Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY Curtains #2

One of my most popular posts is my first curtain tutorial.  I am guessing the reason for this is people want custom curtains but custom curtains are so dang expensive.

My house has HUGE windows.  Like, I need over 84" long curtains, huge.  Like, I would have to special order them, huge.  Like, it would cost $50 per panel for boring curtains, huge. That is why I make my own curtains. I can use any fabric and make them any size AND it is easy.  Here is how I made the curtains for my smallest persons room.  I will give you my specific measurements, but this is more about the technique I use so you can come up with your own measurements to fit your particular window.

Banded Curtain Panels
First, you need to decide on the dimensions of your curtain.  I measure over my window starting where I want the top of the curtain to be and measuring down to where I want the bottom to be.  This is your finished length.  If you already have a curtain rod up, hook the end of the tape measure on the rod when measuring.  This will give you the length to the top of the rod pocket.
For the width, I often use the entire width of the fabric.  It makes life easier.  If this is not an option (like if you have a freakishly narrow window) a safe estimate is to measure the width and multiply it by 2.  This is the TOTAL amount of fabric you will need to cover the window and still have a good amount of gathering at the top.  If you are making two panels, that means EACH panel should be about the width of the window.
**My finished curtain measurements are: length-86" and width- 50"**
Now, it is time to calculate cutting measurements.  I am a visual person, so I usually draw a picture.  It doesn't have to be pretty, it just helps me remember to add in all my seam allowances.  Here is what my drawing for this project looked like:
See what I mean about not being pretty?  And yes, that is the back of an envelope.  And yes, that is a "to-do" list above it.  I decided to make my curtains using bands of three different fabrics.  On the left of the rectangular-ish curtain, you can see the length I want each finished band.  The top will be 4'2" (or 50"), the middle band will be 1' (12") and the bottom will be 2' (24").  To the right, you can see where I added in seam allowances, the bottom hem and the top hem which will include the extra 2" at the top for a ruffle (4" extra total for the front AND back of this ruffle) and the extra 2" to make the rod pocket on the back (This gives you a finished 1-1/2" pocket and 1/2" seam allowance below it.  If your rod is bigger, simply add more to this measurement.).  To break it down:
Top panel will be cut 56" long (50" to the top of the rod pocket+2" above pocket on front (ruffle)+2" above pocket on back (ruffle)+2" for rod pocket which includes the pocket (1-1/2") and the seam allowance on the bottom to make it (1/2"))
Middle panel will be cut 13" long (12" finished size+1/2" top seam allowance+1/2" bottom seam allowance)
Bottom panel will be cut 27" long (24" finished size+1/2 " top seam allowance+2-1/2" bottom hem)
**I just used the width of my fabric so I have no width measurements.  If you do, be sure to add a seam allowance for the side hems.
Now it is time to cut and assemble.  Cut out all your parts using the measurements you came up with.
Stitch the bands together and finish all your edges.  I have a serger, so I simply run my curtains through starting with the band seam allowances, then the sides and last the top and bottom.  If you do not have a serger, you can use pinking shears on all the raw edges.
This is one panel before I trimmed it down and finished the edges.  My yellow chevron fabric was not as wide as the others, so I simply butted it up to one side and trimmed off the extra after I stitched them together.
Now it is time to hem the sides.  I pressed 5/8" hem, up each side to the back.  Since I finished my edges with my serger, I did not fold any under.  I stitched up each side using a 1/2" seam allowance.
Next, I pressed under the 2-1/2" bottom hem and stitched across the top of the hem.
Last is the top.  I pressed under the 4" at the top edge that includes the 2" for the making of the rod pocket and the 2" for the back of the decorative ruffle at the top.  Stitch 2"down making that ruffle as well as the top of the rod pocket.  Then stitch another row 1-1/2" below that line of stitching, making the bottom of the rod pocket.  If you did everything right, you will have 1/2" of seam allowance under the rod pocket.
Now hang and enjoy knowing you saved some serious $$$$$$!
***Like my fabric?  You can find it and lots more here.***
***Want to see more DIY curtains?  Check out another of my tutorials here.***


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