Artful Knotting

Window treatments from scrap fabric rag strips without sewing a stitch!

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
arfully knotted, no-sew, gypsy rag curtains added a cool boho chic-ness to my studio! 

My studio is colorful and fun but my windows were in desperate need for a creative treatment.   Store bought curtains bore me and I don't sew, but when my mother-in-law offered me scrounging rights to her fabric stash, I got creative and made these fun no-sew rag curtains.    I made some full-length ones and some valances, too.

I dug through her stash to find fabrics including old sheets, tablecloths and even old curtains (it turns out sheers are the most fun fabric to knot) with any shades of the bright colors that made me happy plus plenty of neutral colors to tie it all in.  The fabric prints could be awful as long as those colors were there.  I also found trim, ribbon, lace and ric-rac to knot in!  

I searched for bright oranges, yellows greens and pinks and while I found plenty, my mom-in-law has more subdued taste in colors than me so I subsidized her generous donation with some trips to the thrift store in search of some bright colors and rich, jewel tones.  I found a hot pink and a turquoise king size bed sheet, a gold tablecloth and a few more sheers that completed my loot.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
a pile of fabric rag strips transform into knotted magic for easy and inexpensive no-sew window treatments. 

Once I had a pile of at least a dozen different fabrics, I cut the fabric into strips varying in widths up to 2 inches wide.  Remember, I don't sew and I was using salvage fabric so I have no idea how many yards of fabric these curtains take.  BUT I do have a rotary cutter and that came in handy for cutting all those strips.

When the piles of fabric were cut I selected at least 4-6 strips of fabric to start a strand.  I tried to incorporate different textures and colors in my selection for each strand.  I also mixed and matched - you could start with all the same strips for each strand to make a more cohesive look.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
the making of my gypsy rag curtains

 Once I gathered the strips for my strand, I tied them into a loop at one end making sure it was large enough to slide over a curtain rod.  I worked out several methods but eventually hooked the loop over a coat hook on my closet door to hold the strand tight while knotting.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains


I planned on braiding the strands but my first craft love - macrame - kept butting in!  Those braids turned into square knots and twists and back to braids again. Anytime a fabric strip would run short, I would pick another strip from my loot, tie it on and keep knotting until each strand got to the desired length.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
a close-up of the knotted strands. 
As I knotted, the colors, patterns and textures began blending like magic!  Most strands started out thick (all strips knotted together) and then separated into several smaller strands.

I learned to keep the knots loose - it goes MUCH faster if you don't cinch down the knots and takes much less fabric for each strand.  Plus the strands stay lighter and hang straighter.  I also learned that even the ugliest fabric turns amazing when braided with other colors and textures.  I learned to leave large spaces between knots here and there to give glimpses of the fabrics I used.

The most important thing I learned is that music is essential to keep in the knotting rhythm.  Dancing while creating is high on my list of favorite things to do!

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
My needle felting studio is a happy place and these no-sew window treatments were a perfect solution to drab windows.  


Watching how those fabrics blended got me thinking of ALL the places I NEED curtains like this.  I need some on my patio for a privacy screen that the wind and light can flutter through.  I need a shower curtain in my guest bathroom (I picture using blues and beiges for a beachy feel.)  Not only that, my sister needs some in her boho chic cabin in Alaska.  (sorry, Keri if I spoiled your next surprise from me.)

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
My girls, Bailey and Violet, basking in the glow of a rag curtain in progress.  The remnants of the pink sheer curtain that I cut to fit in this short window are knotted into the curtain.  I also have colored LED lights behind the curtains - the glow is magical at night.  (but no night shots??)


My sister in Greece already made her own set of rag curtains to block the street view while letting air flow through her non-air conditioned village abode.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
Nora enjoying the breeze through her lace rag curtains.  

Sandy didn't knot hers up - the lace she salvaged from vintage Greek textiles was gorgeous enough on its own.


boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
So Pretty!
lace curtain photos courtesy of my sis at aeolia



boho chic no sew gypsy rag valance curtains
knotted rag strips make perfect valances in my studio windows
Once the strands were done, I strung them on my curtain rods, trimmed the ends and there you have it.  I made long set for my MIL (without my bright additions) and it goes perfect in the doorway to her craft cave.  And I made some for my bathroom.

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
I like to call these my gypsy rag curtains.  They might look better if I trimmed them to length:)

boho chic no sew gypsy rag curtains
the results of my artful knotting

If you need low to no cost window treatments and sewing isn't in your bag of tricks, I definitely recommend some therapeutic artful knotting!  It's almost as cool as needle felting!