Saturday, July 2, 2011

Simple curtain tutorial

Curtains are one of the easiest things to sew. They just require some simple measurements and straight seams. No turning, curving, clipping, basting, piecing, gathering, etc. So for those of you who would like to learn how to sew, but are intimidated by complex projects, curtains can be a great sewing project to start out with. And when you are done you will have a beautiful decoration for your home!

I have been making curtains for all the rooms in our new house, so I thought that now would be a good time to post a tutorial. Sewing tutorials have been very helpful for me in learning how to sew new things, so I want to return the favor and post my own. This is my very first photo tutorial, so I would really appreciate your feedback!

Tools and Materials:
- sewing machine
- iron
- enough fabric to make curtains (see below for how to measure)
- Matching thread

The first thing to do is measure the window you want to make curtains for. In this tutorial I am making curtains for our bathroom window, which is 23" wide and 45" tall. You will need to add several inches to the width and length of your window, because the curtains should extend out a little bit in each direction. Nothing looks worse than a curtain that is too short or too narrow.  I know, because I've done both. The total width of your curtains should be about a foot wider than the window itself, wider than that if you want them to be gathered and puffy. The length should be 2 or 3 inches longer than the height of the window. I am going to make 2 curtains, measuring 20" by 48".  Together they should cover the window nicely.

For each curtain you need to account for the hems and the casing for the curtain rod. Decide on the measurements of  your finished curtains, then add 1" to the bottom, 1" to each side, and 3" to the top. So your dimensions should be:

Length: length of curtain + 4"

Width"" width of curtain + 2"

1. I am starting out with a piece of fabric that is 54" long (1 1/2 yds), and is 44" wide. I am using the entire width of the fabric, and am cutting 2 inches off the length.

2. Then cut that in half along the 44" side, so you end up with 2 - 22" x 52" pieces (as per the diagram above)


3. Then fold over 1/2" on each side and press

4. Fold over another 1/2" and press again

5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 on the BOTTOM of the curtain, now you are ready to sew!

6. Sew a seam through the fabric you just turned under, 1/8" from the inside edge of the hem.

Be sure to backtack at the beginning and end of each seam you sew, to secure the stitches. Backtack means to sew a few stitches, then sew a few stitches in reverse, then continue sewing forward. I tried to demonstrate it for you in the picture below.

At this point your curtain should look like this:

 7. Now turn under 1/2" on the top of the curtain and press it under

8. Then turn under another 2 1/2" and press that. This will form the casing for your curtain rod.

 9. Now sew a seam 1/8" from the inside edge of the fabric you just turned under, the same way as before.

 10. You are finished! Hang them up and admire your beautiful curtains!

Just FYI - I made these curtains to go in the bathroom of our new house, however, I hung them on our bedroom window in our apartment to take this picture because: a) the bathroom window doesn't have a curtain rod yet, and b) I'm not at the new house right now. Our bedroom window is bigger than the bathroom window though, so these curtains are too short, and a little too narrow for our bedroom window, but they will be perfect in the bathroom of the new house. I will take a picture of them in the future when they are actually hanging where they are supposed to be :)

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