Intro: How to Make a Bed Canopy
Nesting with my girlfriend brought our attentions to our very plain bedroom and the common goal of making it romantic, or better yet, sexy. We agreed that adding a canopy over our bed could be just what we needed. Internet searching was less than satisfactory, with patterns being either too formal and drape-like, or gauze arrangements that often looked like glorified mosquito nets. Undaunted, we decided to make a canopy of our own design that simply went up the wall behind the bed (at the head of the bed), turned on a curtain rod then drape luxuriantly along the length of the bed to another rod to provide for a 12” or so vertical panel over the foot of the bed. After a trip to the fabric district and the purchasing of 10 yards of upholstery-grade fabric, a test run was installed, just to see how the fabric flowed, how it effected the room proportions and so on.
Below is a picture of the two-rod canopy test. Not so hot.
We still liked the idea of adding a canopy but were less than satisfied with the direction of our design. It needed help or we just wasted money on the wrong fabric.
I realized that to make the canopy work with our fabric of choice, some structure or framing would be required. This problem spawned the idea of using four rods versus two, and the balance of the design simply fell into shape. The results were very satisfying and I can safely say that our bedroom is well on its way to being very sexy. Enjoy!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Sewing machine (I have an overlock and a straight stitch machine – straight stitch only can work
Scissors, pins, thread
Iron and ironing board
4 curtain rods (two for 64” and two for 84”)
4 hooks (“plant” hooks for ceilings)
9 yards of fabric (verify amount based on your fabric selection and bed size)
3 yards of trim or cord to hang canopy to ceiling hooks
You will also need a drill or some hand tools for mounting the ceiling hooks.
Step 2: The Pattern
The following image illustrates the basic design and the cut sizes for making a 60” x 80” (Queen size) canopy. Please note that my sizes were based on the pattern and size of the fabric I chose which yielded a maximum finished fabric width of 55”. Accordingly, I added 3 ½” to each side by attaching Panels B. You may have to adjust these sizes such that when Panels A and (2) B’s are sewn together, their combined width is 62”.
Step 3: Cutting the Pattern
I was a bit concerned with the prospects of cutting super straight panels, some of which ran 13’ long! But what I found was that if I laid the material on the floor, the grout lines provided great references for laying the material straight. I was then able to mark my cuts, follow the fabric’s pattern as reference points going up, and cut all of my long cuts at the same time.
Step 4: Attaching Panels B
I pinned Panels B to Panel A with ‘right’ sides together, then joined the panels with my overlock machine – also commonly called a serger. The serger is great because it trims and binds the seam in one motion, otherwise you will need to roll unfinished edges under and sew them together with a straight-stitching machine.
Step 5: Finish Edges of Panels C and D
I found that using an iron and ironing board is very helpful when preparing the three open sides of each side panel (C and D) for sewing. If you cut the pattern out correctly, you have allowed one inch on all edges for finishing or attaching panels. Fold and iron each seam allowance flat at 1” then tuck ½ of the edge back under, iron and sew with your straight stitch machine.
Step 6: Curtain Rod Sleeves
Fold the unfinished or top edges putting ‘wrong’ or back sides of the fabric together. Run a straight seam 1 ¼’ to 1 ½” from the edge of the fold. This is where the curtain rods will run through and support each side. A 1” seam allowance with remain past your new seam for attaching the panels to Panel A.
Step 7: Attach Side Panels C and D
Pin then sew Panels C and D to Panel A. Care should be taken so that the front sides of your fabric end up where you want them: finished or front side of Panel A will be open toward the bed; side panels have finished sides facing out. Here again, I chose to use my serger for this seam but a straight stitch will also work. If you use a serger, continue finishing the edge of Panel A for 4” past the end of Panel C. This 4” will later become the 4th curtain rod sleeve that runs along the wall-edge of the canopy. If using a straight stitch machine, this is not an issue.
Step 8: 4th Curtain Sleeve
Fold and pin then sew Panel A such that a sleeve of the same size as those sewn into side panels is created. This sleeve will run across Panel A at the ends of Panels C.
Step 9: Finish Panel A
Finish the remaining edges of Panel A using the same method used to finish the edges of Panels C and D.
Step 10: Hanging the Canopy
The cords I have shown may ultimately be replaced, but the important thing here is to tie each of the four loops the same size. I chose to suspend our canopy 10” from the ceiling, hence 4 – 10” loops of cord tied and trimmed.
Slide the four curtain rods through the sleeves running rods through loops of cord. Two rod ends will run through each cord loop. Adjust your canopy so that it lies evenly across the rods, push the rod ends in so they pass through the loops an inch or so. Finials could be added to the ends of the rods if desired.
There you have it! A beautiful hand-made, one of a kind canopy that will surely transform your bedroom into a boudoir.