If you follow along on Instagram, you know I promised to share a shower curtain tutorial after the guest bath reveal… you probably also know my original plan was a ceiling mounted curtain, like we installed in our previous bathroom. Long story short, Emmett and I weren’t on the same page and he went ahead and installed crown moulding in the shower area- which is totally fine, it works well, and it’s stunning, BUT that meant a ceiling mounted track wouldn’t be a good fit. After many messages from you all, I decided to go ahead and post my extra long shower curtain DIY because even though it isn’t mounted to the ceiling this time around, it really applies to any tall bathroom ceiling situation. In the end, I think the higher mounted rod was a happy accident- there is just enough breathing room between the rod and the ceiling, plus it still looks dramatic and tailored. Click through to see how I did it…
I’ll begin by giving a little disclaimer… a lot of these photos were taken with my iPhone, so please excuse the quality. In the hustle and bustle of finishing the bathroom in a time crunch, I didn’t have a lot of time (or motivation) to shoot “nice” images. Haha! Nonetheless, hopefully this post is really helpful! Here we go…
SUPPLIES + TOOLS
- IKEA Ritva Curtain Panels, 118″ long (1 pack = a pair)
- IKEA Riktig Pleating Hooks (1 pack)
- IKEA Riktig Curtain Hooks with Clips (*SORTED- you only need the S hooks from the package, not the clips)
- Shower Curtain Rod (I used this one)
- Curtain Rings (I used these and removed the clips)
- 2 Large Buckets
- Sewing Pins
- Clorox Bleach
- Sewing Machine (I have this model and love it!)
- Drapery Trim or Border (optional)
- Extra Long Shower Curtain Liner
Step 1 // Bleach the Ritva panels. I was on the fence about using the IKEA panels again because the extra long (118″) versions were all off white, with a yellowed undertone. A friend suggested bleach and I immediately thought DUH. Rather than bleaching them in my washing machine, I wanted to do a controlled lift so I could pull them out of the water when they reached my desired brightness.
I filled two 5-gallon buckets to the halfway point with water. I poured about 1-2 cups of bleach in each bucket (I just eyeballed it) and gave it stir. Prior to dunking the fabric into the bleach water, I wet the fabric in my sink, making sure it was thoroughly soaked. That allows the cotton fabric to absorb the bleach evenly. I let it sit for about 2 hours, agitating it every 30 minutes, then removed it once it reached the brightness level I liked, gave it a quick rinse, and tossed it into my washing machine.
WARNING- this fabric will shrink. It is 100% cotton. In my case, I actually tried to shrink it because it was plenty long, but just a heads up- in case you’re cutting it close. It will need to be laundered appropriately. Once it’s washed and dried, you’re ready to pleat your panels…
Step 2 // Pleat the panels. Using the Riktig pleating hooks, pleat your curtain panels however you’d like. There are lots of different ways you can use these. I counted 8 spaces between mine and did a double pleat- shown below. You can count more or less depending on what size pleat you prefer.
Step 3 // Add the S hooks and rings. Once your panels have been pleated, use the S hooks to connect the pleating hooks to the rings. Basically at this point, I’m prepping the panel for a test fit.
Step 4 // Test fit the curtain. Ignore my bathroom- we were still in the construction phase at this point, but it’s important to test fit the curtain before sewing or hemming. Look how much puddling I had… that’s not ideal.
I’m typically not a fan of puddled curtains- especially in a bathroom. I prefer my drapery and shower curtains to barely touch the floor or float no more than 1/4″ above or below it. While the panel is hanging, pin the bottom where you would like the hem to fall.
Step 5 // Remove the curtain and iron. Once you know just how much you’ll need to hem the curtain, remove it from the rod, and take out the pleating hooks. I like to press the bottom of the panel with an iron because it makes sewing a lot easier by holding the fabric into place. It’s almost like creating a template. If it unfolds, you’ll have a line. I also DON’T CUT excess fabric prior to hemming. Rather, I fold the fabric, pressing it with each fold until the length is correct. The extra weight of the fabric will help the curtain hang better.
Step 6 // Re-pin the curtain. After ironing the panel, pin the folds into place so they can’t shift while sewing. You can better see my rolled folds below…
Step 7 // Sew the hem. Now it’s finally time to sew! I like to make a big rectangle around the fold… down one long line, turn the foot, sew the small side, then travel all the way back up the top side, finishing with the other small side. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can also do this by hand… it just takes a little longer.
Step 8 // Try it out. Before moving onto the second panel, test it out. There is nothing worse than having to adjust TWO panels instead of one. Luckily, mine worked great, so I moved onto the second curtain and replicated those steps. I also decided to add a trim piece to the lead edge… just for fun. I love the nice graphic stripe of pattern and color it added. I found the trim at a local shop awhile back, but linked some similar options in the supply section.
Step 9 // Add the liner. The last step is to add the liner to the shower rod. Obviously it is a shower curtain and you want to keep the water from escaping the bathtub. I love this extra long liner from Amazon. I used it in our previous bath too! This time around it fit perfectly and I didn’t even have to hem it. Here is what the bottom edge of the liner looks like… it floats an inch or so above the bottom of the tub.
I installed the top portion of the liner to the back side of the S hook on the rod. I just threaded the hook directly into the liner die cuts and it’s perfectly hidden behind the front cotton curtain. Here is the view of the top side from the inside of the shower.
That’s it! Easy peasy and it feels so much more custom and tailored… much better than a readymade shower curtain alternative. One of my pet peeves is a shower curtain that floats too high above the floor. I wish companies would start making them longer- like drapery.
Questions? Let me know if you have any in the comments below! I *almost* shortened my curtain a tad more, but after having this same shower curtain in our previous home, I know each time I wash it, I can shrink it if it needs it… so I’m thinking it wasn’t worth the extra effort. On the contrary- don’t freak out if you wash it and it comes out a little too short. Wet the curtain, pull on it a bit, and hang it on the rod wet… it will definitely stretch! You can also turn on the shower, get the room steamy, and then stretch it. Trust me- I’ve been there and done that after Emmett tried to “help” with laundry last year. Haha! Bless his heart. Speaking of help, hopefully this post helped to answer all the shower curtain comments and messages I’ve been getting!