How to cut curtains

Updated November 22, 2016

Making custom curtains for your own home or someone else's doesn't have to be complicated. With a few simple steps, you can be cutting fabric and preparing it to be sewn. Just be sure to take your time selecting fabrics so you choose a pattern that goes well with the furniture of the room to help increase the beauty of the room and make guests feel welcomed. As with any sewing project, you'll always want to measure twice for your curtains and cut once.

Measure the window frame (or frames) you are planning on making curtains for to determine the length from the top of the window frame to the window sill, and the width between the brackets of your curtain rod.

Write down the length and width of the window. Determine how far down the window you want your curtains to come in relation to the window. For long curtains that reach the floor, you'll need to remeasure and write that length down.

Multiply the width of your window by 2 1/2 to find the full width of the curtains that will create many pleats when the curtains are hung. Divide your answer by two to determine how wide each curtain should be for a simple two-curtain design.

Add 10 cm (4 inches) to your curtain length, plus two times the width of your curtain rod. This should allow for a 2.5 cm (1 inch) hem on three edges of the curtain and enough room for making a rod pocket along the top.

Spread your fabric out on a flat surface, such as the floor, and use your tape measure to measure the width and length dimensions from your paper onto the fabric. Mark a dotted line along the side of your tape measure while it is extended over the fabric as you measure all four sides.

Double-check your dotted lines to make sure that they are straight and easy to see. Cut out your fabric following the dotted lines to give you the unfinished curtain panel to sew and work with.


If you are decorating a window for the first time where no existing curtain rod is already in place, decide if you want the brackets mounted on the inside or outside of the window frame and measure that width.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Fabric chalk or marker
  • Scissors
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