/ / / How to sew curtains: Simple tutorial

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.

You’ve been watching decorating shows for the past two hours, hoping to find inspiration for your next project.

In the latest one, the enthusiastic home designer chose heavy curtains with an intricate green pattern. The homeowners cried during the big reveal – they loved them! 

The thickness of the fabric was perfectly suited for that room, giving height to the windows, allowing the right amount of light and coordinating well with the rest of the decor.

Now you find yourself spending the next few hours shopping online for curtains.

But it’s not so easy to find the right ones for you. Even if you find something close to your style, they’re outrageously expensive!

Well, here’s something the designer didn’t tell you – you can make your own curtains yourself.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to sew curtains the simple way.

sew curtain hems

If you are a beginner, I’m sure you have a lot of questions about sewing curtains. And believe it or not, this is MY first time sewing curtains so I know you can do it!

But first, here’s a list of what you will need to make curtains.

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HOW TO SEW CURTAINS


MATERIALS:

TOOLS:

You can print the material list and instructions below.

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

HOW MUCH FABRIC WILL I NEED FOR CURTAINS?

PANEL WIDTH

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

If you have no idea, see my post on how to hang curtains to help you figure it out.

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

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

Once you know where your curtain rod will be on the wall, you can calculate exactly how much fabric you will need.

The fabric that you will probably use will be home decor fabric. This usually comes in a width of 54″. However, you should never expect it to stay at 54″; plan on 50″ because of the edge and shrinkage after washing.

As I explain in the post about hanging curtains, you will want the width of the curtain to be double (or 1.5 to 3 times) longer 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, use 50″ as the guide.

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

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

PANEL LENGTH

One important step you will need to do is to hem the fabric ends. This will affect how much fabric you buy. 

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 accommodate shrinkage after washing. Depending on your fabric’s material (some fabrics, like cotton, shrink more), 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, using this measurement (13″ to 18″ more than the distance from the curtain rod to the floor), multiply the measurement by the number of 54″ fabric panels 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, or 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. I will need 6 yards of fabric or 3 yards per curtain panel.

SHOULD I WASH THE FABRIC BEFORE SEWING THE CURTAINS?

Now that you know how much fabric you need for the curtains, should you 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. It’s better for most of the shrinkage to happen now, when you can adjust for it, rather than after the curtains are hung.

TIP: If you purchase premade 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 making the curtains.

STEP 1: IRON THE FABRIC

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

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

STEP 2: CUT THE FABRIC

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

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

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

TIP: If the fabric is longer than the space, have the fabric laying across the flat surface and bunching at the other end. 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.

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

white fabric on cutting mat with rotary cutter and ruler

TIP: Make sure you are cutting each layer of fabric or else the end before the cut will not be straight.

Then, 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, panels, are cut.

SIDE NOTE: You will probably have a little extra fabric but it’s better than not having enough.

STEP 3: HEM THE PANEL SIDES

Usually, you have two curtain panels per window and this will determine how many pieces of 54″ fabric you need. 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 so the raw edge is not visible.

To create this seam, place the wrong sides of the fabric together and sew a 1/4″ seam. Then, you turn the fabric so the right sides are together, and 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 on the rod first. 

Attach the ring clips to 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

Now, 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 barely 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.

Finally, rehang the curtains onto the curtain rods.

And that’s it! You’ve made your very first set of curtains for your home and you can enjoy doing your own ‘room reveal’ to your family!

sew curtains

SIDE NOTE: If you like freshly pressed curtains (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.

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.

Yield: curtains

How to sew curtains: Simple sewing tutorial

how to hang curtains

These are the steps on how to sew curtains for your home to update your home decor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 2 hours
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $

Materials

  • fabric
  • thread
  • curtain rod with brackets
  • rings with clips

Tools

  • tape measure
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • iron
  • pins
  • cutting mat (optional)
  • rotary cutter (optional)
  • ironing board
  • seam gauge

Instructions

  1. Determine how much fabric is needed for the curtains.
  2. Wash and dry the fabric before cutting.
  3. Iron the fabric after washing and place the selvage edges together.
  4. Cut the fabric to length.
  5. Hem the panel sides.
  6. Hem the top of the curtain panel.
  7. Hem the bottom of the curtain panel.
  8. Hang the curtains and enjoy!

Notes

Visit the article to get all the details.

how to sew curtains