The idea of making your own curtains may be daunting, but doing so allows you to achieve exactly the style and colour you want. The cost of well-made, lined curtains can be staggering, but with the aid of a sewing machine you can make your own for a fraction of the cost – take a look at our guide below.
|What's In Your Guide|
|Things to consider before making curtains|
|Choosing the curtain fabric|
– Patterned fabric
|Lined or unlined?|
|Sewing it all together|
Heavy, textured material will keep the heat in during the cold winter months, and may even help keep your heating bills down. Lighter, sheer fabrics, on the other hand, make lovely unlined curtains for the summer.
Choosing a plain fabric means that you don’t have to worry about pattern-matching, or anything more complicated than sewing in a straight line. With patterned fabric, the smaller the pattern, the easier it is to match. If you choose a large print, you will need to buy extra material to account for pattern matching, in a similar way to patterned wallpaper.
Measure the length of the track or pole at your window and multiply the result by 1.5. This will give you enough fabric to create pleats, and make your curtains look full. Add about 20cm to that figure to account for the extra fabric you will need for side seams. This gives you the total width of fabric that you will need to buy.
pole, measure from the bottom of the rings, but if you have a track, measure from 1cm above the track down to the floor.
Add 20cm for seams and turnovers if you want your curtains to touch the floor; if you want them to ‘puddle’ at the bottom, add 70cm – this measurement is called the cutting length. For plain or small patterned
fabric all you need to do is buy the number of widths you calculated at
this length, and you’re ready to go.
each width needs to be cut at the same point so that the pattern will match horizontally across the curtains. Don’t panic – all you need is your calculator to perform a few simple sums.
To calculate how much patterned fabric you should buy, add the length of the pattern repeat, which should be shown on the label, to the cutting length, then multiply the resulting figure by the number of fabric widths. Add 10cm per curtain and that’s how much fabric to buy.
If you are buying your fabric from a fabric shop or haberdashery and need help, the assistants generally have a lot of experience and will be happy to assist.
lining fabric as curtain fabric, less any extra fabric for pattern matching. Then all that’s left to buy is the header tape, which will be the length of your pole or track plus 10cm, and matching, strong thread.
Another tip for really professional-looking curtains is to use curtain weights. You can buy them online or from a craft or fabric shop. Simply insert the weights into the hem of the curtains to make them hang perfectly straight.
Stitch the two pieces together, leaving a seam of about 2.5cm, then press the seams open so that everything lies flat. If you are adding a lining, join this in the same way, and you will be ready to join the lining and the curtain fabric together. Make sure the right sides are facing and stitch along either side of the curtain with the lining and curtain matching at the edges. Leave the bottom edge of the lining 'open' to allow the curtains to hang correctly, just hem it as normal.
Header tapeTo attach the header tape, turn under the top 3cm of curtain fabric and press. To stop your header tape cords from moving, tie them at one end then pin the tape close to the top of your curtain. A tip for achieving a neat finish is to tuck under the ends of the tape to hide any raw fabric. Then
just stitch along all the edges of the header tape and remove the pins.
Hemming your curtainsAll that remains is to hem the bottom of your curtains. Hang up your
curtain from the rail or pole so you can gauge the correct length, then
mark it with pins. Turn up the curtain fabric twice to create a double hem, and hand stitch in place. This is the point at which you insert the weights if you are using them. Turn up the lining and hand stitch that, too.
That’s it. Bespoke handmade curtains achieved in a couple of hours and a new skill learned in the process! Now you can make curtains exactly as you want them for any room in your house.