How to Sew Simple Custom Curtains

Pregnant woman looking out window with curtains
Julie Fisher / Getty Images
  • 01 of 06

    Calculations and Fabric

    Measurements you need to Sew Custom Curtains
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    Before you start you will need measuring tools. Punting is not an option when measuring for curtains. Rotary cutting tools are especially helpful in cutting perfect squares.

    • Start with a bare window and decide the finished length of the curtains (A)
    • The header is the amount of fabric which will be behind the top of the curtain (B)
    • The hem is fabric which is turned under at the bottom of the curtain (C). The hem on curtains plays a vital part in how a curtain hangs. 
    • Measure for the width of the curtain. A sheer fabric curtain will usually be double the width of the window. A heavy fabric may be one and a half times the width of the window. Most curtains are made using the width of the fabric as a panel. Extra fabric lengths will be needed if you are seaming fabric to create extra width.

    Add up your measurements and the amounts needed to enclose raw edges of the fabric to calculate the length of fabric you will need for each curtain panel. 

    • Desired finished length of the curtain (A)
    • Header (B)
    • 1/2 inch to turn under the top raw edge
    • Hem amount (C)
    • 1/2 inch to turn under the bottom raw edge (or the hem amount for a double hem on sheer fabric)

    If you plan on making more than one panel, calculate the amount of fabric you need to purchase by multiplying the number of panels times the total length for each panel. Your measurements are likely in inches. To order your fabric by the yard, convert the inches to yards by dividing by 36.

    Always purchase at least a quarter of a yard extra to allow for the fabric not being cut straight at the store or if you will need to match a print to have the panels match.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    The Side Hems

    Curtain Panel Side Hem Details
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    When you are making curtains, it is wise to repeat each step on each panel before moving on to the next step. This increases the likelihood that all of your panels will be identical and each panel will match and hang correctly.

    • Cut each panel and make sure that all of the panels are identical
    • Cut off the selvage of all the panels and keep the cut edges square
    • Press under 1/4 inch on the side edges. Use a sewing gauge on the ironing board to maintain the exact measurement as you press.
    • Press under 1 inch
    • Topstitch or machine-blind stitch the side hems in place

     

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Curtain Header

    Curtain Header
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    Next, you will want to make your curtain header. This is needed before you make the rod casing, which comes next.

    • Press under 1/2 inch on the top of the panel
    • Press under the amount you allowed for a header
    • Top stitch the header in place, stitching close to the edge
    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Curtain Rod Casing

    Rod Pocket details
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    A standard curtain rod requires an inch and a half casing opening. Sew a line of straight topstitching 1 1/2 inches from the stitching at the bottom of the header. This is an excellent time to set a seam guide so that all of the stitching is the same distance. The stitching needs to be uniform on each panel for the curtains to hang evenly.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    The Curtain Hem

    Sheer Curtain with a Double Hem
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    Most curtains rely on the weight of the hem to hang properly. The lighter weight the curtain fabric is, the more hem you will need. A sheer fabric may need a 5-inch hem or a hem that is doubled.

    • Press under 1/2 inch on the bottom of the curtain
    • Press under the amount you allowed for a hem, keeping the ends aligned
    • Machine blind stitch or topstitch the hem in place. The hem (pictured) is a double hem on a sheer fabric curtain. To achieve this type of hem, replace the second 1/2 inch with the amount of hem desired before you cut the fabric.
    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Double Ended Door Window Curtain

    Measuring for a Door Window Diagram
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    A curtain on a door needs to be held in place to prevent it from being caught in the door. The only difference is that you will be sewing a header on both the top and bottom of the curtain.

    Add up your measurements and the amounts needed to enclose the raw edges of the fabric.  Calculate the length of fabric you will need by adding the following measurements for each curtain panel.

    • Desired finished length of the curtain (A)
    • Header (B)
    • 1/2 inch to turn under top raw edge
    • Header (B)
    • 1/2 inch to turn under the bottom raw edge