Professional Curtain Making – Free Pattern

If like me your first introduction to curtain making was on those TV make over programmes like Changing Rooms, then you probably learnt to make curtains by making a pillowcase shape out of your main fabric and lining, adding curtain tape, hanging the curtains and then finishing the hem.

For many years I was happy with this method until a friend taught me this, albeit slightly old fashioned, professional method for producing curtains that really hang well, I have used this method ever since and truly believe if you do, you will be pleased with the results.

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Working out Requirements:

Don’t be fazed by these instructions, if you follow each step, one at a time, you will quickly come up with the right measurements for your fabric, we have included a worksheet at the end to help you do this, if you get really stuck, email us and we will work it out for you!

Main Fabric
STEP 1 – Work out the length of each drop of fabric:
Finished length of the curtain (this is not the same as the size of the window, measure from where you want the curtain to start, probably above the pole, to where you want it to end) + 18cm (10cm for the bottom hem, 8cm for the top hem).
STEP 2 – Now work out the width of the curtain:
Measure the space you want covered by your curtains, half it (for one curtain) then times it by 2 to 3, to allow for gathering the curtain (in these curtains we have gone for x2 as we only want light gathering, our starting point is usually x 2.5), add 10cm for the side hems, plus 3cm for overlap in the middle.
STEP 3 – Now work out how much fabric you need:
Take the width per curtain worked out in step 2 x2, and then divide by the width of the fabric you want to buy.  Say you end up with an answer of 3.6, you will need to buy 4 x the length of the drop you worked out in step 1, if the answer is 3.1, you might decide to go down to x3 and have a little less gathering.

Thermal/Black Out Lining Fabric
STEP 1 – Work out the length of each drop of fabric:
You need 12cm less per drop than for the main fabric.
STEP 2 – Now work out the width of the curtain:
You need the same width as the main fabric, less 10cm per curtain.
STEP 3 – Now work out how much fabric you need:
Take the width of each curtain worked out in step 2, x2, and divide the answer by the width of the lining fabric (this may not be the same as the width of your main fabric).  Round up the answer to the nearest full number, and x the answer by the length of each drop worked out in step1.


If each of your curtains is made up of several lengths of main fabric and/or lining, then start by joining the lengths together, so you end up with a single piece of main fabric, and a single piece of lining fabric, for each curtain, measuring the right width and length for each curtain, according to the calculations you made above.

Take your main curtain fabric and fold one side edge over (wrong sides facing) 5cm, iron and pin into place.


Now secure into place using a slip stitch (see images below).


Repeat on the other side.

Turn 3cm up at the bottom of the curtain and iron, then fold up again, by 7cm, iron the crease. 


Open at the corner, you will see two crease lines. Turn the fabric up so that the corner of the curtain is touching the top crease line and the corner has become a triangle.  Iron flat.  Trim the fabric about ½” away from the creased triangle line and then fold under.


Repeat on the other corner.cornersfolded
Pin the hem back up and slip stitch the top edge as you did the sides.

When you get to the corners you need to use a slight variation on the slip stitch, to keep the stitches hidden.


Now take your lining fabric and turn up 3cm along the bottom, iron a crease and then fold up 3cm again. Iron and then sew this hem into place.

Fold one of the side edges over 3cm and iron the crease in place, repeat on the other side.

Place your main fabric (wrong side facing you) on your table or a large flat sewing space, if possible somewhere you can lay out the whole curtain (I often do this on the lounge floor!).

Place your lining fabric on top of the main fabric, right side facing you, so that the bottom edge is approx. 3cm above the bottom of the curtain, and the sides are approx. 3cm in from the edges (the lining fabric won’t go as high as the main fabric at the top, don’t panic, this is correct).

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Use a long needle to sew slip stitches (as for the corners earlier), down one side, starting 12cm from the top of the main fabric and working down the curtain, turning at the bottom and carrying on along the bottom for approx. 10cm or 3” (you don’t need to go all the way across the bottom, indeed not doing so can help the fabrics to hang correctly).  Repeat on the other side.

Re-measure your curtain on both sides, measure up from the bottom and mark the point at the top where the curtain measures your FINISHED CURTAIN length.  Draw a straight line to join these points.

Trim the lining fabric above the line.trimlining

Fold the main fabric over the lining fabric.topfolded

In the corners, fold the fabric into a triangle shape, if your fabric is lightweight to medium you can just fold the triangle under, if the fabric is bulky you may want to trim the excess fabric away as you did for the bottom corners.

Pin the curtain tape over the main fabric, starting approx. 2cm from the top of the curtain.


Sew the tape into place, remember to put the cotton colour you have matched to the front of the curtain onto the bobbin in the sewing machine.  Make sure you only go over the cords at one end.  If the cords are sewn over at one end, then go to the next step, if they are not, pull the loose cords out and tie into a knot.


When you are happy that the cords are secure at one end, start pulling the cords from the other end.  The curtain will gather up near you, you can push the gathers down the curtain and make them more even, keep doing this until the curtain is the correct width for your finished curtain, then tie in a gentle bow.lastshot
Repeat for the second curtain.

Hang your curtains and check that the width is correct, if not you can release the cords and adjust, when you are happy tie the cords off in a knot and trim the excess cords.

curtainsfinished Admire your professionally made curtains.

Fabric used: Robert Kaufman Super Hero Newspaper Print

Click here to order curtain tape (20p per half yard!)

 Click here for printer friendly instructions and fabric worksheet.

Click here to view more free patterns.

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