In this how-to tutorial, we're going to look at creating a set of simple curtains, aimed at beginners to sewing.
This is a straightforward curtain design and is perfect for those new to sewing. We've upped the difficulty using a patterned fabric rather than using a plain one so we won't focus on adding curtain lining fabric as lined curtains are more challenging to make. If you choose a thick enough material or even blackout material, it isn't always necessary to add a lining fabric, but keep in mind that your machine will need to be up to the task of sewing it. For your first go, you could use some plain curtain fabric to make it easier. However, we do 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, you can, however, 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. Don't forget to view our top 10 beginner's tips for curtain makers before you get started!.
The cotton curtain fabric used is 56″ wide including the selvedge, and we will use the entire width of the material 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 your desired 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 excellent practice if you’re new to sewing on a sewing machine.
Always ensure your fabric is cut straight before you begin. From the bottom of the fabric measure 57″ (144cm) and mark the material. 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 very important so do not skip this. 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 cloth 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 design should match up, but if it doesn’t readjust it until it does. Once it matches, pin it in place!
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 exciting 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. The header tape 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, which will stop them from retracting into the tape, which isn't ideal. Doing this will also help prevent the cords getting in the way when you're sewing.
Now we’ll start sewing the curtain 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 as shown above.
If you don’t feel confident enough at keeping the tape and curtain straight, you can pin them together before sewing. Follow the sew line on the tape to help get a straight seam.
When you have reached the other side of the curtain stop short and cut off the heading tape. Make sure you leave enough to fold under as shown below.
Again knot the cords securely, so they don't retract into the tape.
As with the opposite side, turn in the end of the heading tape, so you have a professional looking edge. Once completed, continue sewing the line from before until you reach the end.
Now 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 on the tape, which gives the top of the curtains a neater finish.
Next, sew the bottom part of the heading tape in the same way as before, following the stitch line on the tape.
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.
Also be aware that cotton fabrics shrink so if you've used cotton, be sure to also account for shrinkage.
Back to the sewing machine. We need to hem the bottom of the curtains to finish them off. 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.
Well, that's it, the result. Now you know how to make your very own patterned curtains and attach curtain heading tape. If you followed our guide for the matching scatter cushions, you'd have the complete matching set!