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How to sew curtains: Simple tutorial

A step-by-step tutorial on how to sew curtains for beginners, see how to make curtains for your home.

Making a house feel like a home is something we all want, and one way to help a room feel cozy and inviting is by hanging curtains. Not every window needs a curtain, but curtains can help the house feel like home. And to make the curtains feel more your style, why not make the curtains. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to sew curtains the simple way.

sew curtain hems

You could have a lot of questions about sewing curtains, especially if you are a beginner. And I have to be honest, this is my first time ever sewing curtains too. So you can do it!

But first, let me give you an idea of what you will need to make curtains.

How to sew curtains

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MATERIALS:

TOOLS:

 

Now that you have an idea of the materials and tools needed let’s answer some questions.

How do I calculate how much fabric I need for curtains?

Or how do you calculate the yards of fabric needed for curtains?

To determine how much fabric you need, you first will need to know how wide and long to make the curtains.

If you have no idea, see my post on how to hang curtains to help you answer these questions.

SIDE NOTE: The post about hanging curtains will share how to hang your curtain rod like a pro!

TIP: Remember, you want curtains to be high and wide to help the room feel cozier.

Now that you know where your curtain rod will be on the wall lets calculate how much fabric you will need for curtains.

The fabric that you will probably use will be home decor fabric which usually comes in 54″. The 54″ will be the width of the curtain but you should never plan on it being 54″, plan on 50″. If you’re wondering why its less, its because of the edge and shrinkage after washing.

In the post about hanging curtain, I answered the question of what size of curtains do I need? You will want the width of the curtain to be double (1.5 to 3 times) bigger than the curtain rod.

With this in mind, how wide do your curtains need to be?

Do you need two pieces of 54″ fabric or more? Remember, calculate less, 50″.

SIDE NOTE: It’s ok if you need more, my one window needed four pieces!

Now that you know how many pieces of 54″ fabric you need, let’s figure out how much fabric you require in length.

Something I have not mentioned is you will need to hem the fabric ends. And its something you will need to factor into the length. Take the distance from the curtain rod to the floor then add 8″. This measurement is how long each curtain panel will be.

But you will want to add more to each length to factor in shrinkage after washing. Depending on your fabric’s material (some fabric’s shrink more, cotton for example), add 5″ to 10″ more to that measurement.

SIDE NOTE: Don’t worry about factoring it into the width, the amount is minimal for that.

Then with this measurement (13″ to 18″ more than the distance from the curtain rod to the floor), times the measurement by the number of 54″ fabric pieces you need.

As an example, my measurement for the length is 107″ (this includes 9″ for shrinkage of the fabric). I need two pieces of 54″ fabric, two panels. So I would take 107″ x 2 which equals 214″.

Now divide the amount by 36″ (36″ is equal to one yard). Round the amount to the nearest 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, or whole number. This is the number of yards of fabric you will need for the curtains.

For example, 214″ ÷ 36″ equals 5.94. So I will need 6 yards of fabric or 3 yards per curtain panel.

Should I wash the fabric before sewing the curtains?

Since you now know how much fabric you need for the curtains, you are probably wondering should I wash the fabric before sewing the curtains? Yes, you should always prewash fabric before sewing if you ever plan on cleaning it in the future.

Fabric shrinks after being washed, and I am sure you would hate for the curtains not to fit after you clean them. So take the time right now to wash the fabric.

TIP: If you purchase per made curtains, buy them longer than you need, wash them, then hem the bottom to fit your space perfectly.

How to make curtains

At this point, you are ready to start the steps to make the curtains.

STEP 1: Iron the fabric

Once the fabric is washed and dried, you will want to take the time to iron the fabric to help remove wrinkles.

I like to place the selvage edges together (fold like a hot dog along the length of the fabric) then iron. This will help make it easier to cut later.

STEP 2: Cut the fabric

The easiest way I have found to cut fabric is by using a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler. So I will be using those for this tutorial, but the fabric can be cut with scissors.

Lay the cutting mat onto a flat surface, floor works great. Then place one end of the fabric onto the mat. Remember my fabric is already folded so if yours is not folded fold the fabric in half, the selvage edges together.

Because of the width of the fabric and length for your ruler. You might need to fold the fabric one more time, I did.

TIP: Have the fabric laying across the flat surface and bunching at the other end, if the fabric is longer than the space. I like to make sure the length I need to cut one curtain panel is flat on the surface, so the fabric does not need to be adjusted.

Then square the ruler to the end of the fabric and make a cut to give you a straight clean edge.

TIP: Make sure you are cutting each fabric because the end before the cut will not be straight.

Then take a tape measure and measure the length of the fabric to the predetermined length for the curtain before shrinkage (distance from the curtain rod to floor plus 8″).

Carefully move the cutting mat to this location, then cut a straight line at the measurement.

cut panels of curtain

Continue this cutting process until all your pieces are cut.

SIDE NOTE: You will probably have a little extra fabric but its better than not enough.

STEP 3: Hem the panel sides

Depending on how many pieces of 54″ fabric you needed, you are going to have curtain panels, usually two per window. So if you need to sew two pieces together, I would recommend you start by creating a french seam.

SIDE NOTE: A french seam is a way to place the raw edge inside the seams making the raw edge not visible.

There are many tutorials on how to create a french seam, the general instruction is to place the wrong sides of the fabric together, sew a 1/4″ seam. Turn the fabric, so the right sides are together then sew another seam at 3/8″. Complete this for each piece you need to attach together to make one panel.

Now back to sewing the panel sides. You will be using a basic double fold hem on the sides of the panel.

Place the right side of the fabric onto the ironing board, remember this is for the panel side (length of fabric). Then fold the raw edge of your fabric 1/4″ up (wrong sides together).

SIDE NOTE: Using a seam gauge makes this easier.

Press the fold well with the iron, making sure to keep a consistent 1/4″ for the length of the raw edge, the length of the side of the panel.

Now fold your fabric’s edge again, 1/2″. Press the second fold well again with an iron making sure to keep a consistent fold down the entire length of the hem.

hem curtain sides

Pin the pressed hem as often as you need to to ensure that the fabric will not shift while sewing.

TIP: Pin on the right side of the fabric because this is the side you will sew on.

Topstitch your double hem with a seam allowance of 3/8″ on the right side of the fabric.

sew curtain hems

Continue this step for all sides of the curtain panels.

STEP 4: Hem the top of the curtain panel

For the top of each panel, you will again use the double fold hem, but your folds will be bigger.

Place the right side of the fabric onto the ironing board, remember this is for the top of the panel. Then fold the raw edge of your fabric 1/2″ up (wrong sides together).

Press the fold with iron, keeping a consistent 1/2″ fold of the entire length of the top of the panel.

Fold the fabric 2″ and press the second fold well again with an iron for the length of the hem.

Pin the right side of the hem as often as you need to to ensure that the fabric will not shift while sewing.

Topstitch your double hem with a 1-3/4″ seam allowance on the right side of the fabric.

hem top of curtain

Complete this step for all tops of each curtain panel.

STEP 5: Hem the bottom of the curtain

You are close to finishing the curtains, all you have left is to hem the bottoms of the curtain.

To give you the perfect length, you will need to install the curtain first. Install the ring clips onto the top of the curtain, if you are not sure how to do this be sure to scroll to the bottom of the how-to hang curtains post.

clip top of curtain to hang

Then place the rings onto the curtain rod.

hem curtains length

The curtain should be pooling on the floor, but you want the curtain just to kiss the floor. Take a pin and adjust one end of the curtain until the curtain is bearly touching the floor.

adjust length of curtain

Then remove the rings from the curtain rod but don’t remove the clips from the curtain, they can stay!

Measure the extra of the bottom of the curtain, from where the floor hit to the raw edge.

Take that measurement and subtract 2″. This new measurement will be the distance of your second fold on the double-fold hem.

You again will be using the double fold hem for the bottom of the curtain panel.

Place the right side of the fabric onto the ironing board, remember this is for the bottom of the panel. Then fold the raw edge of your fabric 2″ up (wrong sides together).

SIDE NOTE: This hem is more significant to add more weight to the bottom of the curtain.

Press the fold with iron, keeping a consistent 2″ fold of the entire length of the bottom of the panel.

Now fold your fabric’s edge again to the measurement you determined above for the second fold.

Press the second fold well again with an iron making sure to keep a consistent fold down the entire length of the hem.

Pin the right side of the hem as often as you need to to ensure that the fabric will not shift while sewing.

Topstitch your hem with a seam allowance 1/4″ smaller than the width of your hem. Make sure to sew on the right side of the fabric.

Complete this step for each curtain panel.

Then rehang the curtains onto the curtain rods and enjoy your homemade curtains.

sew curtains

SIDE NOTE: If you like freshly pressed curtain (no wrinkles), you will probably want to iron or steam the curtains before hanging them.

I hope this tutorial on how to make curtains helped you make your room feel cozier for cheap. Please let me know if you have questions.

how to sew curtains

Interested in more curtain sewing tutorials? Here are some other posts you might enjoy: easy-sew curtains by Hey Lets Make Stuff | how to sew curtains the easy way by The Chronicles of Home

Or you will love these other home decor projects of ours:

And don’t forget you can see before and afters in our full house tour by clicking HERE.