How To Make Drapes and Curtains

Learn About Drapery Fabric and Sewing Curtains

Opening window curtain

Drapes and window covers can take a bland room and make it spectacular. With a little fabric and creativity you can create curtains and drapes that make your room sophisticated or funky, whatever suits the room. Follow these instructions for how to make them at home.

Tape measure
Drape fabric
Liner fabric
Drapery hardware including rod
Sewing machine and thread

  • Measure the window. Use your tape measure to measure the width and height of the window. If you already have a drapery rod that you will use, measure that as well since it is wider than the window. Remember that these measurements do not include the extra allowances for the hem, rod pocket at the top or the side seams. If you want drapes and curtains that are full and billowy then you will need to add extra fabric into your calculations.
  • Decide how long the drapes should be. Drapes can hang to the floor, gather on the floor or hang to just below the window. The choice is yours. Once you decide how you want your window curtains to look, measure that length.
  • Purchase the fabric. When purchasing fabric it is best to err on the side of caution and order more than you think you will need. In most cases you will want the double the length and double to triple the width. This allows for all seams, some billowing for the width and for any errors you may have made in measurement.
  • Wash the fabric. Wash and dry the fabric so that if it is going to shrink it does so before you start cutting. Iron the fabric to create a smooth surface.
  • Measure and mark the panels. If you are making window draperies that have two identical panels, then the best way is to fold the fabric in half then start to measure and mark where your cuts should be. Again, you don’t want drapes that fit tight over the window so for width you should be measuring the hem on each side, not the actual face of the panel. For the length you will want to be more precise. Create marks where to fold the rod pocket at the top. If you are using extra thick hardware or rods be sure to check the width. Then mark the bottom hem for how it shall hang. Double-check your measurements several times when it comes to length. You don’t want to have to redo the hem.
  • Separate the panels. Once everything is marked on both sides, cut the fabric to separate the two panels.
  • Sew the liner and side hems. When sewing curtains, it is often easier to place the liner on the back of the fabric and sew the liner to it at the same time you sew the hems. This makes fewer visible seam lines. Fold the fabric over the liner at the hem width then sew the hem.
  • Sew the rod pocket and bottom hem. Sew along the seams you marked earlier. Make sure that the seams top and bottom overlap the liner fabric so that it is sewed securely and is hidden by the drapery fabric.
  • Thread the drapes on the rod, then hang in place. Once the drapes are sewn, they are ready to hang. Slide the rod through the rod pocket of both panels then hang the rod. Arrange the panels to the look you desire.

Making curtains and draperies is easy as long as you spend the extra time to verify your measurements and decide on the look you want before you get started with the cutting and sewing. Follow these instructions and you can learn how to make curtains and simple drapes to add flair to any room in your house.


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