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the most frequently asked question

I get a lot of e-mail and comments asking questions, but the most common one I receive is, “Where did you get your curtains?”  Since I originally posted about them over a year ago (Has it been that long?), I decided to share the tutorial on how to make them again.

When I was looking for a fabric about 18 months ago, I wanted a large-scaled paisley print in blue and white.  Well, I didn’t find it, but I found this Waverly print and thought it would read the way I wanted it to.  It was even better and, a year later, I still love them.  They have been the backdrop of many photo shoots and have become a bit of a trademark of my style. 

 

 

Here is the original tutorial I shared last July…

Don’t be scared if you’re new to sewing.  If you can cut, measure, and sew a (semi) straight line, you can make these.  They are very forgiving.
First of all, these curtains are “dummy panels”, which means they are non-functioning drapes. My fabric is 58″ wide and that was ample for my windows.  If you need the curtains for privacy, you’ll want to measure to make sure they will close and provide you full coverage. 
Cut your fabric to the desired length.  I wanted to hang my curtain rod at 88″ from the floor, so I cut the fabric to 94″ long in order to leave enough fabric for a hem, seam allowances, and a 2″ ruffle at the top.  Lay your fabric out on the floor with the pattern facing up.  Put your lining fabric on top of the curtain fabric with the right side facing down.  I used a twin flat sheet that I purchased at Wal-Mart for $3.00.  Smooth the fabrics out and line up the edges.  I then cut the sheet/lining to match the curtain fabric.  Pin the top and two side edges together, leaving the bottom open.  Imagine you’re sewing a huge pillow case.  OK?

(There’s my old watermark!)
Sew along the two sides and top, again, leaving the bottom open.  It’s OK if your sewing is not perfectly straight.  Just do your best.

Now, turn your curtains right-side-out and press the seams.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.  Do you know how hard it is to take a picture with your left hand while you’re ironing with your right?  Is that an Olympic sport yet?)

As a side note, have I ever shared my 1940’s ironing board cabinet? 
It has the original glass knob and everything. 

Once you have your edges pressed, lay your curtain panel on the floor (or work surface) with the right side down. 

I used a piece of the sheet I trimmed off my lining to use as the sleeve for the curtain rod.  I pinned it two inches from the top of the panel, turning the sides under to hide the raw edge. 

I needed about a 2″ wide sleeve to fit my curtain rod, so I measured 2″ down from my pin line to sew a second line, which will complete the sleeve. 

So, I’m going to sew along the pencil line and the stitch line (that was originally the edge of the sheet, so it was already sewn.)

Nobody is going to see this, so it’s OK to leave the edges raw.  Simply slide the rod into the sleeve and…ta-da!  A curtain panel in about 20 minutes.  The first one may take you a little longer, but you’ll get quicker as you move along.  So, what happened to the bottom edge of the curtains?  Well, nothing yet.  I like to let my curtains hang for a few days before I hem them.  So, we’ll be hemming our curtains together when I can get to it. 

As a disclaimer, this is the totally wrong, but totally easy way to make curtains.  You don’t have to mess with fusible webbing, header tape, rings, and all of those little things that add time and money to a project. 
I purchased my fabric on sale from JoAnn Fabrics and online at Fabric.com using a coupon code.  Here’s where the money-saving part came in.  I loved this print, but it was $36/yard or something crazy like that in the decorator fabric section (linen and cotton blend.)  There was no way I could afford that, even with a discount or coupon.  Then, I spotted this same print in Waverly’s Sun-n-shade line (canvas fabric.)  It was on sale for $10/yard AND I had a $55 gift card for my birthday.  The fabric is called Tucker Resist Chambray by Waverly and it’s based on a block printed fabric found in Williamsburg.  It’s a little less than $10/yard at fabric.com right now and is even less with a coupon code!
There it is!  I hope it inspires you to find a fabric you love and make some simple drapes.  I’m going to use this same technique to make curtains for my family room…one of these days.  The bolt is leaning against the wall…mocking me. 
And, in case you were wondering, I have never hemmed those curtains…and the world is still turning. 







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Comments

  1. I love the fact that you never hemmed the bottoms. When I did this, I hemmed the bottom and it ended up making the fabric "lay" funny. I guess it wasn't *perfectly* straight when I pinned it. argh

  2. Thanks so much for the tutorial {again}…I missed the original post! This post is definitely going in my file for future windows.

    I've been a follower for quite a while and love everything you share. You always brighten my day and give me the confidence to try new things.

    Thank you! Thank you!

  3. Hi Marian,

    When you find the right fabric you know it, sometimes you have to wait for it and look at yours still in style after all this time…

    I think they are a classic, blue and white and the print is timeless too. Plus you made them yourself how can it get any better than that!!
    I know, I enjoy seeing them on a regular basis.

    All the Best,
    Christine

  4. I like your style! I left a pair of curtains in our old house that were never hemmed, and have often wondered if the new owner ever finished them for me. :@

  5. Too funny that you posted this, I almost ask this very question earlier today when I comment on your blog. Thanks for the tips and where to buy great fabrics!

  6. I have always wondered about your gorgeous,trademark curtains! Thank you so much for telling us they're still not hemmed!! In feel so much better about all my shortcuts!!

  7. I just picked up some of this fabric at Joann Fabrics this weekend. It seemed familiar to me, and now I know why. Duh! I'll be making some new pillows with it. Thanks for the tutorial, I might just give some curtains a try while I'm at it!

  8. I have some panels just waiting to be sewn but was pondering over the lining….I wanted something cheap. Thanks for the great tip about using sheets! I'm gonna do just that!

    I rarely sew curtain hems either….;)

  9. Wow thanks so much for the tutorial. This is great.
    Kat

  10. you are keepin' it real honey …

    oh btw
    my grandma had the twin sister to your ironing cupboad … as a kid, I was totally taken in by it …

    great post

  11. Anonymous says:

    God Bless the internet – you are a mentor to many people you have never even met. I appreciate your blog – your efforts to post tutorials and tips means a lot to those of us out here who want to try something new. Thanks, MMS! And go, Mini MS! – She has a great style and sense of humor as well.

  12. Wendy B. says:

    boy do you do just what the stylists of the world do. it is quick and dirty and with a heavy handful of extra practical. and i truly love that you give permission to cut corners. thank you for another sweet, well documented instructional. you never cease to amaze.
    thanks M. xow.

  13. Those turned out so well! I love that fabric….I'm a sucker for blue and white combinations! Thanks for sharing. I love how window treatments can make a room so much better!

  14. I remember this post well, Marian. As a matter of fact, often times when I'm looking at the outdoor fabric I think about your draperies :).

  15. how can something TOTALLY WRONG feel SO RIGHT? well. that's cuz the execution is by a gorgeous mama with a condimentlicious moniker. is that how you spell it?

    i want to make my own curtains and will give you all the credit, gorgeous.

    michele

  16. I can't tell you how timely this is for me! I'm planning on making my own curtains very soon. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I used this for my first ever sewing project, and it was a huge success! I have a question…. I have been refinishing a furn (staining my dining table top) and my (palm)sander leaves these weird squiggly marks on the wood, what am I doing wrong?

  18. Thank you for making it easy! I'm pinning this so I remember to try it soon.

  19. I loved your curtains since you first posted about them. They are not only beautiful but one of a kind!

    Your Friend,
    Deborah

  20. I love that you've never hemmed them! I'm NOTORIOUS for hanging up curtains unfinished, and leaving other projects slightly undone. My husband gets so frustrated with me, so I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, but if it's functional, sometimes I think that can be good enough!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this.I have recently discovered your site and I am hooked.Your curtains are gorgeous.They look perfect in your home.Now I need to get a sewing machine and get started.I have not sewn since high school.That was many,many,many years ago.

  22. Life is too short (and fun) to worry about whether our curtains are hemmed, slips are showing, or cars are washed regularly….(love the last one. I'm a genius.)

    Seriously, I'm a die-hard fan of yours.

  23. How funny…. I made these curtains last night and opend your site to see where you put your pocket for the rod and ….. TADA it was your POST!!! How very funny. I will have to post pictures of mine in my dining room :0) Diff. Fabric but still blue and white ;) THeyre AWSOME!

  24. Wow. I love blue and white and I'm a sewer from way back. Thanks for some needed answers on lining. Love your work.

    Mary

  25. I love those curtains. Just wish I knew how to sew.

  26. I just bought some fabric for my bedroom curtains and this is how I will make them! Thanks!

  27. Thanks for sharing again!

  28. Your timing on this post was spot on, I was just getting myself psyched up to make some panels for my bedroom. Funny thing is I can sew and almost enjoy it…not sure joy should be part of that word, but I like sewing you would think I would have more evidence in my home to prove that, but I don't sad to say. I need to feather and fluff my nest more.

  29. Ha, the hemming part makes me feel much better about my curtains!

  30. Marian,

    That is exactly how I sew my curtains!! And, I love the fact that you have not hemmed them yet – makes me feel human. They really are a signature of yours and they look ravishing in all of your pics.

  31. I just saw this fabric the other day when looking for fabric to recover my dining room chairs. I LOVED it so much but not for my chairs. May have to use it for curtains. Thanks for this post!

  32. I have coveted that fabric since I first layed eyes on your curtains. They are perfect for your style home and set the tone for the formality of your dining room. Crazy love for them.

    I ordered a swatch of the same fabric from Fabric.com, but it doesn't work with my decor. (insert sad Jenny here) Luckily I found another pattern by Waverly on the site that is a bit more modern and fits in with the decor of my home in a similar blue. Love it and now I just need to polish up my sewing skills. Patience is needed for sewing, and that is something that I am severely lacking! I always have sewn projects that only take one day to complete. If it takes more, they never get finished and eventually get thrown away. It's lame, but I blame my self-diagnosed ADD. Anyhoo, I figure I can finish one panel a day and I will be ok.

    Thanks for sharing your tips! You are
    a-w-e-s-o-m-e! (That was me, do a MMS cheer for you)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Imagine my delight when I came across this very fabric at my local Joanne Fabs in the remnant isle on the day all remnants were 50% off the rem price! Needless to say I swaggered out of that store with a roll of fabric at $7 a yard….SCORE!!!

  34. Thanks for your post! As a newly married college student I really appreciated all your hints and help, (especially those involving cheap ways and time savers).

    Thanks again!

  35. Lorna Sgroi says:

    Thank you for the curtain tutorial. I plan to try this very soon!
    I’m wondering about the gorgeous floor mat under your dining room table. Where did you find that?

  36. kiki knight says:

    Did you make the pleated seat covers on your dining chairs?

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