In this how to tutorial, we're going to move onto drapery and look at how to make curtains for beginners. In the last guide, we showed you how to make cushion covers for beginners, so now we're going to move on to creating the matching curtains for the full set.
This is a very simple curtain design and is absolutely perfect for those new to sewing. Whilst we've upped the difficulty using a patterned fabric, we won't focus on adding curtain linining fabric as lined curtains are more difficult to make. If you choose a thick enough fabric, or even blackout fabric, it isn't always necessary to add a lining fabric. For your first go, you could use some plain fabric to make it easier, however we cover how to get a pattern match with a simple pattern in the tutorial.
The unlined curtains we’ll be creating in this guide will end up with a 54″ drop, however you can adjust the length to better suit your needs. We won’t go into measuring for the curtains in this guide, as that’s another guide in itself. We've photographed each step, along with a detailed description below it. You can also view our top 10 beginner's tips for curtain makers here.
The cotton curtain fabric used is 56″ wide including the selvedge and we will use the entire width of the fabric in this guide. We did this because we wanted to keep the measuring and cutting down to a minimum to keep it simple as possible. It also drapes rather well too don’t you think?
2-3 metres of curtain fabric (opt for a simple pattern or plain material on your first try)
Hand sewing needles (and or a sewing machine)
Curtain Heading Tape
We’ll be using a sewing machine for this guide. There’s a lot of straight sewing so this is great practice if you’re new to sewing on a machine.
Always ensure your fabric is cut straight before start. From the bottom of the fabric measure 57″ (144cm) and mark the fabric. Next, measure the opposite side and mark that side also.
Link up both of these marks to create a straight line and at the top of your fabric, write the word “Top”. This is very important. Now you can cut out this curtain.
Roll out the same length of fabric as before and with the curtain we cut out previously place this directly onto fabric and begin matching up the patterns at the bottom.
Now we need to align the pattern at the top, if you have done this correctly the pattern should be match up, but if it doesn’t readjust it until it does and pin it.
Before we cut out our second curtain piece we’ll want to cut out the waste from the bottom of it from when we were aligning the curtain pieces.
Once done we can now cut out the top part of the second curtain. Be sure to write “Top” on the top of the new curtain as we did before. Both pinned curtain pieces should both be identical in size and both feature the same pattern match. These are now ready for the next and more interesting step, machine sewing.
One side of the selvedge on this fabric is plain so a single turn is all that’s needed here.
Sew the selvedge from the top of the curtain. Turning this single selvedge is easy. Continue sewing until you reach the bottom.
The opposite side has text and colour charts so we’ll want to conceal those. To do that, we’ll need to use a double hem. A double hem is a fold once and fold again. Sew this double hem to the bottom of the curtain. Once you have sewn the hem, put the curtain piece to one side.
Now we need to sort out the curtain heading tape. Here we have used a standard 3″ tape. This is what we'll use to attach the curtains to the rail (curtain track) or curtain rod.
Pull the cords loose, tying them with a knot.
Now we’ll start securing the tape to the curtain, make sure you have the top of the curtain piece. Lay the curtain tape flat along the top of the curtain with around 1/4″ overlapping the top of curtain fabric as shown in the photo. For a nicer edge, turn in the end of the heading tape.
If you don’t feel confident at keeping the tape and curtain straight, you can pin them together before sewing.
When you have reached the other side of the curtain stop short and cut off the heading tape, leaving enough to fold under as shown.
Again knot the cords securely.
Same as the opposite side, you can turn in the end of the heading tape. Once completed, continue sewing the line from before.
Turn down the curtain top with about half an inch clearance.
Trap the curtain back under the sewing machine and sew across following the sewing line. This gives the top of the curtains a neat finish.
Next we’ll sew the bottom part of the heading tape in the exact same way.
Check your curtain’s drop on the window. Having someone else hold them up for you here is helpful but be sure to hold them up to where they’ll be hanging from the track! Remember we’ll need to hem the bottom part of the curtains, so before you make any adjustments, be sure to account for this.
Back to the sewing machine. We need to hem the bottom of the curtains. Trap the hem first and sew all the way across.
That’s one curtain piece completed. Now repeat the process for the other curtain piece.
That's it, the end result. Now you know how to make your very own patterned curtains and if you followed our guide for the cushion covers, you'll also have the matching cushion covers as well to complete both sewing projects!
In our next guide, we expand on the cushion covers above by adding a zip. You can view that here.