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Monday, April 3, 2017


Several of you said that you noticed my new black and white striped curtains in my Spring Tour last week even before I mentioned them in the post.  Good eye!  As I mentioned, I still like my old curtains, but after 6 years I was feeling the need for a change.  The process really isn't that difficult, so I thought I'd share my version of how to make a lined curtain panel with you today.  Here's my disclaimer:  I'm not a professional seamstress... this may not be the "correct" way to make a panel, it's not weighted or pleated or perfect, but it's the easiest way I've found and it works for me.

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Here's a little peek into my process.  When I first started thinking about doing a striped drape, I needed to "see" what it might look like, so I roughly cut and pasted a striped curtain panel onto a photo of my living room.

I considered it for a while, and asked a few trusted friends what they thought before I proceeded.  I wanted a fun pattern that would make a statement, but I didn't want to feel like I was in a circus tent or staring at a ref on the football field!  ;)  I obviously decided to move ahead with it, and they ended up looking almost exactly like my mock-up!

To make your own curtain panels, you'll need a few basic supplies:
Drapery Fabric- I used this black and white stripe
Lining- this is the one I used.  It's pretty thin and fairly stiff, but I didn't want anything too heavy so light would still filter in.  This gets the job done if you want light stability.
Thread to match
Iron, Seam Gauge, Pins... general sewing supplies
My sewing machine- Love this machine for it's monogramming/embroidery capabilities, but it sews nicely too with a lot of different stitch options.

I'll share a few of my general measurements with you, but of course you'll need to adjust based on your needs.  To begin, you'll need to cut the length that you want your panel to be, plus about 7" total for a top and bottom hem.  My panels are 117" long, so I cut my fabric at 124" long.  Also, if you're covering a large window, you might consider doing a double width of your fabric for each panel so they are nice and full and still have some fullness to them even when they're drawn closed.  I used a double width for the living room panels, and 1 1/2 widths for the panels in the kitchen.  Tip:  Several weeks ago I saw my smart friend's Instastory where she marked out her lengths with tape on the floor when cutting identical multiple lengths of fabric.  You can see my tape in the photo below, it made measuring all 14 lengths that I needed to cut a breeze!  (I used my little trick here to make sure I was cutting them straight.)

As mentioned, I'm using a double width of fabric on each panel for the living room, so if you're only using a single width skip this part...  I started by laying my 2 cut pieces right sides together and making about a 1/2" seam down one side.  After stitching, press the seam open with an iron.

I'll also do the same thing on my lining, doubling it up and making a seam. You'll want your lining to be several inches narrower in width than your curtain fabric, you'll see why as we progress.  Basically, this allows a leading edge of the curtain fabric to wrap around the back side of the curtain and gives a more professional finished look.  I took almost a 4" seam as I sewed the two lining pieces together, so when it's finished my lining will be a couple of inches more narrow on each edge than the curtain fabric.  *If you're sewing a single width of fabric, you'll just need to trim your lining piece about 4-6 inches down the long side to make it narrower.  This will also make your finished panel several inches narrower, so be aware of that as you're figuring the width you need.

There's probably a more professional way to to this (I don't have a serger), but I use my pinking shears to trim the seam and then press it open with the iron as well.  The unfinished side of this seam won't show at all when the curtains are finished, so this method is just fine with me to keep the edges from unraveling.

Iron up hem.  For the lining, I did a smaller initial fold and then folded over again, then pressed and pinned.  Stitch hem in place.  You'll want your lining to be a few inches shorter than the curtain fabric when finished (so take slightly bigger hems on it).

For the curtain fabric, iron up the hem.  Turn the raw edge 2" up and press, then turn again 4", press and pin in place.  Stitch the hem.  A straight hem is fine especially if your thread blends in well, but this is the first time I've done a blind hem.  I didn't document that process, but here's a good video tutorial if you want to give it a try (I just used my regular presser foot instead of the blind hem foot and it worked fine.).  You could also stitch the hem by hand on the back side if you don't want your stitches to show.

This is how a seamstress friend taught me to do big panels years ago.  It took me a little while to "get it" when she explained it to me (I'm a visual and hands on learner), so I'm going to show you the process step by step.  Forgive me if I'm over-simplifying!  This is where cutting the lining narrower than the panel comes in.

Lay out fabric and lining, right sides together.  The fabric will be a few inches bigger on the sides than the lining since we've cut the lining down.  Line up one long edge and pin sides together, making sure the edges line up along the top edge of the panel even though you're leaving that alone right now.  Stitch.  If you've lined up the top edge hem then the lining at the bottom hem should be a little shorter than the fabric as shown.

Repeat with other side, but when you pin the second side, it will cause the first side you've stiched to pull over.  It won't lay flat because your lining is not as wide as the curtain fabric.

Press both of the long side seams open.

Lay panel back out on a flat surface.  Smooth out the panel.  Both long edges should have about an even amount of the curtain fabric on each side.  The right sides of the fabric should still be together.

Line up the top edge hem and pin, then stitch with a 1" hem.

After stitching the top edge, it helps to clip the corners on a diagonal to get a sharp corner when the fabric is turned right side out.

Then press the top seam open and turn entire panel inside out from the open bottom, pushing corners out well to make them nice and sharp.  Press top edge. Note:  I am hanging my curtains with ring clips.  If you want to use drapery hooks, you will need to do the top hem differently so there is more stability for your hook.

Here's what the top edge will look like on both sides.  See how the right side of the fabric folds around to the back for a few inches?

Lay panel out one more time, smooth, and pin both long sides in place.  Press edges well where the curtain fabric wraps around the back to make a nice crease along the edge.  I have about 2" of the curtain fabric on each side wrapping around.

The little bit of side hem from the bottom of the lining to the bottom of the curtain fabric will still be loose, so finish by hand sewing the side to hem to secure.

Here's what the back side looks like when they are hanging.  The wrapped fabric edge makes a difference!

Press remainder of panel if necessary, attach to ring clips, and enjoy your new lined curtain panel!

For continuity I contined the panels into the Breakfast Nook too.  I took my own advice and used the opportunity to move the curtain rod and bamboo shades in here up to the same level as the living room rod- they were previously a little lower (see here).  It made such a big difference!

The actual window stops just a few inches above the bottom of the shades, but it appears to be much larger since raising everything.

Tufted Chairs (similar)

Even if striped curtains might be a bit too much for you, this fabric is a great patten to add to your mix in so many different ways... pillows, a table runner, table cloth, roman shades, or even a cute bulletin board backing.  The fabric I chose has 2" stripes, but there are many options available for whatever width you want.  Several of these are available in different colors, too.

2" Stripe   ||    2 3/4" Stripe   ||   6" Stripe (Love this one!)

There are a few specific indoor/outdoor varieties, too, if you want to make pillows or accessories for outdoors.

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Love the stripes in your home not really a good fit for my houseBUTTT love your gingham settee but can't find it on the referenced site?

  2. I think you did a wonderful job with your new curtains. I vaguely remember a time when I could still put fabric down on the floor and cut it with the expectation of getting up and walking normally again! 😉 Your tutorial is very clear and precise, and a great guide for even a beginner. I have been making panels for years, and this is how I do it, too. Except for the part about getting on the floor.... sigh.

  3. I wish I could sew. I truly do. Your curtains are beautiful!


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