How to Determine How Much Fabric for Grommet Curtains

Written by louise harding
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Covering windows is an ancient tradition. According to the Natural Curtain Company, "somewhere in a Neanderthal cave, the lady of the house . . . used animal hide to cover open portals of light." Somewhere in that evolving curtain time line was the invention of grommet curtains. Grommet curtains are a stylish alternative to more complicated curtain styles. Simple grommets, "holes," are slipped over a rod, removing the necessity of hooks, rings, valances and other curtain accessories. This simplicity lends itself well to home sewing. Determining curtain fabric yardage for sewing grommet curtains is a calculation that when memorised will serve all future grommet curtain projects.

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Paper
  • Pen

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  1. 1

    Measure the width of the window. Measure the length of the window.

  2. 2

    Determine the adjusted measurements necessary for sewing. These allow for hems, seams and the grommet panel.

    Multiply the actual width of the window measurement by 1.5. This is the adjusted width of a single panel. Adjusting the width measurement allows for the panel folds and the side hems.

    Add 4 inches to the length of the window measurement to get the adjusted length of a single panel. The bottom hem of the curtain and the grommet hem/panel is allowed for in adjusting the length measurement.

  3. 3

    Determine the length yardage by dividing the adjusted length measurement by 36 inches. For example: a panel needing 84 inches of adjusted curtain length would require 3 yards of fabric for the length. There will be leftover fabric in nearly every calculation. Round up and buy more fabric unless the fabric store will cut an exact measure for you.

  4. 4

    Determine the width yardage by dividing the adjusted width measurement by 44 inches (the width of most fabric yardage). For example, a panel needing 54 inches of width would require two sections of 44-inch-wide fabric (2 yards) to be sewn and trimmed to the correct measurements.

  5. 5

    Combine the measurements. For example: one grommet curtain panel for a window measuring 54 inches wide by 84 inches long would require width needed plus length needed of fabric yardage, or approximately 6 yards of fabric per panel: two 44-inch-wide by 108-inch-long pieces of fabric sewn together down the centre vertically (there will be a 34-inch-wide strip trimmed from the fabric width and a 24-inch strip trimmed from the fabric length to cut the curtain panel to the 54-inch-wide by 84-inch-length needed).

  6. 6

    Determine the yardage of fabric required with the combined measurements from step 6. A standard yard of fabric measures 44 inches wide by 36 inches long. Unless the sewer is using very wide fabric (such as a flat bed sheet) or the window is very narrow, more than one piece of fabric will need to be sewn together in order to achieve the necessary width for the panel.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid the hassle of sewing two sections of fabric together and simply the math when measuring for curtains by using new flat bed sheets for fabric. The following are approximate measurements for how much fabric a flat sheet yields: Twin: 5 1/4 yards; Full: 6 1/2 yards; Queen: 7 1/2 yards; and King: 9 1/8 yards.

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