How to make curtains - measuring up.
I loved my first apartment but I worried about how to make curtains. The bed room had a big, beautiful floor to ceiling window. There was no way I could afford to buy ready made drapes for that. It would have cost me a fortune. I hung a couple of big old throws from the curtain pole, clipped them on with pegs, and tried to work out what to do. The throws made the room look dark and depressing. They didn't open and close so it was always dark. Instead of loving my cosy nest I started to dread going into it. Something had to be done. In despair I asked my Grandma for help. She just laughed and said it couldn't be easier. She thought the idea of those throws was so funny she giggled about it for a month!
Measure twice - cut once!
You will need:
Paper and pen
First off my Granny said I had to measure the window across the top. The important thing was to measure from the edges of the cutain track or pole not the window frame. Ok, it was quite high so rather than climb up on a chair I measured it from the bottom of the window. I made sure I lined my tape up with the edges of the pole. Now it's real important to make sure you write this down. You don't want to get confused. Write it down and write - "WIDTH of window" next to it.
Next I had to measure the length I wanted the curtains to be - so that's from the top of the pole/track down. I wanted mine to go all the way to the floor but if your window sill is higher than that you need to add about 4" below the sill. Write "LENGTH of window" next to that number. This is called the DROP
Now look at your widow. Has it got a curtain track with hooks or a pole, with or without rings?
I was lucky - I had a plain pole, no rings. My Granny said this was going to make things real easy. But if you have rings or a track don't panic. It's still not hard!
My window was
Width = 60"
Length = 75"
Work out how much fabric to buy
Pole with no rings
For a pole with no rings you are going to make 'tab top' cutains. These are simple to make and are not gathered when they are closed. Curtain fabric usually comes in widths of 54" or 60". Choose a plain colour - it's heaps easier than matching patterns! I used some 60" cotton sheeting and dyed it deep red in the washer. You could use nice old cotton, or even linen, sheets from a thrift shop! A friend of mine even let her kids loose with some fabric paints on their bedroom ones after they were made. They look great!
The cutains are better to be too full than too narrow. There's nothing worse than cutains that don't meet in the middle. You can find lots of neat fabric to buy online and it's not expensive. When you've chosen your fabric you need about twice the length of your window plus some for tabs and seam allowances. (that works out at about an extra 25" per panel)
Do the Math!
Now my Granny gave me a really complicated way of working out how much fabric I needed to buy. But being a modern woman I figured there was an easy way to do it so here it is! Just click here to access an instant fabric calcualtor. Ok so you do still have to convert it into yards and add a bit extra for the tabs. Still pretty cool though!
Back to my window. I needed 88" according to the web site. That works out about 2 and a quarter yards. I need to add a bit extra for the tabs so I ordered 3 yards. That left some for making a cushion too!( I'll give you a link to the cushion instructions too!)
I'll be adding more about how to make curtains very soon.
Can't sew? Worried about how to make curtains?
This lady really knows her stuff and she's almost as good as my Gran! Click here to check out Sewing 101. She'll really sort your sewing skills out and in no time you'll be telling all your friends how to make curtains!