How to Make Austrian Curtains

Austrian curtains are a type of window treatment that looks like a curtain but hangs like a blind. The curtain typically fits inside the window casing and has at least three soft, waterfall-like drapes. The bottom and side edges of the curtain are trimmed with 3-inch frills while the drape has considerable fullness. Thin fabrics should be used when making the Austrian curtain and the curtain should be lined for best light control.

Measure the width of the window inside the window casing. Cut a 1- by 1-inch wood batten to this width. Screw the wood batten into the top underside wood casing.

Measure hook and loop tape to the width of the batten. Cut the tape and press the sticky side of the hook to the front top side of the batten (facing the room). Put the rest of the tape aside for later.

Cut the finish fabric across the width of the fabric in 4-inch strips. You need four times the length of the window and twice the width. Sew the strips together into one long strip. Double hem one edge with 1/4-inch hem. Sew two basting stitches along the unfinished side approximately 1/2 inch apart. Pull on the basting stitches and gather the fabric to half its former length.

Measure the width of your batten and add 2 inches. Measure the length of your window from the top of your batten to the windowsill and add 20 inches for fullness. Cut your finished fabric and lining fabric to these dimensions.

Place your finish fabric face up on a large table. Start 1 inch from the top and pin your frill face-side down so the hemmed edge is to the inside of the fabric. The raw edge of the finished fabric should line up with the raw (gathered edge) of the frill. Pin the frill down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, finishing 1 inch from the top. Ease your corners and even out your gathers.

Position your liner face-side down and align the edges. Sew your liner, frill and finished fabric together with a seam between the gathered (basting) stitches on the frill and 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric. Sew both sides and the bottom. Turn the fabric right-side out. Remove the gathering stitches and iron lightly.

Cut four identical pieces of Austrian blind tape that are 1/2 inch longer than the length of the blind. The bottom loop on the tape should be 2 inches from the end of the tape. Turn 1/2 inch of the bottom of the blind tape under (for neatness) and pin the blind tape vertically next to the frill seam on each side of the curtain. Sew the blind tape into place.

Measure the distance between the two side tapes and divide by three. Draw two vertical, equidistant pencil lines down the liner from the top to the bottom of the shade. Pin your two remaining blind tapes to the vertical lines. Remember to fold under the bottom 1/2 inch. All of your loops should line up horizontally across the curtain. Sew your Austrian blind tape in place.

Fold the top fabric over by 1 inch and iron. Cut header tape the width of the curtain plus 2 inches. Pin the header tape to the back (liner) side of the fabric. Knot each header tape cord on the right side of the top. Free each header tape cord on the left side of the top. Tuck each header under by 1 inch for neatness, making sure the cords are free on the left side. Sew the header to the fabric. Sew a seam above and below each cord and do not cross over the cords.

Pull on the left side cords (free ones) until the header shrinks by 50 per cent and is the same width as the batten (less the frill). Use a sliding loop on your cords and tuck the ends into a cord tidy bag. Pin the bag out of the way on the back side of the blind. Pin the loop side of your hook and loop tape across the top of the header tape. Sew the hook and loop in place without crossing the cords as you sew.

Cut four pieces of nylon cord that are twice the full length of the curtain plus the width. Knot each cord in the bottom most loop (with the shade face down on the table). Thread the cord up vertically through each loop, bottom to top, until you reach the top of the curtain. Repeat this for each cord.

Press the hook and loop tapes together to hang the curtain. Lift the curtain and mark the batten immediately behind where each cord emerges from the last loop. Screw a screw-eye into the batten at each mark plus an extra screw-eye to the side where you want to pull on the cords.

Thread each cord through the screw-eye directly above it. Thread each cord through each screw-eye moving toward the extra screw-eye. Thread each cord through the extra screw-eye. Gather your cords. With the curtain fully down place a cord reducer on the cords about 8 inches below the extra screw-eye. A cord reducer is a small plastic device that takes many cords and turns them into one cord.

Place an acorn on the cord and knot the cord. An acorn is a decorative plastic cup that hides the knot and makes the cord easier to pull.

Mount a cleat to the side of the window two-thirds down. A cleat is a two-hook metal plate that screws to the window trim or wall. You use the cleat by wrapping the cord around the hooks to hold the curtain at your desired height.


Show your friends and family how to adjust the curtain by using the cord instead of trying to pull on the curtain.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 1- by 1-inch wood batten
  • Table saw
  • Hook and loop tape
  • Fabric
  • Fabric liner
  • Scissors
  • Austrian blind tape
  • Cord tidy bag
  • Header tape
  • Screw eyes
  • Cord Reducer
  • Acorn
  • Cleat
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.