Sewing Blog

Learn How to Sew Lined Curtains, Step By Step

Fully lined curtains are elegant, block double the light of unlined curtains and protect the fabric from fading in the sunshine.

Sewing curtains with lining is great for children's and baby's rooms, which require more darkness. Plus, they also allow the curtain fabric to appear opaque, as it has the backing fabric of the lining. While they look complicated to sew, they are actually incredibly easy, once you know a few tips for hiding all the stitching.

Sew custom curtains and draperies that elevate your decor!

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Read along and learn to make your own customized lined curtains!

how to sew lined curtains

Before doing any sewing, first you need to cut your curtain fabric and lining fabric. Check out this post on how to sew grommet curtains to learn the steps properly measure your windows for curtains. you will need to measure, cut, and sew any panels together to have our curtain fabric the size you want for your windows prior to beginning this tutorial.

To add in the correct amount for the sides, top and bottom, use the following guide: The top will be treated based on your hardware of choice, so be sure to add in the amount you need for your fixtures. The hem allowance to add in is 4" and the side seam allowance is 2" for each side, making it 4" wider overall. The lining fabric should be cut to the same size as the curtain fabric, then trimmed down to be 2" shorter and 4" narrower. Once you have the panels ready to go, proceed to step 1 below to start the sewing process.

Tools required:

Iron and ironing board (a small portable pressing board can be helpful, so you can bring it to the fabric instead of the other way around, allowing you to keep the fabric flat on your surface), seam gauge, scissors, pins, sewing machine, and an area large enough to lay out your entire curtain. This can be your floor or a large dining table, just as long as you can lay it all out, as that will make the pinning and lining up steps much easier once you have the volume of yardage that curtains typically require.

fold curtain hem

Step 1:

Fold the hem of the curtain fabric up 3/4" and press with an iron set to the appropriate heat for the fabric you are using. A seam gauge will help this step a lot, as pictured above.

fold curtain hem

Step 2:

Fold the hem of the curtain fabric a second time, this time making the fold 3 1/4" so the hem amount between the two folds is a full 4" hem. Press with your iron.

fold lining hem

Step 3:

Repeat steps one and two with your lining fabric, first folding and pressing 3/4" and then folding 3 1/4" and pressing a second time for the full 4" hem allowance.

pin curtain and lining hems

Step 4:

Pin the hems in place in preparation for sewing. Tip: With this amount of fabric, it is more important than ever to have the excess fabric to the left of the needle. Pinning the pins into the fabric with the heads of the pins facing you will allow you to pull them out easier as you wrangle all the curtain fabric.

sew curtain hem

Step 5:

Stitch the hem of the curtain, sewing close to the hem fold. Tip: find a spot on your presser foot to follow since the 4" hem is too large to follow on your seam allowance guide. For my example, I used the right edge of the left toe along the fold to keep my stitches straight. Remember, you will see these on the right side of the curtain. For an entirely invisible hem, this step can be hand sewn.

sew lining hem

Step 6:

Repeat step 5 with your lining fabric, sewing close to the hem fold just as you did on the main curtain fabric.

press the curtain hem

Step 7:

Press the stitching and the bottom hem fold with your iron.

press the lining hem

Step 8:

Repeat step 7 with your lining fabric, pressing both the stitching and the bottom fold.

place lining and curtains right sides together

Step 9:

Place the curtain fabric on a flat surface with the right side facing up. Lay the lining fabric down on top of the curtain fabric, right side down so the right sides are facing. Line up the top edges and one of the side edges. The opposite side will not line up since the lining is less wide. The hems also will not line up since the lining is 2" shorter than the curtain fabric.

pin the curtain and lining together

Step 10:

Pin along the side seam that you have lined up. It can be helpful to pin a little bit along the top edge and the bottom edge to secure the lining in place.

sew the lining to the curtain at the side seams

Step 11:

Stitch the lining to the curtain fabric along the side that you pinned in step 10. Use a 1/2" seam allowance.

repeat sewing on the opposite side

Step 12:

Lay the curtain flat again and this time line up the fabric and lining on the side opposite the sewn side. Because the lining is narrower than the curtain, lining up the side seams will pull the seam sewn in step 11 beyond the stitch line. Pin and stitch the fabrics together at the same 1/2" seam allowance as you did in step 11.

press the sewing

Step 13:

Press both of the side seams flat after sewing to flatten the fabrics. Then turn the tube of fabric right side out, so the wrong sides of the lining and curtain fabric are facing.

press sides after turning right side out

Step 14:

Once you turn the curtain right side out, the lining will naturally roll 1" of the curtain fabric to the wrong side of the curtain, keeping the lining away from the edge. Use your seam gauge to measure the fabric that is rolled to the back side of the curtain and press in place.

fold bottom hem corner

Step 15:

At the bottom corner on the lining side of the curtain, fold the raw edge of the fabric at a diagonal, tucking the raw edge in. Press the fold with your iron.

hand sew corner fold

Step 16:

Hand sew the fold in place using a needle and thread. Repeat the folding, pressing, and hand stitching on the other corner of the hem.

finished lined curtains

Step 17:

Finish the top of the curtain based on how you choose to hang it. For a pole, fold a small amount and press, then fold again enough to fit the rod through the fabric and stitch in place. For ring clips, fold and press the top layers twice and stitch. Then simply clip and hang!

Sew custom curtains and draperies that elevate your decor!

PLACEHOLDER TEXT

Learn the techniques you need to create elegant shirred, pleated and grommeted styles.Enroll Here Now »

39 Comments

Vivienne

been making curtains for years. Today learned something new. That will help in fact make it easier. Thank you

Reply
Carma

Step 2 seems a bit confusing to me – wouldn’t the distance between the 2 folds be 3 1/4 inch as shown on the hem measure? i realize the full 4 inch hem allowance would have been used but the instructions might confuse a first-time sewist. Other than that thanks for sharing – what a nice finish!

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Sandi

Great tutorial!

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Pauline Edwards

I have been altering curtains so they fit my windows and making curtains from old and new fabric … Never with lining before … This has been so helpful to me … Thanks for sharing … Does anybody know how make roman blinds in this breakdown form … Pauline Edwards . I would appreciate that if possible … Thanks P:)

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Elaine

You can find how to videos for Roman shades and many other things on Sailrite.com.

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Kristine McCorvey

Hello – In the industry they double the hems. You would need to add 8″ for the hem, turning under 4″ the first time and then 4″. If you look at your pictures you can see the line from turning it under just 3/4″. The double hem allows no show through. Also, in industry they would use a blind hem machine. If you want professional looking draperies, skip stitching them with the machine and hand stitch the hem for a professional looking drapery. Lastly, on the sides in Industry they add 2 1/2″, to again have a double 1 1/4″ hem. If sewing on to lining it would still finish at 1 1/4″ and then adding whatever seam width you want.

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Anna

Wow killjoy.

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Tracy

I am looking for industry standards so I appreciated this comment.

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Katvat

Me too, I too, it as an additional knowledge bonus

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Jean

Thank you, I Too was looking for these standards

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bdansing

Thank you. I needed the industry standards also. I’ve spent $800 on fabric so I want to do this 100% professional as possible. This helps.

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Allyson

I’m glad I read your comment before starting my project! I’m making a cafe curtain so the full double hem is needed to prevent sun-show. Also since the hem is closer to eye level on a cafe curtain I’m for sure going to blind stitch that. Thank you!

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Nicola Pullan

I’m really glad you added this, thank you.

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Lindielee

Does this technique also apply to “black out” liners that are a heavy material?

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KV

Hi! I went to the link and figured out calculations for the main fabric, but I’m not seeing anywhere how much fabric is needed for the lining. Is it written somewhere and I’m missing it? Thanks!

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ymossom

How do I calculate yardage if there is a repeat pattern in the material? Yvonne

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Loraine

Measure the pattern repeat and buy extra fabric, always buy more than the measured amount as they normally cut scew.

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Bridget

After reviewing the comment by “Kristine” on industry standards, I decided to take a look at my own professionally-made, high-end draperies. The hems are done exactly as described in the instructions above with a fold over of 3/4′ and then 3 1/4″. The only way that I can see any hemline is to hold them up to the light of the window and since they normally hang next to the floor, the likelihood of anyone seeing it is nil, unless, of course, someone crawls around your floor and then checks the hems. To each his own, but I’m sticking with the original instructions. They make sense and are attractive as is.

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Debbie

I am a beginner and really new at sewing. I got a machine for Christmas and my daughter-in-law asked me to make curtains for her. I think figuring out how to use my machine was harder than figuring out how to make curtains:) These directions were excellent and I started and finished my first lined panel tonight. I look at it and am amazed I made it! Thank you so much for the instructions on how to do these. I looked at several other videos and instructions and they were so confusing.

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Jolene

I am an amateur sewer who likes simple math and to sew things that are useful. This was the simplest tutorial to understand that I could find and it was partially due to the easy breakdowns of hem sizes. I find the professionally done comment and numbers to be interesting but totally irrelevant to my project because by using those seam allowances would cost me way more in fabric and time. Thanks for this easy to understand step by step!

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Kay Fenwick

I’ve made curtains for years
Always struggled with the hem – usually resorting to bondaweb in situ
This has been really helpful
Thank you

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Bridget Kimber

Brilliant tutorial

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susan collver

spent a fortune on material hope this helps

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Loraine

Hi, I would like to know If a blackout lining in heavy weight curtains also need weight tape as well as the curtain?

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Nancy

Thank you for these wonderful step by step directions! I just finished my curtains and because of your tutorial they look like a pro made them!

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Amanda

Thank you for these great instructions. I am getting ready to make some lined curtains for our camper to protect from sun and provide some darkness (hopefully so the grandkids will sleep a little longer allowing me that first cup of coffee!) I have sewed for years, have made many curtains but never lined. I am definitely saving these instructions on my favorite list.
I have the curtain material, now I guess I have will need to go back to fabric store to get some lining!! OK with me, fabric shopping is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks again.

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Cheryl

Excellent tutorial!!! I’m simple-minded, and thus was perfect for me! Measurements on all are exactly like the panels I purchased from Pottery Barn last year! Thanks so much!

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Sherry

thank you thank you! exactly what I needed. great directions and pictures.

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Liz

Any one have any tips on those perfect corners? Mine look hideous. I can’t get that neat diagonal fold. Great tutorial!

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Gwen Bentley

I am confused on the part where I stitch the lining to the curtain material. The picture doesn’t show the top and bottom of the fabric so I can’t tell. Do I stitch the lining 1″ from the top and 1″ from the bottom–actually in the middle? That would leave 1″ more curtain fabric at the top and also at the bottom. OR do I line up the top and sides, making the bottom of the curtain fabric 2″ longer than the lining? I am stuck so I hope there is a real person who can answer, please!

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Sharon

The bottom of the curtain fabric needs to be 2″ longer than the lining. Start with that and let the top fall where it may. It should line up closely if cut properly but can be adjusted when doing the header.

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CLB

I do like using 8″ (a 4″ fold and another fold up of 4″) to make the hem. This is not so much for me so it cannot be seen through, but so there is more weight at the bottom of the curtain, helping it to hang a little better. I’d say, to each his own. Much depends on where the hem will lie. If it is an “in-window” curtain, meaning the hem does have light passing through it at times, then the turn-over probably IS able to be seen. My personal opinion is that a curtain appears richer when you cannot see a turnover of fabric, but a solid area at the hem. Technically, if the fabric is thin, one could see the print, if one existed, on the sides of the curtain, before you would come to the lining. As I said, to each his own. Consider placement of the curtain, thickness of the fabric, cost you have to invest, and make the nicest curtains you can afford, especially if they are in a room used often and the hem is seen easily. The MOST important thing about sewing is being able to make a nice, straight stitch. Until you have mastered that, your hem isn’t really going to matter in the amount of fabric put into it, if the stitching is crooked and uneven. #### luck to all, and happy sewing!

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CLB

Make that above word “Good”!

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Barbara

I ordered fabric and lining for my drape project. I am not actually making drapes but more of a drape scarf over a wooden shelf type box. I ordered interlining mistakenly for the lining. Can I use that as my liner without causing problems? I so desperately need an answer to this as I can’t return the fabric now.

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Toni Hills

Why do we cut the lining fabric the same measurement as the curtain fabric and then cut away 2″ in the length and 4″ narrower for the width?

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Claire

I’m just about to make curtains for our static caravan and appreciate your instructions

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Valerie Carr

Thank you for these really clear, no fuss instructions!

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Angie

You cut away 2″ length because the lining is akways shorter than the face. That’s another reason why the curtain hem should be “4” up and 4″ down” – the thickness of the curtain fabric masking the disparity. Everything the writer above who describes her tweaking as to industry standards is absolutely correct. Equally, for a really top notch finish do not machine the sides of the lining and curtain together. Fold and pin back the curtain to the inside and then herringbone down the length of the sides. This allows movement. Finally turn and press under .5″ on the edge of the lining. Slip stitch the lining to that turning – half an inch toward the fold from the the raw ( now herringboned) edge. And of course, always handsew the hem. Perfect!

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Catherine

Really great, very clear instructions and the resulting curtains are the neatest I’ve ever made. Thank you.
I have one query though. Each of my curtains is an inch wider than I wanted. The instructions say to cut the main fabric 4″ wider than the final measurement. Then the seam width is 1/2″ on each side, which uses up an 1″ of the extra 4 inches then the return of the main fabric is an inch on each side, which uses up another 2 inches, but that leaves an inch extra in the total width. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks in advance to any one who responds.

Reply

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