Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Curtains - A Tutorial

I made some new curtains for my studio. I had some nice curtains already, but got into a big sale in the fabric store. The fabric was $6/yard and the trim was 90% off! How could I resist?? So now I have some curtains to alternate when the mood strikes me.

I am not the best at sewing so when I say this was pretty easy to do, trust me--it was! First you'll want to determine how long to make the curtains. I hung mine about 1 foot over the top window trim and down to the floor, which required almost 6 yards. I used the full width of the fabric (which I think is 54") for each panel. So, I needed 3 yards x 2 (for 2 panels). I always get a little more than I think I'll need, just in case I make a bad cut or miscalculated somewhere. I can always make pillows with the scraps (which will be another tutorial!).

Sewing machine
Decorator fabric (6 yards, in my case)
Trim (6 yards, in my case)
Coordinating thread
Fabric scissors
Tape measure
Clip rings
Curtain rod to fit your window

The first thing I did was try to straighten up the raw ends of my fabric as best I could. I laid the fabric out on the floor and used the grooves in my hardwood floor to guide my cuts. Then I measured my window once again to determine how long to cut each panel. I used 2 1/2-inches for the hem on both the top and bottom, so I added 5 inches to my total. I used my tape measure to mark where to cut.

Then I turned under the selvage on the sides of my curtains and hemmed them on my sewing machine. I used about a 1 inch hem on the sides. You may notice my curtain magically changes color throughout this tutorial. The photos above were taken with a flash and the ones below using natural light. The taffeta fabric I used has a sheen to it, changing from gold to olive depending on how the light hits it.

I use a glass vase as a trash receptacle and also to weight the fabric down so it doesn't slide off the table while I'm trying to sew. I'm challenged enough as it is, I don't need to be fighting the fabric also!

Next I measured 2 1/2-inches for the top hem and marked it with a pin along the entire length of the curtain.

Then I folded the raw edge up to the pin.

Next I gingerly pulled the pin out and folded again on the line where the pin was. Doubling the hem over like this makes a nice clean hem. I've found if you don't tuck the raw edge under (and I'm sure there's a technical term for that...I just can't think what it is...) it may start to unravel in the laundry and then you'll have strings hanging out of your nice curtains. I did that once with a pair of pants. :(

I pinned where to make my final stitches on the hem, measuring to be sure I had it even. My final hem is about 1 1/4-inches.

So here's my finished top hem. Repeat the steps above to make the bottom hem.

I laid my curtain panels out in the floor, making sure they were oriented correctly and pinned the trim on the leading edge (the inside edge where your curtains will meet in the middle when closed). One panel will have the trim on the left edge, the other panel on the right edge. Then I sewed the trim on with a zig zag stitch. (This panel really did change color! It's actually my old curtain, the alternate.)

And now, you have some lovely curtains which will astound and amaze everyone! Just attach them with your clip rings and voila!

I had some guests for a party this past holiday season and one lady asked me who designed my curtains! Ha!!


BeadedTail said...

I'm sewing challenged so to me this looks very difficult but they turned out lovely!

storybeader said...

very luxurious curtains! I'm horrible with a sewing machine.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Curtains!!! I don't think I can do that!! LOL

UberArt and Emerson Bindery said...

Geesh you guys, did I make it seem that hard??! Believe me, I'm about as sewing challenged as they come!

Patti said...

Thanks for the detailed tips...perhaps this will inspire me to make the new ones for our den. Hope they turn out as beautiful as yours!

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