Curtains for My New Home – A DIY Curtain Tutorial

A major reason that my blogging mojo was lacking over the summer was that my husband and I moved into a new home. It was a short move only a couple miles away and in the same town, but a move none the less. We moved into a much larger home closer to work and can’t be happier, but organizing all our stuff in the new place took more energy and time than I expected. One of the things that I deemed highly important and necessary in my first home as a married woman was handmade curtains. Although a simple project they are not quick and I spent many hours pressing and sewing straight lines while watching Scandal. My time was rewarded as I am very happy with my curtains and am known to randomly exclaim “Those curtains are so pretty!” Fun times indeed. I am here today to show off my lovely curtains and present my first tutorial.

kitchen-curtain-side-view

Partial view from the large window in my kitchen.

So, taking photos of curtains is hard. I wanted to capture them in their natural habitat, but that means photographing them in dark rooms under orange light. I have tried to edit them as best as possible, but just remember, photographing curtains is hard.

I wanted the kitchen curtains in my 1935 farmhouse style home to be traditional with a modern twist. I love how these turned out, especially when the Sun is shining through them. I bought the fabric for my kitchen curtains at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley. I found some of the same Michael Miller fabric here.

Kitchen-curtains-close-up

kitchen-curtains

One of those not so great pictures I was talking about. I thought that a full view shot was necessary, but had a hard time getting it to look good. 

record-curtains

The curtains in our living room by my husbands old school DJ setup. Curtains with records where a must and this color seems so neutral in our living room. I made them using a canvas ducking which is heavier than quilting cotton, but lighter than most duckings I have come across. I bought this record fabric here.

Record

I had to include this picture. The record is one of my faves. It is “Tigerface” by Marco Benevento.

Record-curtains-full-view

These curtains where the largest taking up almost a whole wall. The fabric is 54 inches wide so I only used three curtains for the double window. These curtains are close to 3 yards long rather than the 2 yard length of my other curtains.

craft-room-curtain-close-up-2

This picture showcases the tops of my curtains which extend 2 inches above the curtain rod.

The curtains in my craft room. This fabric took me the longest to pick and then I just bought it on a whim at my local craft store. I love it and am super happy with my choice.

craft-room-curtain-close-up

The last pair of curtains I made where for the bedroom. I wanted some that where nice and dark so that I could sleep in to a reasonable hour, but not black out curtains because I knew I would never wake up. This dark navy Alexander Henry (my fave) quilting cotton fit the bill nicely. I love the way that the castellations shine brightly when the morning Sun hits the curtains. Just lovely.

constellation-curtains

A close up is all I could manage as the bedroom is the darkest room in the house.

The Tutorial

It is very simple to make these curtains and all measurements here can be tweaked to fit your dimensions and the amount of fabric available.

Materials:

2 yards of 45 inch fabric for each curtain (so a window with 2 curtains uses 4 yards of fabric). This is the rough estimate that I used, but I didn’t mind that my curtains where all different lengths, seeing as how each window is in a different room. If you would like to get more precise measure from the curtain rod down to the spot where you want the curtain to end. Most home decor blogs recommend curtains end 6 inches from the floor. Then add 9 inches for top and bottom hems.

One packet of double fold bias tape

A clear plastic ruler

Tailor’s Chalk or a fabric pen with disappearing ink.

Thread to match fabric

1. Prepare your supplies. Pretreat and iron your fabric. Cut your bias tape into 3.5 inch strips. You will need roughly 10 strips and will have some bias tape leftover. Overlock or zigzag stitch one end of each strip and press it under about 1/4 inch.

2. Fold selvages of fabric over one inch and use a 5/8 in seam allowance. I left my selvages on out of laziness and am happy with the results. If you would like to cut of your selvages please do so and then, turn the edge of the fabric under 1/2 inch. Press. Turn the fabric under one inch and stitch using 5/8 in seam allowance.

3. For the most professional hem turn the hem under 1 inch and press. Turn it under another 5 inches, press, and stitch with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. My hem lengths vary greatly depending on how close I wanted the curtain to the floor. Proper measuring would have allowed me to stick to a single hem length, but who has time for that? My smallest hem is turned under 1/2 inches and then again 2 inches. I give you permission to lay with hem lengths at will, but the heavier (larger the hem) the nicer the drape of the curtain.

curtain-guts

A picture of the “guts” of my curtains to help you along. You can still see where I marked the line the tabs match up with in blue chalk. The hem above the tabs will stand above the curtain rod. 

4. Time to finish the top. Fold the top edge down 1 inch and press. Fold it down another 2 inches and press. Don’t sew it yet though, you overachiever. Just hang on one second.

5. Use chalk or disappearing ink to mark 2.5 inches from the fold line across the width of the fabric. This line could be slightly larger if the curtains will be hanging from an exceptionally fat curtain rod.

6. Place a tab (the bias tape strips) on either end of the curtain, lining the finished and pressed edge up with the line you just marked and sliding the raw edge under the folded top hem. Evenly space tabs the width of the curtain, pinning them in place at the blue line. Don’t worry if they are a little crooked. You can adjust them as you sew.

7. Sew about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the top hem catching and straitening each tab as you go. Press.

8. Once you’ve sewn the top hem of the curtain down go back and sew the bottom of each tab in place. You can do one long line, but I chose to sew each tab individually and feel like the stitching blends in a bit more. I also backstitched over my tabs, but I tend to err on the side of caution (some people call it being paranoid) and am not really sure if that was necessary.

9. Give your curtain a good press before hanging it.

I hope you make some really successful curtains and would love to see them on your blog if you link in the comments below. Please feel free to ask any questions as well and I will do my best to answer.

Don’t worry next week I will be back with my regularly scheduled parade of Colette Patterns.

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