I love upcycling clothes, making alterations and sewing for the home. I love finding quick and easy projects that reward me right away because when I'm not sewing, I'm doing yoga. With this small amount of time in mind, I made some curtains. What!? You may be thinking about such a big project, and it seems technical. Don't be discouraged, it was really easy, and the finish (I think) is professional!
So, you must be wondering why I decided to make curtains? Well, I just moved to the countryside in France and bought a very old house with MASSIVE windows, which are too beautiful to replace, but too drafty to live with! Standard curtains were neither long nor wide enough, and curtains are very expensive to buy, especially custom ones. So I thought to myself, how hard can this be…??
Here I will explain how I made my curtains, using plastic eyelets and I will tell you the little mistakes I made/almost made so you can do a better job than me. I've uploaded some photos for you so it's easy to follow along with the project. I think one of the best things about making your own is the huge selection of fabrics you have. This means you can choose exactly what you want! I had two ideas in mind… Luxury, for our bedroom, to accompany my Louis XVI bed, and thermal fabric for the rest of the house, to help us stay warm. I love my bed so much, I found it in a French antique store for 100 dollars, and it is in great condition…
If you are a pro at making curtains, but you are new to this field carnationscheck out my tips on grommets, at number 10, that's where I had to correct some mistakes!!
Ready to see how I did?! Here we go…
- I started by measuring my windows, if you're doing your own, don't forget…
- Add how far above the window the curtain rod will be.
- Plan how long you want the curtains to be up: if you want them to keep you warm, they'll need to touch the floor.
- Width for sufficient overlap on the sides.
- Length and width for the seams! I allowed about 8-10cm on each side for a simple seam and an equal top and bottom, 15cm, so they look balanced.
- Extra width to allow curtains to fold freely when closed. They will look funny if they pull too hard. I used the entire width of the fabric roll per curtain. Be flexible, look at the fabric you want to buy and see how it can work for you, so you get the most out of what you buy. As a guide, if your window is 150 cm like mine, you need between 250 and 350 cm of fabric width. Remember I'm on a budget, we can be flexible here!
- Buy fabric. In addition to color, think about texture and practicality. Thermal fabric can make a huge difference in heating your home, blocking cold air near the window and preventing it from cooling the room. The weight is good for the curtain fabric because they hang more naturally.
- You might want to line your curtains, I didn't do that because I'm on a budget, but also because with thermal fabric it's just not necessary… (amazing stuff)… You can also choose to use thermal fabric as a curtain lining, but to be honest, I've only seen this stuff in Europe, but here's where you can get it amazon United Kingdom.
- So I'm home now, and it's time to cut. Where my fabric was drawn I made sure it was all oriented the same way and cut the fabric, found coordinating thread and contrast thread, an iron and loads of ‘pins, and I was ready to go.
- At the side edge of each curtain panel I folded back about 3cm and pressed. If it presses well that's all you need to do, then I folded it again about 4cm and pinned it.
- With contrasting thread I made a very loose hand stitch (pointing), removed the pins and ironed it. This will make it more secure for machine sewing and especially if your curtains are long, they will stop bunching in the fabric as you work.
- Then it was time to sew. Straight down, nice and easy after the tack, you can then just remove the tack. And I'm going to iron again with a hot iron. The edge of the raw fabric is folded down to prevent fraying.
- Next, it's towards the top of the curtain, where the grommets are going to go. I just used plastics, and even in the thermal fabric, 2 layers, they worked well. I folded 3 cm, pressed with an iron and folded again 10-15 cm, (enough depth for the ring), and pinned. With this double fold, you don't get any raw edges, which is good if your fabric frays.
- Once again, I tacked, ironed, sewed, ironed…and that was most of the sewing work done so far.
- Measure the eyelet spacing. ADVICE.
- You need an even number of grommets, otherwise the curtains will not hang properly (you will get an S shape instead of an M).
- If your curtain rod is very close to the wall, you cannot leave much space between the grommets, otherwise the curtain bunching will be too deep and the curtains will be stuck against the wall. In the photo below, my spacing was way too wide, the curtains were just too wavy (too high a “width!”). I ended up spacing about 20cm apart which was fine.
- Keep your eyelets out of the 3cm fold you made, where you sewed to hide the raw edge, as you may end up catching the fabric, which will be too thick to squeeze the eyelet together.
- So when placing, I think it was 4cm from the edge for the first one and I spaced them evenly after that. I used 8 rings for each curtain, or 16 eyelets for the entire 150 cm wide window (8 on each curtain).
- Circle inside the ring, and for mine I had to cut right next to that circle.
- ADVICE. If you're making multiple curtains and you're sure they're the same, just use the first curtain as a template once you've cut all the holes. This way they will be aligned the same way.
- Place each half of the grommet on either side of your hole and press firmly together. Mine clicked.
- Next, I hung the curtains so I could admire my work, and that's when I measured and pinned the hem. I like to make sure I have the right length.
- As before, fold 3 cm and iron. Then folded again as for the upper 10-15 cm, pressed, pinned and stitched before sewing. That nice wide pleat at the bottom also gives a little weight to help the curtains hang nicely.
It really was SO easy! I'm sure there are some great techniques I could have used to work more professionally, but I prefer to keep it simple and do it, and I wanted to show you that with very basic sewing skills and a little time, you can also make your own curtains!
In summary of the materials, I must say, Dritz Plastic Curtain Grommets – really good, even on thick fabric. Also… Thermal fabric – amazing. Really easy to work with, sits pretty well, doesn't fray, hangs well and warms up the place!