These little curtains are a quick and easy sewing project. They can make a space feel more homey and give more privacy in the evenings, as well.
If I were just going for aesthetics, I would have made these curtains longer. I think they would be so pretty, but alas, we must think of form and function in this house. Our dinning space is only about 6’x9′. This tiny space also includes the walkway into the kitchen. With the 9 of us (2 adults and 7 kids age 8 months- 13 yrs.) tucked into this space, long curtains just wouldn’t stand a chance at staying presentable. I would be washing them constantly. However, this pattern can be adjusted for any length of curtains.
I’ve wanted curtains on this window for quite some time now. If you have read my about me page, you might know that I started this blog hoping that it would force me to finish my projects in a more timely manner. In this case it did!
Choosing material when sewing curtains
Types of material
For sewing curtains, you will want to choose a sturdy fabric. It don’t need to be heavy, but it does need to be able to hold its shape. I like to use natural fibers like cotton or linen. There are plenty of synthetic blends that can work well too.
Think about what you want from your curtains. Do you need something that offers privacy but still lets in light? Go with a shear or lace fabric. Do you need something to block out light in a child’s room so they can nap better? something heavy and thick like denim might be best here. Are you trying to add color or texture to the room? Just consider your needs before you choose your fabric.
How much material to buy
I like my curtains width to be 1 1/2- 2 times the width of the opening. You can make yours more or less full, depending on the look you want. Most material is about 45″ wide, and you will loose another 2 inches with the side hems. Measure your window, and decide how many panels to make. This doesn’t have to be exact. My window is 5′ wide. Which means, I am making these a little less than 1 1/2 times the width, but it still works fine. Next, measure how long you want them to be.
If you are making two matching curtains, like I am here, you will need to buy twice the length of the finished curtains plus 1′. (For example: If I were making floor length curtains, they would be 7′ long, so 7′ + 7′ + 1′ = 15′ or 5 yards.) Then add in another 6″-9″ just because material is often cut a little crooked, and this will give you some extra to straighten it out.
If you are just making one curtain, take the length of the finished curtain and add 9″. (Example: Making a 4′ single curtain for the window over the kitchen sink, 4′ + 9″ =4′-9″ or 1 7/12 yards.) Again, add in another 6″-9″ incase the material is cut crooked and you need to straighten it out.
If you are making more than two panels, you can add them up using the equations above. (Example of 4 panels that are 8′ long: 8’+ 8′ + 1′ = 17′, 17′ x 2 = 34′ or 11 1/3 yards, then add in the extra 6″ or so, and you get 11 1/2 yards.)
Other items needed for sewing curtains
I highly recommend a sewing machine for this project. You could make curtains with out one, but it will take much longer. You don’t need anything fancy. My sewing machine is currently broken, and after messing with it for over an hour, I switched over to the machine we have for our kids. It is basically this machine with a slightly different pattern on it. It doesn’t have as many options as mine does, but for simple projects like this, it is more than adequate.
The only other things you will need are: matching thread, scissors, a measure tape, straight pins, and possibly an iron and ironing board.
Time to sew these curtains!
Cutting everything out
If your fabric was cut off grain at the store, straighten it out now.
After your fabric is straight, cut a 3″ strip across the fabric width. This is for the curtain tabs. You will need to cut one of these for every two curtain panels and an extra 1 if you have an odd number of panels.
Next, cut another 3″ strip across the fabric width for each panel.
The last thing you need to cut are the actual panels. Divide the remaining length of fabric into the number of panels you are making, and cut them out.
Making the pieces
Take the strip (or strips) you cut for tabs, and fold it in half, so that it is now only 1 1/2″ wide. Sew along the edge with a 1/4″-3/8″ seam allowance. I use the edge of my presser foot for a guild. Turn the tab strip right side out, and press with the seem along one edge. Top stich along the seem edge (about 1/8″ away from the edge). Cut this strip in half. (one half for each curtain panel) And then, cut each half into 3″ strips. (I got 7 out of each half.) These are the tabs for your curtains.
For the panels you will need to roll a 1/2 inch wide hem around the sides and the bottom of each panel. You can press these in if it makes it easier to sew them, or you can use straight pins to hold the hems in place as you sew.
Lastly, roll a half inch hem on the two little edges of the 3″ strips that go with each panel.
Putting it all together
Take the panel strip and lay it on your work surface with the finished side up. Place a tab at each end of the strip, and then space the others evenly between the two. You can use your measure tape if you want to (or you can just eyeball it). Pin the tabs into place.
Next, lay the panel, finished side down, on top of the strip and tabs. The top edge of the panel (which was left unhemmed) should be lined up with the top edge of the strip, and the tabs should be between these two pieces. Pin the panel to the strip and tabs along the edge.
Sew along this pined edge with a 3/8 seam allowance. Turn so the strip is between the curtain panel and the curtain tab and top stitch along the seam you just sewed.
Tack the bottom of the tabs to the bottom of the strip. Turn the bottom of the strip under 1/2 inch and pin in place. Sew along the bottom of the strip 1/8″ from the edge.
Repeat these steps for your remaining curtain panels.
These curtains can be used pocket style or tab style.
Have any great sewing tips that apply? Leave a comment and let us know. Happy sewing!