My easy curtain method tutorial
I went in to Anthropologie a while ago and decided to remake my living room, which since we moved in not long ago doesn't really have an identity. I even bought new fabric just for some creative pillows and home dec ideas inspired by Anthro. I had a couple of hippie wall hangings from long ago, and I hung them up on the big window since I hate bare windows without curtains. But they blocked too much light, didn't match each other, and didn't help my decor at all. Bleh. So here's the before:
So I wanted to make some new ones. In keeping with the Anthro-ey theme, I went to their site for inspiration...
I bought six yards of white 45" wide quilter's cotton at JoAnn on super sale. I wanted something a little nicer than muslin. That's really all you need, plus a curtain rod. I only needed five yards for my floor-length curtains, but there's nothing wrong with having some extra white cotton around! Anyway...
Ideally you would stencil your fabric before you sew it, so that it's flat/smooth all the way and also so that if your stencil overlaps with the edges, the pattern wraps around the edge. But I was really anxious to get something else up on that window and don't know exactly what pattern I want yet, so I did it the wrong way and sewed them first!
- Measure what the finished length should be. It's hard to tell but my tape measure is going up as high as the top of the curtain rod itself.
- For me, floor-to-top of rod was 84". (Interesting note: I've heard from interior designers that there are only three acceptable lengths for curtains: falling to the bottom of the window glass, falling to the bottom of the window molding, or falling all the way to the floor).
- Decide how wide a hem you want and how big a casing. Make sure your casing is wide enough to fit the curtain rod through it! Add .5" to both measurements for turn-under. My top casing will be 2" and my hem will be 2.5". Add the seam allowance, and add together to get the final measurement for your fabric.
- Measure your fabric to the length you just calculated and snip. Tear! Make the two panels both exactly the same length.
- About the width of the curtains: most people want a curtain to be is 1.5 times as big as the window--e.g. for a 60" wide window, you'd have a cumulative 90" width of curtains. But it's perfectly okay if they're a little bigger or a little smaller. And, for a big window, the easiest thing to do is use the entire width of the fabric (42"-60", depending) and just hem the selveges. On a finished selvage edge, you only have to turn the fabric under once--there will be no raw edges!
- Start by carefully pressing the long (up-and-down) edges. I'm pressing mine with a 1/2" hem, just enough to cover all the perforations above the edge. All fabrics have different selvages, though.
- Sew along your pressed edges. You can pin them if you need to, but for my simple cotton I didn't bother.
- Now that you've got all four (two on each) long sides turned under, we'll create the casings and hem. These do need to be turned under twice so you don't have a raw edge on the inside and a chance of seams pulling out.
- I recommend using a hem gauge to make sure you're even all the way across! This is my 2" wide top casing; I'm turning under the top by .5". On this one, I recommend pinning carefully.
- Sew along your pinned casing, keeping a consistent and straight seam allowance.
- Do the same with your hem. Press, pin, sew.
- Hang your curtains!
Yes, they are very plain. Like I said I had planned to Anthro-tize them, and still will, with some sort of stencil or other embelishment. But for now I just wanted to get something up on the window! Now to brainstorm stencil colors as I decorate the rest of the room... I may even make a stencil!