How to Make Gathered Curtains: Part 2

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Sewing | Comments


The gathered curtain is a simple, yet amazingly versatile, curtain to make. It is appropriate for, literally, any room in your home and can be made with virtually any type of fabric. As I stated in last week’s post, if you can sew a straight seam, you can sew a basic curtain. So, once you learn the tricks for gathering curtains, sewing is a breeze!

Gathered Curtains: Making Gathered Curtains on Craftsy

The key to making these (and frankly any type of curtain) is in the measuring and calculating. Determining the proper curtain dimensions, panels and fullness remains vital to the success of your curtains, which was all covered in last week’s post, How to Make Gathered Curtains: Part 1. This is probably the hardest part of the project. In fact, you will more likely spend more time measuring and calculating than actually sewing the curtains. Case in point, the curtain in these photos took me an hour to sew.

Sewing curtains is nothing more than a sequence of straight seams and hems. The sequence in which each is executed, however, is rather important. Not difficult, but it impacts the way the curtain hangs and functions.

Here are the steps to sewing a basic gathered curtain.

Step 1:

Cut the panels required in the predetermined dimensions.

Step 2:

Sew or piece the panels together, if needed, to achieve the required pre-finished width.

Step 3: 1.5 inch double hem at bottom of curtain

Step 3:

Sew the bottom hem. Yes, that is correct. Unlike clothing where the bottom hem is usually the last step, here it is the first step to assembling a curtain. If you have done all of your measuring and calculating correctly, the process starts with the hem.

A double hem is usually best as it adds the necessary weight needed for the curtain to hang well. For a 1/2” double hem, which was used for the curtain in the photo, turn up the hem 1 ½” and press in place. Now turn the hem up again another 1 ½” and pin that in place. Edgestitch the hem to finish, or it can be hand-stitched for an invisible appearance.

Step 4: Bottom Hems Pinned in Place

Step 4:

Complete the two side seams with 1” double hems each. This is the same process as described in step 3, but for the sides.

Step 5: Prepare the rod casing and header

Step 5:

Now prepare the rod casing and header. Take the amount that was to be added to the curtain length to account for the rod pocket and header and divide by 2, plus ½” for the hem.

To illustrate:

  • In the photo example, the rod measured 6”. 
  • I added a 1” header or 2” plus ½” for the ease amount to equal 8 ½”. 
  • I divided that number by 2 which equals 4 ¼”. 
  • Add ½” for the hem to equal 4 ¾”. 

That’s the amount that is folded over to the wrong side to complete the curtain!

Step 6:

Turn the raw edge under ½”, pin in place. Stitch the hem in place close to the folded edge.

Step 7:

Sew a row of stitches 1″ from the top edge to form the header. This simultaneously completes the rod pocket as well.

Step 8:

Insert the rod into the curtain and hang.

Now you’ve completed a lovely gathered curtain, perfect for dressing up any window in your home! Remember, if you missed the first post in the gathering curtains series, you can check out How to Gather Curtains: Part 1 here!

What room in your home will you be putting your gathered curtain?