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Any tips on making curtains?

Hansi | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

Hi guys,

I’m about to start work on my 3rd set of curtains.  They’re for a much larger area than I’ve ever made before and I really like my fabric and don’t want to mess up.  I’ve read a lot of books and articles and measured the windows carefully.  I think mostly I’m intimidated by the size of the panels I’m going to need to make ( 2 finished panels 100″ X 84″ each with lining).  So any words of wisdom out there?  (My dear husband has already given me the ‘measure twice, cut once’ speech :>)  )

Jay

 

Replies

  1. CTI | | #1

    You are brave! If the drapes are pleated at all, the fabric thickness will make a difference. Use a one-inch-wide strip of the fabric to test if your twice measurement is on target. Speaking from experience, if they end up not wide enough, add a slim panel or two of something slightly or greatly contrasting, either where they meet or at the sides. You probably already know all this, but maybe some readers don't.  

    1. Hansi | | #2

      I did not know that.  Thank you for the tip!

  2. SewTruTerry | | #3

    Jay

    It sounds like a wonderfully challenging project.  My best piece of advice which sounds more complicated than it is but can be time consuming but worth everything in the long run.  After completing the top and the sides of the curtains or drapery is to go ahead and hang them for several days without putting in the hem.  This way the fabric has a chance to relax and fall where it is going to. Then when you are ready to hem get out a ruler that is at least 12 inches long and a bunch of saftey pins or straight pins if you are feeling brave.  With the 1 inche mark on the floor measure up 12 inches and place a pin (safety or otherwise) and mark as many times and you can perferably 6 inches apart so that you know that you can use a ruler to connect the pins.  Next take the curtains or drapes down and from the pins measure down the 12 inches and turn up a hem and press. With this method the drapes will come right to the floor. If you prefer to have them skim the floor then measure 11 1/2 inches from the pins and fold up the hem and iron.  Pin and sew as usual know that the hem will be straight based upon the floor.  If you are having the drapes end considerbly higher the method is the same only the mark may be 24 - 36 inches off of the floor and you are going to be measuring down from the pins but at same length all around. Is this as clear as mud?  If you have questions let me know.

    1. Hansi | | #4

      Thank you for the post Terry.  I guess I'm a little confused, not by what you said, but because the book I use has you do bottom hems, side hems, then casings and headings.  Hanging them first does seem like a good idea.  I wonder if it matters what order you do things in.

      Jay

      1. SewTruTerry | | #5

        Jay

        I know that there are people out there that would say that it matters but those people I think are from the old school that believe there is only one way.  But with the kind of fibers that they are putting into home dec fabrics these days I would leave the hem for last because you can make it straight that way.  However I do have a client that purchase tab type curtains from a very trendy business and paid big bucks for them and they continue to lengthen on her and it is driving her nuts.  I have already shortened them once using the method I described to you and she was quite pleased with the results.  At least for a while until they stretched out again. But if you have a very stable fabric I think my way may be the easiest that I have found so far.  By the way it is an old tailors trick for shortening pants just adapted for the drapes.

        1. Hansi | | #6

          Hi Terry,

          That's really interesting--I didn't realize they could stretch out.  Thank you very much for the info.

          Happy sewing!

          Jay

          1. SewTruTerry | | #7

            Jay

            Not all curtains or drapes will stretch but I have seen people do stuff with the wierdest materials such as these curtains that were done with very sheer material that I think they had cut off bias.  Enough said?  Doesn't take much from there.  I always just take the easy way out when it comes to things like that and although it doesn't sound easy it is when it doesn't have to be redone.

            Good luck.

          2. User avater
            ehBeth | | #8

            I'm also a proponent of the hang first - then hem approach.

            It originally started because I was in a hurry to get a lot of curtains up in the house.  Get 'em up - keep the neighbours from peering in  -  then hem.  Then I discovered - with one set - that my original idea on the length was wrong. So I hung, pinned, looked at them for a couple of days, re-pinned, hung, looked ...  Now that I have a digital camera, I would probably pin, hang, repin, hang several variations the same night - and then contemplate my options over a couple of days. 

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