You just moved into a new apartment. Maybe you’ve lived in your home for awhile, and things are feeling stale. You look at big box stores, and curtain panels are not your style or too expensive.
Why not pick your own fabric? Your own style? Why not save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in the process?
Personalize your space by sewing curtains and drapes. The only limit is your imagination.
Don’t know how to sew? It’s easy to learn and a fantastic money-saving skill you’ll have for a lifetime.
Where Can I Find Easy Instructions?
If you can sew a straight line, you can sew your own curtains. If you can’t sew a straight line, some curtain ideas don’t even require sewing. You can find beginner how-to instructions online at:
If you prefer to use a paper pattern, McCalls, Butterick, and Simplicity are available online or at almost any store selling fabric. Look for curtain and drape patterns in the large books near the fabric department. Paper patterns are arranged by numeric order in the nearby lateral files.
When choosing your instructions or pattern, follow these basic design guidelines:
- Plan to hang your curtains close to the ceiling
- Curtain length should be ½ inch above the floor or sill, or longer.
- Curtains should fall on either side of the window when open
- Buy enough fabric for plenty of pleating when curtains are closed
- Select a complimentary curtain rod
What Kind of Fabric Should I Use?
Choosing fabric is one of the most fun parts of designing custom curtains. Fabric stores have a dizzying array of colors, patterns, and weights to choose from.
Think about the location of the window you’re planning to decorate. Is it large or small? Do you envision airy sheers or heavy formal curtain panels? Does your window treatment need lining? What is your budget?
Ask a store associate to help you choose the right size and quantity of fabric, based on your window size and pattern. Buying the wrong fabric can be an expensive mistake.
- Light Cotton or Polyester fabric is great if you have a smaller budget. If you’re going for an informal look in the kitchen, breakfast room, or around your door, you will have many choices.
- Sheers let in natural light, but offer minimal privacy. The cost is variable. Light polyester fabrics are inexpensive, while silk can be pricey (and more difficult to work with). Fabrics made from loosely woven natural fibers, like linen or burlap, can help create a rustic look.
- Heavy decorator fabrics are usually expensive, but will last a long time. If you are planning a formal window dressing, consider brocade or even velvet.
- Lined curtains are a necessity if privacy, energy efficiency, reduced noise, and room darkening properties are a consideration. You will benefit from curtain lining with front-facing windows, east or west facing windows, and bedrooms – especially if there’s a night owl in your home. Some homeowner’s associations and apartment complexes require a white curtain lining.
What Supplies Will I Need?
Besides fabric, you will need the following:
- Measuring tape
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Sewing machine (review beginner machines)
- Iron and ironing board
The sewing machine might seem like a big expense. Consider it an investment. The machine will pay for itself after you’ve made only a few curtain panels.
Some patterns need additional supplies. There is usually a list at the beginning of your instruction or pattern. Some patterns need:
- Pleating tape and hooks
Don’t forget curtain rods to hang your new drapes.
Create Your Custom Curtains
A very large flat surface is ideal. Otherwise, it’s time to clear some space to create your curtains. Move furniture aside and make sure your floor is clean. You’ll want to start your creation when kids or pets can’t interfere, since you’ll be working with sharp objects.
Practice sewing a smaller but similar project, like a pillowcase, on your sewing machine before
Follow the instructions carefully. Double check to make sure your measurements are accurate, cuts are straight, angles are square, and press as you go along.
Learning how to sew is a useful money-saving skill that will benefit you for a lifetime. Sewing curtains and drapes will not only save you literally thousands of dollars over purchasing custom window treatments, it will also give the satisfaction of personalizing your own space exactly how you want.
While the initial price of a sewing machine may seem daunting, the money you invest will have a quick return when you design and create your custom drapes. Your friends and family may even pay you to design and create their own window treatments, giving you an additional source of income and a great outlet for your creativity.