished a project: Pinch pleat drapes and valences for her adjoining living room, kitchen, dining room and entry in her 1960s mid-century modern house. The draperies are so happy, don’t you think? Cindy is, too, and she has photos — and tips based on her experience — to share.


Cindy writes:

Hi Pam!

Nearly six years after buying my 60’s ranch I figured out what to do about draperies. I would have been perfectly happy without window coverings because I love lots of light, but we’re at the end of a cul de sac and when cars drive down the street the occupants see the entire living room area, so for the sake of privacy I decided to have pinch pleat draperies made of a beautiful fabric I found on after learning about them from one of your reader’s comments. What a great site with so many retro fabric choices!

The fabric I chose is a bold floral that works beautifully with the wall color; as for painting the rods to match…I got that tip from YOU! I was a bit concerned that, given the size of the largest window, it would overpower the room, which it did for about ten minutes. I love it because it feels both retro and contemporary at the same time. I did two windows and three valences to keep the large open area coordinated and also had four pillows made. Although makes draperies, I had them made locally and was surprised at the cost….the entire project, including the cost of 35 yards of fabric, cost me under $1500. I had another quote from a few years ago for over $4,000!

One valuable lesson I learned is to hire a professional to install such a large rod and draperies. When a carpenter friend offered to help me do it I readily accepted…. six long hours later we had finished, only to discover we had put the rod a bit too low….(a very long story that I now am able to laugh about). The following week I hired a professional installer from a local furniture store to reinstall …. 90 minutes and $75 later they were properly aligned and completely functional. Oh the lessons we learn along the way!

Now on to landscaping….!


Love ’em, Cindy.


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  1. says

    Cindy, the pinch pleats look amazing!! I too just took the pinch pleat plunge but opted to cheap out and do the rods on my own-foolish mistake, so now I will marvel at yours for while and pretend that my own look as good!! 🙂

  2. Guy H. says

    Amazing. Your house is just incredible to look at! I love the matching pillow!

    I see where you mentioned painting the rods to “match”… is there a picture that shows this? What do they match? The walls or the fabric?

  3. Cindy says

    Hi Guy…the rods were bright white traverse rods that I painted to match the walls behind them….brown for the paneling and cantelope colored for the large window… white rod glaring at me! (Maybe I should do the same thing with the panel radiators under the windows!)

  4. Gavin Hastings says

    They look great and really give your home a finished look.

    Do-It-Yourselfers: Notice how Cindy’s draperies are pleated “with the pattern”.
    When making draperies, usually you find the spaces and the pleats numerically….finding your center and then measuring and dividing until you reach your return. On a less graphic fabric you might have a return of 2.5 inches….and just create your pleats in a “5 inch pleat/5 inch space” rotation over and over.

    Not so with a bold design or stripe! Notice the valance over the sink: those flowers didn’t just space themselves perfectly by chance. You have to adjust your measurements so that a pleat falls uniformly on the design or stripe.

    Cindy….now you can appreciate your craftsperson even more! They look lovely (although I would have been more than happy to show you how to whip them up yourself….maybe nextime.)

    I hope Gary was able to help you with the walkway.

  5. Gavin Hastings says

    I love your Euro-radiator….and YES! I would paint that baby right up.
    Ben Moore… Manor Brown-ish.

    I don’t want you competing against me on Ebay…but can I also suggest Iroquios China “Harvest Time” ?

  6. TappanTrailerTami says

    Cindy, your drapes look great – and pinch pleats to boot! It seems like skillful pinch pleating is probably on its way to becoming yet another lost art, especially in light of tab tops, rod pocket, grommeted, etc. curtains out there now.

    This is just clearly so much better! And HAPPY! Love them, great job!

  7. Leslie says

    I LOVE the fabric you used! We are in a similar predicment as we have all the original draperies in our 60’s ranch house sadly the ones in the kitchen are quite shabby and need to replace. We have recieved some scary price quotes so you have inspired us to see alternatives. Is that fabric new…it’s super fab!!!!

  8. says

    GREAT tip on the I’ve been looking for some retro fabric for a small window. I took a quick peak and love what I’m seeing. Your drapes look fabulous Cindy! I also have pinch pleast draperies in my living room and feel validated that you didn’t take the drapes all the way to the floor. I was tempted to do that to my similar sized window, but decided to keep it real by only hanging it to the window ledge. I see you did the same thing. Isn’t it funny the things we agonize over!

  9. bex says

    I love the fabric at tonicliving (and it’s surprisingly affordable!). I also am a fan of the amazing big bold print fabric at IKEA.

  10. Cindy says

    Gavin – Gary is starting my entry area next week!
    Leslie, the fabric is new – I got 35 yards from – they have an excellent selection.
    Barbara, by wallpaper you must mean the backsplash in the kitchen….it’s not wallpaper, it’s stenciling that I did myself four years ago…I enlarged a tiny picture from a catalog, made templates, and bought four colors of paint (always Benjamin Moore at my house!) and got going on a very trying process but I love the results! I’d love to put that exact pattern on ceramic tile but haven’t explored that much yet.

    • Gavin Hastings says

      Not to mention…placemats…shower curtains…..pot holders. The possibilities are endless. Great pattern/lots of patience.

  11. Vintigchik says

    I wanted pinch pleats for my living room, but cannot even come close to affording them right now. However, I found some curtains at IKEA that have the feel of pinch pleats especially when they are open. I love them! You can hang them on a traverse rod or a regular pocket rod. They come super long and you iron hem them yourself to the size you need. For a pair they are only $60. Just a tip for those of us that can’t splurge just yet:)

  12. jkaye says

    First off, I like how happy Cindy looks in her house. Second, I really like the pinch pleats and the fabric they are made from — fun to see the big flowers on a pillow or when the drapes are closed, and such a nice pattern is formed by the folds when the drapes are opened. Finally, I really love what I see through the windows — all of that foliage!

  13. Heidi says

    Hey Cindy – Thanks for the great pictures of your draperies. My Mom made pinch pleat drapes for a living during the 60’s and every window in our ranch house had them; even the sliding glass patio doors. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have such beautiful window coverings as a child. What great fabric on those drapes as well!!!

  14. nina462 says

    I love them as well. I have two huge windows (combined living room/dining room) and would like to have pinch pleats as well. My dilemma is that I’d need to buy matching for both ends of the rooms. But it is something I need to invest in as the ‘floating curtains” (not sheers) need to go! I was glad to see that you can still see ‘outside’ on your home, as that’s what I think I’d miss the most.
    However, I’m sure my neighbors would like to see me have some drapes up….ha!! I’m thinking of going with a toile pattern in cream/navy. Unless I can find some floral …decisions!!
    Thanks for giving me to boot to get started!

  15. Rebecca Prichard says

    LOOOOVE them! They look soooo great!!! They look wonderful with the wallpaper, which I also love, in the kitchen. Great job! 🙂

  16. Rita Conley says

    Wow, Cindy,
    This looks just like the drapes we had in our 1960 ranch home in Colorado. You even got the print right. Most people had large flower prints of some kind. Great job! Looks very authentic.

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