How to insulate curtains & window coverings

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to insulate curtains & window coverings
Adding lining to curtains increases their insulation value. (Kim Carson/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Many ready-made curtains are sold without linings both to keep the curtain price down and to create the sheer look that many buyers want. The result is thin fabric with minimal insulation properties. To increase the insulation values of curtains, shades and valances, the fabric needs to be lined. The lining fabric or material should also be chosen for its insulation values.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Curtains
  • Work table
  • Measuring tape
  • Washing machine
  • Iron
  • White sheets
  • Fleece
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing needle
  • Fabric pencil
  • Thread
  • Fabric adhesive

Show MoreHide


    Insulate an Existing Curtain

  1. 1

    Place your curtain face down on the work table. You will be retrofitting a lining to the curtain. This will reduce your curtain width by 1-1/2 inches. Your finished length will remain the same. Measure the width of your curtain. Measure the height and add 4 inches.

  2. 2

    Pre-wash all of your lining fabrics to pre-shrink them. Iron to remove any wrinkles. Cut two pieces out of a white flat sheet material, using the dimensions you measured in step 1. (White sheets are often less expensive than similar material at the fabric store.) Cut another piece of the same size from flannel, micro fleece or fleece. These fabrics have good loft or insulation properties. You can repurpose old flannel sheets and fleece blankets to reduce costs.

  3. 3

    Place one sheet face-side down and your lining (insulated) fabric face-side down. Sew these fabrics together with a 1/2-inch seam around all sides. Make sure the fabrics stay flat as you sew them. Sew diagonally from the corners. Measure and divide the length into quarters and sew horizontal lines at your marks. Measure and divide the width into quarters and sew vertical lines at your marks. This will create a simple quilted effect.

  4. 4

    Place your second sheet face up and your quilted piece sheet-side down. Sew the top and both sides using a 1/2-inch seam. Clip your corners and turn the lining right side out. Iron your seams.

  5. 5

    Position your curtain face-side down. Place your lining with the smooth sheet side up and the raw edge at the top. Center your lining in the width of the curtain. The seamed bottom edge of the lining should be 1-1/2 inches above the curtain hem. Turn the top raw edge of the liner under, leaving 1/4 inch of the curtain visible. Pin the liner through the curtain. Fold the side of the curtain over the liner and pin the curtain to the liner (do not pin all the way through to the front of the curtain). Repeat for both sides.

  6. 6

    Machine sew across the top of the lining 1/2 inch from the top curtain edge and 2 inches from the top curtain edge. Hand sew down the sides of the curtain attaching the finished edge of the curtain to the lining. Do not sew across the bottom of the curtain lining.

    Insulate an Existing Shade

  1. 1

    Turn the shade facedown on the work table. You will see cords that run between rings that are attached to evenly spaced horizontal dowels. To retrofit the shade you need to add insulated panels under the cords and between the dowels.

  2. 2

    Measure the width of the shade. Measure the distance between the top of the shade and the top dowel. Cut white sheeting and flannel, fleece or micro fleece.

  3. 3

    Place the sheet and the insulating fabric face-sides together and sew the two long sides and one short side using a 1/2-inch seam. Turn the fabric right side out. Turn the raw edges of your remaining short side to the inside and top stitch. Iron your seams. Sew quilting stitches across your fabric using any quilting pattern you like.

  4. 4

    Slide the panel under the shade cords to check your fit. Remove the panel. Spray the insulating side of the panel with fabric adhesive. Put it back in position under the cords and between the dowel and the top and press the panel to the back of your shade fabric. Repeat this with all of your spaces between the dowels. Iron your finished shade to heat bond the adhesive and rehang your shade.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider adding a box-type pelmet or cornice window treatment above your window. These are used to circulate air from the window to prevent heat loss or heat gain.

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