Making Curtains

Making curtains for your home is a great way to save money, while at the same time adding your own personal touch to your living space.

The great thing about making curtains is it’s really quite easy. Whether you are a skilled seamstress (or ‘seammaster’!), or whether you’ve never so much as darned a sock before, curtains and drapes are straightforward to make, and anyone can try.

You don’t need any special equipment to get started on your curtains, although a sewing machine will without doubt make life easier than if you try and do everything by hand – not to mention faster.

Many high street fabric shops will tell you that you must buy special curtain or drape material for your curtains. This is complete nonsense, you can use any material you like! With hundreds of thousands of wonderful fabrics to choose from, why limit yourself to just those designed to be made into curtains? Of course, the dimensions of your windows will have a bearing on your choice of material, but aside from the size, anything goes.

Having said that, you may well want to line the inside of your curtains (that is, the side that faces the window, the side you don’t see from inside your house when they are drawn), as doing so means they will cut out much more light than single layer unlined curtains. If you use a deep coloured fabric though, lining may be entirely unnecessary.

Curtains aren’t just about privacy, they serve a variety of functions, and depending on your requirements, by making your own curtains you will be able to tailor them to best meet your specific needs. Some of the main functions of curtains include:

  • Keeping a room private. When it’s dark outside and lights are on inside, any passer-by can peek into your home! Curtains and drapes restore your privacy.
  • Keeping warmth in. Even thin curtains provide a little insulation by slowing airflow between the curtain and the window . Thick curtains can warm a room by a degree (Celsius) or more, which can represent significant savings on the annual fuel bill.
  • Keeping heat out. By preventing UV light from penetrating deep into the room, curtains can significantly lower the temperature of a room that is in full sunlight.
  • Dressing the room. There’s no doubt that a window framed by a beautiful set of curtains is far more attractive than a bare window. Even a narrow set of curtains that are never actually going to be drawn can frame a window (or door) and bring an unparalleled warmth and cosiness to a room.

By making your own curtains, you can more easily co-ordinate with your other soft furnishings. If you buy more than enough fabric than you need for your drapes, you can use the excess to make matching scatter cushions, and maybe even upholstery covers, or your own “snuggie” type couch-duvet. With the right treatment, you could also use the same fabric to make lampshades. And if you have pets, why not make them some cushions or beds to match your new curtains too?

On the rest of this site you will find help and advice on making different types of curtains.

Further Reading

The UK’s Channel 4 has a nice page on crafts with some tips on making curtains.

Also in the UK, it’s now possible to do a whole diploma in curtain making!

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