How to make curtains

Dying to know how to make curtains yourself? We have created an easy to follow step by step guide, showing you how to create and line your very own handmade pair of curtains in no time flat! It’s as easy as that and before you know it they’ll be ready to hang up to embellish your living space for all to see so be sure to give it a try!

First of all, before you can learn how to make curtains, check you have all of the tools and materials you will need.

  • Pencil or Tailor’s chalk
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric and curtain lining
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Fabric/dressmaking scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • 3” pencil pleat heading tape
  • Curtain weights

Step 1: Measuring fabric

For the main fabric – add 8” to the finished length required (6” for the hem and 2” to turn under the heading tape at the top), plus any extra length required for pattern match. For the curtain lining add 6” to the finished length required (4” for the hem and 2” to turn under the heading tape.)

Using a metal tape measure to measure fabric

Step 2: Cutting the fabric

Cut the number of lengths of main fabric required to the calculated length (= finished length + 8” hem allowance + pattern repeat). Cut the same number of lengths of lining fabric to the calculated length (= finished length + 6” hem allowance)

Illustration of scissors cutting fabric

Step 3: Joining the fabric widths

Next, pin the fabric widths together along the selvages, with right sides together, matching the pattern as you go. Stitch using a colour matched thread and a straight machine stitch through the point where the pattern matches or, on plan fabrics, using a half inch seam width.

A sewing machine illustration, sewing green fabric

Join the widths of curtain lining with a colour matched thread, a straight stitch and a half inch seam width. Carefully press the seams open on the curtains and the linings.

Illustration of scissors cutting green fabric

Step 4: Reduce the lining width

On the outer edge of each curtain lining cut off a 5” strip down the full length of the fabric.

Step 5: Hems

On the lining fabric turn up, press and pin a 2”+2” hem and flat stitch near to the edge of the top fold. On the main fabric turn, press and pin a 3”+3” hem.

A sewing maching and a hand sewing the hems on curtains

Step 6: Stitch the curtain and lining together

With right sides together (and making sure half widths line up where applicable), pin the main fabric and lining fabric together. With the side edges flush, move the bottom of the lining up half an inch from the bottom of the curtain before you start pinning, in effect making the linings a little shorter than the curtains.

Stitch the full length of the curtain from hem to top, with a flat stitch and a half inch seam allowance. Carefully press the seams open then turn the curtain to the right side out.

Shake and smooth out the curtain so that the lining (now narrower than the curtain) sits centrally behind the main curtain. You should have a return of fabric approximately 1” – 2” wide on each side of the curtain on the back. Gently press the edges.

Illustration on how to sew lining into curtains

Step 7: Stitching on the heading tape

Smooth the curtain out on a flat surface with the lining uppermost. Using a steel tape measure off from the bottom up, the required finished length of the curtain and turn the top of the curtain over, lining and fabric together, to this measurement.

Pin the turning, trim to a maximum of 2” and press lightly. Pin the tape to the top edge of the curtain, turning under the short edges level with the outer edges of the curtain and stitch along the top and bottom edges of the tape with a straight stitch and a thread colour that matches the main fabric.

Illustration on how to sewing heading tape onto curtains

Step 8: Finishing

Tuck the bottom edge of the fabric at each corner of your curtain, back on itself on a diagonal to create a neatly mitred corner and tack corner point in place with a slip stitch.

Stitch a button weight discreetly inside the bottom edge of each curtain, on the inside seam just below hem line. Lightly press the finished curtains to remove any obvious creases. Your professional looking curtains are now ready to be hung.

Illustration on how to add mitred corners to curtains

There you have it, now you know how to make curtains and can continue to make your own curtains in a variety of beautiful curtain fabrics.

Please Note: Should you find that your finished curtains are slightly creased then before hanging them you may decide to iron them. If doing so then please follow the care instructions of the the fabric and in particular, for velvet fabrics you should only lightly iron the reverse side of fabric, placing a damp tea towel between the iron and the fabric to offer an extra level of protection.

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