How to Make Curtains {DIY}

My mom and step-dad came to town for a visit two weeks ago.  The purpose of their visit?  So my mom and I could play curtain sweat shop.  I mean, doesn’t everyone put their parents to work when said parents drive 3 hours to spend quality time with their dear offspring?

Great tutorial on how to make curtains!

This whole process started when I saw Kim’s dining room curtains.  Who knew it was so easy (and cost effective) to make your own curtains?  Kim’s curtains led me to Meredith’s tutorial on how to make curtains.

So in mid-June when I came across a fabric that I loved (54″ Waverly Lovely Lattice Lagoon), I knew I had to make curtains for our snoozefest of a living room.  Isn’t it dreamy?

source
I called my mom at 9:30PM on a Saturday night.  She was sleeping.  But I was sitting at home on my laptop on a Saturday night so I guess that’s no better.  We chatted on the phone about how much yardage I would need to buy.  At one point, she disagreed with me and I remember saying, “Bonnie, you’re not understanding my vision.”  To which she said, “I guess I don’t, Chelsea Ann”.  Ahh, mother-daughter relationships.

I purchased 10.5 yards for $98.  Tip: Always search for a coupon code before purchasing.  That’s how I saved $17.  Boom.

OK, back to the slave labor.  


We cut four 95 inch panels.  Then we got to work folding over the length-wise edges and sewing them.  We didn’t bother cutting off the edges because 1. no one sees them and 2. it won’t fray, so why bother?


We did about a 4 inch hem at the top.


And about a 5 inch hem at the bottom.


We hung the curtain panels with ribbon that I hot glued on.  Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it?  We used 1 1/2 inch x 3 inch and 5/8 inch x 3 inch ribbon, spaced about 4-5 inches apart.  I used a lighter to melt the edges and keep them from fraying.  The thicker strips were used in the middle, while the thinner strips on the ends.  Why’d we do that?  Well, I realized that if we used the thicker ribbon on the ends it would look a little wonkier once we got the curtains up on the rods.


Now, this project didn’t go without some snags.  First, my sewing machine desperately needs to be serviced.  Secondly, the fabric was printed crooked.  This drove my Type A self bonkers.  

The tape measure in the photo is straight.  The fabric, however, is not.


But we worked it out, and you can’t tell that it’s crooked now that they’re hung.

I love a good before and after so here’s the before.


And the after.


Can I just say that I HATE photographing our living room?  I probably spent 3 hours (I wish I was kidding) trying to photograph the dresser turned TV stand.  There’s something about the light that I just can’t get.  I’m also going to blame my 7 year old DSLR.  Mama needs a new camera.  I’m talking to you, Santa.

My step-dad thought I was crazy for putting curtains on our backdoor.  He kept saying, “I’ve never seen curtains on a backdoor”.  To which I replied that I’m a visionary, and I’m going to start a trend.  I also may have gone on and on about my love of symmetry.


The door curtains have worked out fine.  We just have to remember to move them out of the way when we open and close the door.

Because I’m all about transparency, here’s the breakdown of how much cheddar I dropped on this project.

Fabric: $98… Fabric.com (also found here)
Curtain rods: $22… Target
Ribbon:  $3… JoAnn Fabric– I used 50% off coupons
Thread: $0… already had it
TOTAL:  $123
Not bad, right?

 

Comments

    • Miss Tommie says

      I wish you had let us know how much material. I have heard 1 1/2 times the width of the window and also twice the window width. love everything else!

      • Rozemarijn says

        That’s also what i’m wondering about. I wanna make these curtains myself and I would love to know how many fabric you used for the width of your windows. You uses to panels of 95 inches each for one window? What is the width of each window? Than i can calculate it myself.

        Thanks!

    • Miss Tommie says

      No one has answered the question when making curtains is the material you use suppose to be 1 and 1/2 times the width of the window or 2 times the width. I appreciate your explanation but that is my biggest question and still no answer. I think I will ask the fabric store they should know. Next time you do a curtain recommendation please add this question!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. says

    oooooh! Beautiful fabric. Didn’t happen to see it in yellow, did you? ;)
    I have seen curtains on back doors several times and in your space, it is sort of necessary to maintain the symmetry you have placed. If you only did the window, your head would feel all lopsided. Beautiful room!

  2. says

    I feel like you’re reading my mind. We just got a new bedspread so now our curtains don’t match. I’m planning on making my own. I’ve done them before but never took much time with it, this time I definitely will. I love the fabric you used!

  3. says

    I have loved that fabric for forever. They look beautiful! :) And crooked fabric is the worst–I always try to cheat by just following the pattern to cut stuff out instead of measuring and…yeah. Doesn’t always work out. Dear fabric companies: adjust your printing process. Please.

  4. says

    Very pretty! Me likey.

    I tried to make curtains once for our office. I cut one panel about 1 1/2 feet too short. Thank goodness the couch hid it. Just the other day I was pondering making more. I really should learn from my mistakes. Can I borrow Bonnie?

  5. says

    So beautiful! And I think the curtains around the door are a great idea–now it looks like you have symmetrical windows instead of a window and a door! You smart thing, you. And the fabric is amazing. And so is the TV stand. I love the whole living room! Can we get more of a house tour, please? So I can admire/copy your style? :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

  6. says

    Gorgeous! I think I need to enlist my mom in helping me make some curtains now! Also, I noticed you have a motion detector in the one corner of your living room – I have one too. Are you worried about the curtain panel blocking the detector? My alarm guys told me that if anything gets in it’s way, it won’t work :(

  7. says

    Your whole living room is just gorgeous! The fabric for the curtains is perfect for the room. The TV stand was my favorite but now I think my fave is the new curtains!

    Lori : )
    Thrifty Decor Mom

    • shelley klausman says

      Great idea….I’m a professional Interior Designer and like the streamline design concept. Wish I had seen this earlier when I used to do so many model homes! I may try it out just for fun, although I think lining it would give more body.

  8. says

    I have just finished making curtains and wish I had used the available slave labour (aka mother) rather than just take her advice…I think they would have turned out way better.
    Hot glue v’s sewing machine = good for you, I would love to borrow this idea and rescue my sad curtains.

  9. says

    i love the pattern! and i love curtains over doors!! I have curtains on all of our doors. and the color is so cool in there, such a great pop of color!

  10. says

    Very pretty. Love the color and print. I have rooms in my house that I feel like no matter what time of the day, whether I’m climbing on stools, crawling on the ground, I still have the hardest time photographing them. But I think you did great :) Have a great weekend!

  11. says

    Beautiful! The curtains make a huge difference in the look of the room! Great job! Also, I’m completely with Jen from iheartorganizing, that TV stand/dresser is marvelous! Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. says

    Love that fabric… and I had to laugh at the ‘slave labor’ part! Whenever my dad comes to visit me, I always enlist him to ‘advise’ (or do!) on a DIY project I had planned.

  13. says

    I’m so glad I came upon your blog over at The Shabby Creek Cottage! I LOVE your curtains and the fabric is so pretty! I previously had curtains on a double back door (French door) and when we remodeled, my husband said, “No curtains on the door”. Oh well…to each his own! I am currently waiting on fabric I ordered from JoAnn’s Fabric Store…it too is Waverly but is the Chippendale fretwork pattern in Mocha!!!! The curtain rod is hanging there, waiting too!!! I’m going to use the rings with clips for hanging them. Hope mine look as nice as yours!!! Stop by and check out my blog! I’m your newest follower!!

  14. says

    Wow – totally love them! They really brighten up your living room with the color and design. Like you, I have to have my symmetry, so I completely understand the curtain over the door. LOL! Some of us shouldn’t be allowed in public, right? And your conversation with your mother sounds like mine with my daughter. She always says, “mom, you just don’t get it.” To which I always reply, “I get it Sarah, I get it.”

  15. says

    This looks awesome. I love the ribbon tab system. It’s so handy an turns out really polished, in my opinion. Thanks for the link love. Your windows look fabulous. I really like the fabric you chose and agree that symmetry is awesome. Yay for
    Mom sweat shops.

  16. says

    These are some fantastic curtains. I’ve of the opinion that if you can find the fabric you love, it’s better to make your own home decor pieces because even when the tasks are often tedious, you end up with something you truly love. Ever tried searching and searching for that perfect already-created match to the vision in your head? LOL

    And I do know what you mean about photographing spaces such as this. In my craft room I receive lots of wonderful sunlight, which is perfect for photographing objects in natural light, but a beast to photograph the actual wall. Still working on it. :-)

    http://www.artisticexpressionsbyelisabeth.blogspot.com

  17. says

    ha, I didn’t even notice it was a door until you mentioned it. SOOO much better with the bright curtains! I’m guessing you had a hard time photographing the TV stand because you’re photographing against the light.

  18. says

    I’ve been admiring this fabric for several months now and I am hoping to make (or more like pay someone to make since I can’t sew) curtains for my kids playroom with this gorgeous fabric! I love how bright and cheery it makes your room!

  19. says

    Beautiful! I made mine and even put a liner in them. It hurt to send them to Goodwill when the room was heading in a different direction a few years later.

  20. says

    You guys did a GREAT job and I just love the curtains over the door (I also share your love of symmetry)! I feel ya about the fabric being printed crooked, that is the worst! Well done ladies!

  21. says

    I love the curtains, the fabric, color and I think it was a great idea to do the same curtain over the door. It adds balance and symetry to the room. Great job!

  22. Renee says

    I absolutely love the colour of the fabric. And why not put the curtains over the door!? It creates wonderful symmetry and balance in the room. Kudos!

  23. Maribel says

    Working on my curtain panels and was wondering how far apart you hot glued the ribbons? Love the way this looks instead of putting the rod through the whole curtain.

    Thanks!

  24. Denee says

    I did the same thing to my Mama and Pops! lol…I closed on my house on a Friday and they were here on Monday (very proud parents, btw). I feel a bit more guilty though as my parents drove nearly nine hours to reach my new domicile. My Mom is a professional seamstress so my problem was convincing her about the simplicity of what I was after. I had decided to use the fancy clips that you actully just clip the fabric to the rods and it hangs from it so all we had to do was hem all the edges then put the larger folds on the top and bottom. After that if was just a matter of clipping them to the rods :) I got a lot of extra length in mine because I wanted to balloon them near the bottom which I did using a thick twine that went well with my Italian countryside design scheme. By doing this myself I was able to afford the very fine, heavy weight linen I wanted. I’m about to redesign so doing the project again…although I’m not going to have my parents drive all that way because they’ve already given me the education I needed to stand on my own two feet!

  25. Sandi says

    Love the drapes, they really finish off the room. Perfect that you made them symmetrical. I actually didn’t notice one was a door and one a window!
    I think the dresser is beautiful as a TV table.
    One hint about photographing indoors, especially towards the windows is to take your pictures when it’s just barely light outside, with all of your lamps/lights on.

  26. Shannon says

    Love your curtains and it does even out the room. I put curtains over by backdoor (French doors) and love it! We like it dark to watch tv and this helps. thanks for showing the steps & cost!! <3

  27. Caitlin says

    Hi! I love this tutorial- so much easier than other ones I’ve come across. I will be attempting my own curtains but need to put a liner on the back. Any suggestions on how to go about doing that?

  28. says

    I love it! I also made a curtain for my kitchen window and came upon the same problem – those who sold me the fabric had cut it crooked and upon cutting it myself at home it seemed straight , but when I hung it it tilts a bit to the right. I wanted to ask you about the flowers on the tv stand, do you have a tutorial for them? :)
    Ella recently posted..Plaid skirt into bag – Fusta modificaa in geantaMy Profile

  29. Maggie Martinez says

    I need these curtains can i pay you to make me some of these same color and pattern.? Please let me know thank you

    • adity shawal says

      hey, i am from Bangladesh. i sell curtains in my country. i can parcel you these curtains or even luxurious ones within $100, for the availability of cheap labor. let me know :)
      adityshawal@yahoo.com

  30. sandra marino says

    My daughter bought new curtains with large metal eyelets in the top and they stack back beautifully like verticals almost. I have bought material already for my curtains and now seeing your tute I will be able to get the effect I want by following what you did with yours. Do you use narrower tape at the ends of the curtains to help them stack better? I live in Australia so what kind of ribbon did you use. I’d need to fold it to make it narrower at the ends of the curtain I suppose . I will be making 3 drops of 140cm wide in each curtain for a large sliding door that opens in the middle so I will have to sew on the ribbon to carry the weight. Do you know what grograin ribbon is would that be a suitable ribbon ?

  31. says

    My daughter bought some new curtains with those large eyelets at the top and they stack like verticals. I love them but I already have had my material for about 2 years and seeing how you made yours I believe I can approximate about the same result following your tutorial. Thank you so much. I will have 2 curtains with 3 drops of 140cm in each for a large sliding door opening in the middle so I believe I will have to sew the ribbon on instead of glueing because of the weight. I live in Australia I’m wondering about grograin ribbon do you know what that is . I would appreciate your comments.

  32. Ann Helfrich says

    Thanks for the tutorial. Will totally use it. Could definitely do without the flip “slave labor” comment. Found it offensive. Almost clicked right off the site. Good luck!

  33. says

    Wow, I just have to congratulate you on this beautiful article on how to make curtains. I personally have had the pleasure of making almost all the curtains in my home and I have to say that I always looking for coupons to save money on materials. That was a great tip. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time someday to visit me at my website dedicated entirely to sharing meany different articles and ideas on how to make curtains. http://www.howtomakecurtainsfree.com/blog/

  34. says

    At first, I would think that curtains on a back door look odd. But now I am looking at my back door to our porch (which is placed in between the floor to ceiling windows in the living room and the dining room (which I use as my studio space), and it doesnt seem like such a bad idea now.

  35. Michelle says

    You are so clever! I LOVE these curtains and especially love how easy you make it seem. I was fortunate to just happen upon this blog tonight, I just bought a sewing machine today and now I know what my first project will be. I am now super motivated! P.S. Love the ribbon idea!

  36. says

    Beautiful! I agree with you about the symmetry and love the look of the two panels. I found this from pinterest and am now following you on bloglovin.

  37. Clare Humphries says

    Only just read this post , thought it was fab and very inspiring . Inspiring enough for me to make my own , and may I say your step father needs to visit England we have curtains on front and back doors xxx

  38. Jill says

    Love the website! Love the article! Love the simplicity of it all. So inspiring. I am a symmetrical person as well.
    Just to throw in my two cents towards step-dad; try placing small, inconspicuous tie backs on both sides of the back door to make passing thru a little easier (there are so many to choose from, you may find something to fit in that tight corner).
    Regarding your sewing machine; I made the mistake several times of taking my machine in for service when it all it needed was a dusting and oiling. If you bought it new, or still have the manual and all parts that came with it, you should have the screw driver and maintenance lubrication to do the service yourself. If the thread is knotting up a lot while you sew, it is usually due to using the wrong needle or thread for the fabric you are trying to sew. I learned all this and more by taking a sewing class at my local community college for several semesters, just for personal enrichment. I still consider myself a beginner to mid level skills but I learned so many little tips that I no longer get frustrated with my machine nor does it take me 4 hours to complete a 1 1/2 hour project.
    Keep up the good work and I will definitely be sharing your site with my friends!
    Cheers!

  39. Hayley says

    You’re so funny when you said Cheddar I died. Also I get putting the, on the door I’ll be using this tutorial to make curtains to go over the French doors in our living room. I think we would be friends is that weird lol thanks for the awesome blog post

    Hayley

  40. Marjorie says

    Just a quick question – love the photos and the room looks super cute! How does it all work with the ribbon backing being glued on – solid? do you open and close them a lot? I am just about to make some black out blinds for my son’s room and wanted to know about that before I went the glue direction rather than the sewing direction.

    • says

      The ribbon has held up well. None have fallen off of the curtains on the window, which I never open and close. Some have fallen off of the curtains on the door because we open and close those daily. I would sew the ribbons onto the blackout curtains because of the weight of the curtains.

  41. Kristy says

    Hello! I love the curtains! When you say you made a 95″ panel is that how long your fabric was before adding the hems or after? Thanks!!!

  42. Tamara says

    I love you! My glue gun station is right beside my sewing station….where I’ve bitterly sat for the last few days trying to think of an easy way to add ‘rings/hooks’ to my newly sewn ENORMOUS drapes ….. and all the while the answer was staring me in the face…GLUE tabs on! Thank You for making me so happy!

  43. says

    I learned how to straighten fabric when I took a class nearly 30 years ago… wow, that seems like a crazy long time ago…. You need to give yourself a little extra fabric. You cut into the fabric, at the top, just enough to cut past the side seam. Grab a single thread. Pull. It will start to gather the fabric. Gently pull that thread all the way across the fabric. You will have to work with the gathered fabric. Sometimes, depending on the fabric, the thread will break. When it does, run your finger across that thread and pull the fabric back towards you. As you do it, you will see a little line where the thread was pulled. Cut your fabric along that little line until you get to the point where the thread broke. Do this until the thread is pulled all the way across the top of the fabric. Really, this should always be done with any fabric before you make a project especially clothing. This will help the fabric hang right. You will be amazed at how much fabric you lose.
    Hope this helps!

  44. Michelle says

    I love these and have decided to try the hidden pocket style. My question is this; how do you hang them on the pole so that the pole hardware is covered? Right now mine are hung but don’t look too great because you can see the part that is attached to the wall and the curtains run into it….. any ideas?

    • says

      Hi Michelle! I’m a little confused by your question. Do you mean hide the brackets that hold the curtain rod up? I simply thread the curtains around the brackets. For example, I’ll thread 5 tabs on one side and 5 tabs on the other side so the bracket is hidden in the middle. Does that make sense?

  45. Kathy says

    I love, love your curtains!! I love their simple elegance. I would like to make some in the same fabric but I am wondering if it is more aqua than a light green. In your photos they look aqua but on some fabric websites they look like a bright teal. Thanks for your help! Love your blog by the way… I think I could live in your house

  46. Elaine says

    I had difficulty knowing how far down from the top of the curtain to place the top of the ribbon (I guesstimated from your photo) and how much loop to allow. They’re for my granddaughter’s apartment and they haven’t been hung yet, but I’m afraid I got the ribbon too close to the top and it will show when put on the rod.

  47. Jenny says

    Curtains look terrific!! I too, am a fan of things looking perfect on both sides of my room. :)

    I just wanted to tell you that you have a great momma for 1. Picking up the phone after she was already in bed.. Haha! 2. For driving three hours to sew curtains!!

    I have two great kiddos, who are still super tiny (6&1.5) but I would totally drop everything go sew curtains for them too!

    Best wishes, jenny

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  49. Kathy martin says

    I love, love, love how your curtains turned out. You provided a great tutorial. Your mother is an angel who came to her baby’s rescue. I just love the fabric. The fabric pattern is very trendy right now but it’s a timeless pattern, like the Greek key. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. My mom was sharing with me about using queen and king sized flat sheets. They’re already hemmed so they go up pretty quick too. Sounds great if you can find patterned or plain sheets that you like. They are also a lot cheaper than buying yards of fabric. Just passing a simple solution on to you. Thanks again and tell your mom that she is an angel.

  50. Shawn says

    Those are really cute curtains. I love the idea of straps! I’m definitely going to use that idea. I would recommend cutting off the selvage next time. It is woven different than the rest of the fabric and often puckers when the curtains are cleaned or steamed. You could either serge the edges or use a seam binding.

  51. maria says

    I love how u put the curtains in the back door I only have one window in my leaving room and the back door im thinking about doing the same think thanks for the idea it looks beautiful

  52. Dorothy says

    Hi – These curtains look great, I love your suggestion on hem and tob tab sizes. I was wondering what the function of the ribbon tab is as opposed to having a traditional pocket rod curtain, meaning a curtain with a hem at the top that the curtain rod can slid through?

    Thanks,
    Dorothy

  53. Therese WIlkinson says

    Hi. Lovely curtains and they really jazz up the room. I need some more detail on the ribbon tabs on the back. If they are 3 inches in length and is puckered and the fold over or hem is 4 inches and the tab is down one inch from the top that does not add up.Please clarify. I love these curtains and want to make them.

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