Store-bought curtains are typically one of the most boring and overly generic home decor items on the market, so they can appeal to as many customers as possible. And even on the off chance you do like the curtains you find in the shops, the odds of them fitting your windows are slim.
So what's a sewer to do? Well, make your own of course!
Sewing curtains isn't difficult, but there is some math involved, which I will walk you through below. Also, other than the fabric, the main thing to decide is how you want to treat the top. There are many ways to hang them, from incredibly easy to incredibly fancy. In this tutorial, I will show you how to make your curtains with grommets, which not only look fancy, but just happen to be incredibly easy! A win-win indeed!
Let's get started designing and sewing our own window curtains!
Figuring out your curtain math is simpler than you think. First, let's figure out the width measurement. Measure the width of your window from side to side. For a traditional curtain, the width of the curtain is 1.5 the width of the window itself. So multiply your measurement by 1.5. We will call this measurement A.
Then, figure out how much extra you would like on the left side of the window and add that amount twice (for both the left and right sides) to measurement A.
Next, figure out the hem allowance you would like on the left side of the widow and add that amount four times (for the left and right side of each panel) to measurement A. Divide measurement A in half and now you have the width of your two panels.
- The width of my window is 30". Multiplied by 1.5 = 45".
- Add 3" to the left side, multiplied by two = 6".
- Add 2" to the left hem, multiplied by four = 8".
- 45 + 6 + 8 = 59" total width. Divide 59" by 2 = 29.5" width per panel.
Now, let's figure out the length of the curtains. Measure the length of your window from top to bottom. We will call this measurement B.
Next, figure out how long you want them to be below the window frame. This can be just a bit to cover the molding, or you can extend them to the floor. Add that amount to measurement B. Then, add on the amount for the bottom hem, which is usually about 4" wide. Additionally, add on the amount for the fold on the bottom hem.
Figure out how much above the window frame you want the curtains to hang. Add that amount to measurement B. For a grommet curtain, we then need to add a 4" hem, plus the fold at the hem. All these totaled will equal measurement B.
- The length of my window is 50".
- Add 20" for the curtains to hit the floor.
- Add 4" for the bottom hem.
- Add 1" for the bottom hem fold.
- Add 3" for height above the window.
- Add 4" for the top hem.
- Add 1" for the top hem fold.
- 50 + 20 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 83" length per panel.
Cut your fabric so your length and width match your own personal measurement A and B. Be sure to cut off the selvage and do not include that in the finished curtain. This part of the fabric will drape at a different rate than the rest of the fabric.
Fold the sides of each panel 1" and press with an iron.
Fold the sides of each panel another 1" and press again.
Stitch the fold in place on each side of the panels.
Fold the top of each panel 1" and press with an iron.
Fold the top of each panel 4" and pin in place along the first fold. Press the top edge.
Sew along the pinned fold. Repeat steps 7–9 on the bottom of each curtain panel.
Buy a kit of grommets to install in your curtains. I used the above grommets from Dritz. I found these to be incredibly easy to work with, and though they aren't metal, they looked lovely from the distance above my windows!
Figure out how far apart you want your grommets to be. Measure across the width of the curtain and mark the center point of the circle. Measure down from the top along the hem and mark a + where the two intersect.
Using the template marker in the Dritz package, line up the center + on the template with your marks on the curtain. Use a marking tool to draw a circle using the plastic template. Continue by marking all the grommet spots with the plastic template.
Cut a hole in the center of the circle by either folding the fabric and cutting with scissors, or use a small rotary cutter and mat to cut an X in the center.
Use a small pair of scissors and carefully cut around the circle markings for the grommets. Be very careful not to cut the circle any larger than where you drew or else the hole will be too big for the grommet.
The grommet is made up of a side with prongs and a side with slots. Place the curtain with the right side down. Insert the grommet with the slots into the hole with the right side down.
Place the side of the grommet with the prongs on top of the ring. Press firmly in place until you hear it click. It is best to do this step on a firm surface where you can press hard.
Repeat steps 13–16 to cut and install the rest of the grommets across the top of each curtain panel.
Hang your curtain rod and simply thread the grommets onto the rod and hang in place!