Ruffled curtain tie backs tutorial

I mentioned in my works in progress post that I did not make any progress on making curtain tie backs, as requested by a friend.  Well, now I have.

But seriously.  They’re tie backs.  For curtains.  They have ruffles.  It’s not really very interesting.  Functional, sure.  But interesting?  Notsomuch.  However, I thought maybe you have curtains (perhaps you made them?) and you want to make some pretty ruffled tie backs to match.  Maybe you’re just not sure how to go about it.  Well, I can help.

Here ya go.

Alright.  First up: construct the top part.

Here’s what I did.

Fold the fabric along the length and then in half so there are 2 folded edges.  Then cut out the shape.  In this case, the patterns was 12 inches wide, so when the tie back is unfolded, the fabric is 24 inches long across the length.  The pattern tapers across the length from 4 inches at the fold on the short side to 2.5 inches.  The curve is very gradual near the fold and increases in steepness about halfway across the length.

When the fabric is unfolded, you’ll have a shape that looks like this.

Fold that in half lengthwise and iron along the fold to make a nice crease.  Carefully fold the edges in about 1/2 inch along the curve on each side and press.  Do the same with the two straight ends.  Fold the shape along the center crease.  Set this piece aside and make the ruffle.

For my ruffle, I wanted a piece that was twice the length of the top portion of the curtain tie backs, in this case, 48 inches.  Since I didn’t have enough fabric for a piece 48 inches long, I cut 2 shorter pieces, 24 inches long x 4 inches wide and connected them.  You could cut them wider than 4 inches if you wanted a larger ruffle.  I pressed the seam open and then zig-zag stitched along each side of the seam so that I would not have any unfinished edges.

Now, fold the lower edge up about 1/4 inch and press.  Fold it up once more to enclose the raw edge and press again.  Stitch close to the folded edge to complete the hem of the ruffle.

Do the same with the two short sides.  Fold inward twice to enclose the raw edge, then stitch close to the fold.  You now have a long piece of fabric with three finished edges.

Time to ruffle the ruffle.  Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to the longest setting.  Increase the thread tension as high as it will go.  Place your ruffle piece in your sewing machine and sew along the length, about 1/4 inch from the remaining raw edge.

Return your machine tension and stitch length to normal.  When you removed your ruffle piece from the machine, leave the thread trails about 6 inches long.  With one hand grasp the bobbin thread only and slide the fabric so it continues to gather the ruffle.  You can slide from the opposite side as well, if you need to.  Continue gathering the fabric until the ruffle piece is the length of the top portion of your curtain tie back.

Place the ruffle between the two layers of the top portion of the tie back, tucked inside about 1/2 inch (it works well to line the raw edge of the ruffle up with the raw edge of the top portion that was folded in and pressed).  Pin all the layers together, catching the top layer, the ruffle and the lower layer with your pins.

I used a lot of pins, placing one every 2 inches or less.  I wanted to make sure the layers didn’t shift as I was sewing them together.

Beginning along one short side near the fold, sew very close to the edge to close the opening.  When your needle gets close to the lower edge, stop with your needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the tie back to sew along the length of the curve to enclose the ruffle, again stopping with your needle down when it arrives near the final open edge.  Lift the presser foot again, turn the fabric, then sew the final open edge closed.

Time to finish this off!  I was making these for a friend and she bought these little plastic rings to attach to the tie back.  If you don’t have them and don’t want to go buy them, you could use a small loop of fabric, or a piece of strong string, or a little loop of thin elastic.

I attached them by setting my zig zag stitch to a wide width and no length and going back and forth several times.  Do the same thing on the other side.

Now do the same thing and make another one.


And look: no unfinished edges.  All looks very professional, yes?  You can do it!

So, was this useful?  This project was a special request from a friend, and I honestly do not even know if people are using tie backs in their decor.  This is what happens when you don’t have cable and no longer get to watch HGTV!

6 replies
  1. kate C
    kate C says:

    Very nice! Just a suggestion, though. When doing the ruffles, I’ve always done two lines of “Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to the longest setting. Increase the thread tension as high as it will go. Place your ruffle piece in your sewing machine and sew along the length, about 1/4 inch from the remaining raw edge.” – about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart. That way, you have two threads to pull to ruffle it, and if one breaks, you don’t have to un-ruffle it and start over sewing a new line of stitches!

  2. Judy Peck
    Judy Peck says:

    Just setting up housekeeping, gardening and new business after long illness… am 65.. do not have tv either… and knew SOMEBODY out there had to know how to make these…. ty ty ty ty ty….

    tons of projects… but this one WILL get done!!!!!!! lol

    love yours….

  3. Sandie
    Sandie says:

    love it .great tutorial. Love the shape how did you go about cutting that way? my sister-in-law wants tie backs for the curtains I made her. I gave her one of mine off of a set of drapes. I have it measured @ 42 in length she said the length was good. she don’t want it very wide. Is there a way to print this so me and my husband can do this.

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