How to make curtains

Curtains are a quick and instant way to enhance your home. They can add a splash of colour or pattern to a room, tie in with a decorating scheme and provide privacy. You can save money and enjoy a hobby by sewing and making your own curtains. The simplest type is a plain, unlined and pleated curtain, which can be made from most fabrics and are fairly easy to make.

Decide where the curtain pole is to go and how long the curtains are to be. Measure from the pole to the point where you want the curtains to finish. Popular lengths are to just below the windowsill or to the floor. High street shops can offer some style ideas--Laura Ashley has an extensive curtain range and measurement information (

Add 20cm for hemming--10cm for the top heading and 10cm for the bottom hem.

Add "pattern repeat"--but only if the fabric has a pattern on it. You add pattern repeat so the curtains will match when closed. Measure the length of the pattern on the fabric; alternatively, the fabric shop can tell you what the pattern repeat measurement is.

Add the length from pole to the bottom of where the curtain is to end, hemming of 20cm and the pattern repeat amount (if a patterned fabric is used). This gives the final length for each fabric drop.

Decide how full you want the curtains. Choose from 1, 1 1/2 or 2 widths of fabric per curtain. These widths of fabric are often called "drops".

Cut the fabric into the required number of widths, or "drops". Move the widths up and down to match up the fabric pattern repeat.

Set the iron to the correct temperature for the fabric.

Press and pin the fabric widths together.

Press and pin the side edges down.

Press and pin the top heading and bottom hem.

Thread the sewing machine with a matching thread.

Sew the widths of fabric together.

Sew the side edges down.

Sew the top heading and bottom hem.

Measure and cut the curtain heading tape for each curtain. This should be the same length as each of the curtain tops. Sew the curtain heading tape onto the top of each curtain. Iron the finished curtains.

Loop curtain hooks through the curtain heading tape and pull to adjust the fullness of the curtains. Hook the curtain hooks onto the pole or curtain rings.

Things You'll Need

  • Curtain pole or rail
  • Curtain hooks
  • Curtain heading tape
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
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About the Author

Laura Maxwell has been writing lifestyle, e-commerce and educational web content since 1998. Her articles have appeared on the MSN UK shopping website, Orange UK lifestyle portal, "Muji UK" catalog and the London Business School AIM research website. Maxwell holds a Business & Finance Higher National Diploma (HND) from Gloucester University.