Sewing Blog

Home Decor DIY: How to Sew Grommet Curtains

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!

how to sew grommet curtains
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! 

window diagram

Step 1:

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.

Example:

  • 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.

Step 2:

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.

Example:

  • 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 selvage

Step 3:

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.

first side fold

Step 4:

Fold the sides of each panel 1" and press with an iron.

second side fold

Step 5:

Fold the sides of each panel another 1" and press again.

sew sides of panels

Step 6:

Stitch the fold in place on each side of the panels.

top hem first fold

Step 7:

Fold the top of each panel 1" and press with an iron.

top hem second fold

Step 8:

Fold the top of each panel 4" and pin in place along the first fold. Press the top edge.

sew top hem

Step 9:

Sew along the pinned fold. Repeat steps 7–9 on the bottom of each curtain panel.

grommets

Step 10:

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!

mark center

Step 11:

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.

mark grommet circle

Step 12:

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 hole in center

Step 13:

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.

cut grommet circle

Step 14:

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.

grommet in hole

Step 15:

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.

second half of grommet

Step 16:

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.

grommet rings installed

Step 17:

Repeat steps 13–16 to cut and install the rest of the grommets across the top of each curtain panel.

finished curtains

Step 18:

Hang your curtain rod and simply thread the grommets onto the rod and hang in place!

13 Comments

Kelly Parrish-Calmeyn

What kind of fabric do you recommend?

Reply
Kelly Parrish-Calmeyn

What kind of fabric do you recommend?

Reply
Terry

I just saw your post and that your question went unanswered by the author. I personally can tell you that you could use just about any type of fabric you felt comfortable sewing for these. However, if you’re using a light to medium weight type of material, you may want to use some fusible or sew-in interfacing in the top to stiffen it and make it hang properly between the grommets. There’s also many choices of drapery tape, usually 2-4″ width, that is offered in most sewing or craft stores that can also help the top to keep its shape. Good luck and sorry I didn’t see this article sooner to help you out.

Reply
Christine Dickman

BUT, if your fabric is medium to heavy, there is a good possibility that the 3 layers of fabric, liner, and stiffener (buckram) will be too much for the grommets to manage. If the fabric is light to a light medium, a nice light buckram would definitely add some desired stability.

Reply
Lindielee

Now how can I add a black out panel to back?

Reply
Erica

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/03/how-to-sew-lined-curtains/

I’m using these instructions to add to the back, but I haven’t done it yet so I can’t tell you how it turns out.

What I am confused about is the width of the curtains. When I got the fabric, its only about 42″ wide but I need a width of 57″. I am assuming i need to sew two pieces together… but is there a more appropriate place to do that?

Reply
Norma Cook

The best spot to place a seam for grommet curtains is 1/2″ from the outer edge of a grommet. (There needs to be an even number of grommets on each curtain panel in order for it to hang properly with the side edges pointing toward your window.) I try to plan my curtain measurements so that the seam falls between an even numbered grommet and the next one in line. For example, if there were 8 grommets required for the total width of the curtain panel, the seam could be placed between the fourth and fifth grommets (counting from left to right), 1/2″ away from one or the other. Since grommet curtains hang in evenly spaced folds, the space between the fourth and fifth grommets would fold inward toward the window, making the seam less noticeable. If you put the seam right after an “odd numbered” grommet, it would fall on the outward fold of the curtain, making it more visible. This is one of those situations where a picture is worth a thousand words, so you might want to try drawing it out on paper before cutting it out of fabric.

Reply
S McDiarmid

I have samon color fabric and will be putting on white color rod. What color should the grommets be

Reply
Melinda

I feel like they would look best if they were the same color as the rod, so white:-)

Reply
Dottie

Excellent tutorial with step by step instructions, but as can be seen with the finished curtain, the panel is not full enough. A grommet style panel should be fuller with soft folds, otherwise it just hangs there.

Store bought curtains and drapes typically look cheap because they lack the fullness of custom made. The rule of thumb has always been – finished panels should be 3 times the width of the window (or 2.5 times at the minimum) – depending on the style of the curtain and the desired fullness.

Custom grommet panels should never be less than 2 times the window width (and again, preferably 2.5 times).

You can buy 30” wide panels just about anywhere. If you’re going to invest the time and money to make your own custom panels, go the extra yard and make them wider.☺

3rd generation sewing home fashion (custom drapes, bedding, upholstery). 60yrs personal experience.

Reply
Phyllis

What is the recommended distance between the grommets? Does this make any difference? In this case is more better than less? Thanks for your help.

pwr

Reply
Norma Cook

At the home decor store where I sew custom draperies, we plan for 4″ of fabric showing between the finished grommets. If you think about how a grommet curtain is supposed to hang, with folds that alternate outward and inward, the greater your spacing is, the greater will be the depth of the folds. Too much space between grommets would result in a very “thick” curtain and could make the heading look droopy. We also use 4″ wide fusible interfacing in the heading of the grommet curtains, whether they’re lined or not, so the layers of fabric stay in place when cutting the holes for the grommets.

Reply
Chris

You recommend interfacing for the header. Is buckram too thick? Will the grommets pierce through? I’ve never worked with it, so I don’t really know the thickness/stiffness of it. Thanks.

Reply

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