DIY

How to Sew Curtains

The right curtains can have a big impact on the look and feel of a room. Sew curtains in any color, pattern, or size by following the steps ahead.
Jasmine Harding Avatar
Sewing machine presser foot on gray fabric
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Curtains do more than just block light and offer privacy. A stylish window covering can bring color, texture, and character to a living space. Learning how to sew curtains is a rewarding project for sewers at all levels. For beginners, it’s a good way to practice sewing skills, and for seasoned crafters, it’s an opportunity to design a one-of-a-kind curtain.

With a sewing machine and a few supplies, you can make easy-to-sew curtains with a lining and a rod pocket by following this guide’s steps for how to sew a curtain.

Tools & Materials

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Project Overview

Working Time: 1 to 3 hours
Total Time: 1 to 3 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $20 and up

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Before sewing curtains, ideally, the curtain rod should already be installed on the wall. Having the rod in place makes it easy to determine the exact curtain dimensions, an important first step when making a DIY curtain.

There is no one “right” height to hang curtains, and placement boils down to personal taste. However, as a general guide, placing the rod around 4 to 6 inches above the window is a standard recommendation.

Curtain length also comes down to personal preference. Curtains that almost reach the floor are a popular choice, but designs can range from practical short curtains that just touch the windowsill, to extra long curtains that “puddle” luxuriously on the floor.

RELATED: The 16 Best Places to Buy Curtains

STEP 1: Measure and calculate the width and length of the intended curtain. 

To find the ideal curtain width, start with measuring from bracket to bracket on the curtain rod. To create a draped look, the total curtain width should be 1.5 to 2 times the width between the curtain rod brackets.

Take the initial measurement from bracket to bracket, multiply this number by 1.5 or 2 (depending on the intended draped look), and add 2 inches for the hem. If creating two curtain panels, divide the multiplied measurement by 2 and add 2 inches to each panel width.

For the length, measure from the curtain rod to the intended finished curtain length. Add 12 inches to this measurement to account for hemming and creating the rod pocket.

STEP 2: Measure and cut the curtain and lining fabric.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Lay the curtain fabric flat and use the measuring tape and fabric marking pencil to measure and mark where to cut. Use fabric scissors to cut the fabric to the appropriate size. Alternatively, use a rotary cutter and cutting mat for this step.

Follow the same steps to measure and cut the lining fabric, minus 7 inches from the length measurement. The lining fabric does not need as much hem allowance as the curtain fabric.

STEP 3: Fold and press the bottom hem of the curtain fabric.

Place the curtain fabric right side down on the ironing board. Take the bottom edge of the curtain fabric, fold it up 4 inches, and use the iron to make a crease along the width of the fabric. If needed, use a sewing gauge to ensure the bottom edge is straight. Fold the fabric up again, another 4 inches, and use the iron to make another crease.

This process creates a double folded hem, or double hem, which both prevents the fabric edges from fraying and offers a polished finished look. Ironing is sometimes enough to keep the hem in place for sewing, but if not, use sewing pins to hold it in place.

STEP 4: Fold and press the bottom hem of the lining fabric and sew both panels.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Place the lining fabric right side down on the ironing board. Fold up the bottom edge 2 inches and iron. Fold up the bottom edge another 2 inches, and iron again. Pin in place, if needed.

Using a sewing machine, sew along the entire length of the double hem on the curtain fabric (created in Step 3). Repeat this step on the newly created hem of the lining fabric as well. Crafters without a sewing machine can sew by hand—but this process will take much longer.

STEP 5: Attach the lining fabric to the curtain fabric.

In a space large enough, lay the curtain fabric right side down. Place the lining fabric on top of the curtain fabric, right side up, aligning the top edges of each panel. The wrong sides of the fabric should be facing each other. The bottom edge of the lining fabric should sit around 1 inch higher from the bottom edge of the curtain fabric.

Smooth the fabric panels out and pin them together with sewing pins. Sew the curtain fabric and lining fabric together along each side: top, both sides, and bottom.

STEP 6: Fold, press, and sew the side hems and top rod pocket. 

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Lay the curtain right side down on the ironing board. Take one side edge of the curtain and fold it up 1 inch, iron the fold to create a crease. Fold the fabric up again another inch and iron the fold to crease again. Pin the double hem into place, if needed. Repeat this step on the opposite side, folding, pressing, and pinning the double hem.

Sew along the length of the double hem on each side.

STEP 7: Fold, press, and sew the top rod pocket and hang the curtains. 

Lay the curtain right side down on the ironing board. Take the top edge of the curtain and fold it up 2 inches, ironing along the fold to create a crease. Fold the fabric up again another 2 inches and iron along the fold to create the double hem. Once again, pin if needed. Sew along the length of the double hem, around a 1/4 of an inch from the interior edge of the hem.

Once sewn, this double hem will create a rod pocket to feed the curtain rod through. Insert the curtain rod through the rod pocket and hang the curtains.

Final Thoughts

how to sew curtains - hanging curtain on curtain rod
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Armed with a sewing machine and a few sewing supplies, it’s fairly simple to turn dreamy fabrics into eye-catching window curtains. Learning how to make curtains is a task even most beginners can tackle, so it’s a worthwhile project for crafters still learning how to use a sewing machine or for those in beginner online sewing classes.

RELATED: Solved! How High to Hang Curtains