How to make outdoor curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

Outdoor curtains are hung around porches and gazebos for privacy and protection from the weather. Outdoor curtains can be sewn from waterproof fabrics such as nylon, polyester and softer vinyls. Fabric stores offer a selection of outdoor fabrics intended for exterior cushions and curtains. Make no-sew outdoor curtains from 16-30 gauge, thicker vinyl for a fast outdoor curtain alternative. Thicker vinyl can be purchased in colours, prints or completely transparent off the bolt at fabric stores and usually in wider widths than woven fabrics. According to Denver Fabrics, vinyl fabric is so durable that it can outlast even leather.

Measure the length of the window or door for which you are making the curtains. Measure the width of the window or door and multiply this measurement by 2 for the modified width.

Cut two pieces of vinyl to the length and modified width measurements from Step 1. Each piece of vinyl is for a single panel. A window traditionally contains two curtain panels, one on each side, for easier opening and closing.

Measure down 2 inches from the top edge and 2 inches in from the outside top left edge of the vinyl. Make a mark with a marker. Punch a hole through the vinyl with a hole punch over the ink mark.

Measure toward the right, 3 inches from the first hole. Continue punching a hole every 3 inches until you get near the right edge. Repeat for the other vinyl curtain panel.

Insert curtain rings or shower rings through the holes and hang the curtains. According to Denver Fabrics, vinyl fabric is well suited for outdoor use because of its ease of maintenance. Vinyl can be washed with liquid dish detergent and sprayed down with a hose.

Measure the length of the window or door for which you are making the outdoor curtains. Add 4 inches to this measurement for the modified length.

Measure the width of the window or door and multiply this measurement by three for the modified width. This extra fabric is for the necessary width allowance.

Cut a piece of waterproof fabric according to the modified length and the modified width for each curtain panel you wish to make. According to Denver Fabrics, softer vinyls or fleece-backed vinyls can be sewn like regular fabric.

Fold the four edges of each rectangle curtain panel over 1 inch against the wrong side of the fabric. Fold the edges over 1 inch again to form a hem without any ragged fabric edges. Pin the edges together.

Sew the hems using nylon thread, a straight stitch and a 1-inch seam allowance along the pinned edges with the sewing machine. Remove pins.

Clip on a cafe curtain ring 1 inch down from the top edge and 1 inch in from the left top edge. Space the clip-on cafe curtain rings every 3 inches from the first affixed ring. Clip-on cafe curtain rings are rings with clips that, when pinched, attach to the fabric curtain edge.


Cafe curtains are a style of curtains that have no rod pocket and cover half a window. Outdoor curtains are not cafe curtains, but the flat, pocket-less top edge uses clip-on cafe curtain rings for ease of construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Vinyl
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Hole punch
  • Curtain or shower rings
  • Waterproof fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Nylon thread
  • Clip-on cafe curtain rings
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.