There is nothing more satisfying than making do-it-yourself projects for your home. One of the things I like to sew best are simple curtains. Not only are they inexpensive, they make a statement. You can do the same thing with a little know how and some basic tools and material. Over the years I’ve had many compliments on basic window coverings that cost me very little time and money. You’ll need the following supplies
- Fabric (look at sale racks for bargains)
- Matching thread
- Dressmaker’s Pins
- Tape Measure
- Iron and ironing surface
- Curtain rods (the measurements here are for a basic 1 ½ – 2 inch diameter rod)
Begin by taking window measurements. You’ll need the actual window size (inside width and inside length). For this set of curtains my rod is four inches above the window opening and the hem will fall four inches below.
A perfect width for curtains is 2 – 2 1/2 times the actual window width. My window measures 36 inches wide by 57 inches high. My curtain rod extends 2 inches out on either side so my finished width will fit within this ratio, since I’ll have approximately 82 inches finished width and my goal is between 72 – 90 inches. (I arrived at this figure by adding the two fabric widths 45 + 45 = 90 inches minus 8 inches (for sewing and rod extension) equals 82 inches.
Here’s how I figure the curtain width:
- 36 inches (actual inside window measurement) x 2 1/2 = 90 inches (since most fabric is 45 inches wide I’ll need two lengths of fabric and two panels to reach the size I need.)
The length is figured in this way
- Actual inside window length = 57 inches
- Add 8 inches (4 inches below and 4 inches above actual window measurement for rod pocket and hem)
- Add 1 ½ inches for hem rollover and 5 ½ inches for rod pocket = 7 inches
- 57 + 8 + 7 = 72 inches (2 yards) x 2 lengths = 4 yards
Cut out two identical lengths of fabric. Each will measure 72 inches long (2 yds) by 45 inches (approximate width). Prewash if desired. Press flat with iron. Fold and press selvedge ½ inch to inside, then fold again, press and pin. Repeat for other three selvedge sides. Sew all four sides with a straight stitch close to fold.
Now work on the top. Fold and press 5½ inches of the fabric to wrong side. Fold and press 1/2 inch of raw edge under and pin. Sew straight stitch across to anchor. Measure 2 inches down from top, mark, pin and sew across width. You have created a rod pocket that is approximately three inches wide. Repeat for other panel.
Next is the hem. Fold fabric to wrong side 1 ½ inches and press. Fold raw edge in again at ½ inch, press, pin and stitch. Repeat for other panel. You’re done! Give a final press and hang.
You can use this basic formula to sew your own curtains and draperies for any window, just change the math to reflect the measurements. You can change the header, rod pocket and hem sizes if you need to.
Try making a small pair of curtains to start with, until you feel comfortable with measuring. In no time you’ll be making window coverings that will make you proud and be the envy of everyone who visits your home!