Do-it-yourself Window Treatments

Does making curtains sound completely intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. With a good set of directions and a sewing machine, people can make window treatments that are exactly what they want for a fraction of the cost of buying them online or in a store.

Sewing Patterns for Curtains and Shades

For those who aren’t quite comfortable with sewing sans pattern, there are plenty of commercial DIY curtain patterns available. Good window shade patterns are inexpensive, reusable, and fit a wide range of window sizes and styles. They can also help novices to make more complicated styles and add decorative flourishes to a plain curtain for extra visual interest.

How to Make Lined Curtains for Windows

Making lined curtains is easier than it sounds. These brief instructions are for sewing rod-pocket curtains:

  1. Measure for the desired finished width and height of the curtain.
  2. For the lining fabric, subtract about 1″ from the width and add 6″ to the height.
  3. For the curtain fabric, add 2″ to the width and about 7″ to the height.
  4. Lay the curtain fabric flat, right side down.
  5. Lay the lining fabric on top of it, centering it on the curtain.
  6. Fold the curtain fabric over 3/4″ until it touches the lining. Press in place.
  7. Fold over another 3/4″ and press.
  8. Pin and stitch, then repeat for the other side, the bottom, and the top.
  9. Fold the top down about 4″, then pin in place and sew to make a tube.

All that is left to do is slide the tube over the curtain rod and enjoy the new homemade curtain. An experienced sewer can turn out a set of these simple lined curtains in a few hours, while novices may expect to take about 5 hours.

How to Make Tab Top Curtains

Tab top curtains are slightly more difficult than rod-pocket curtains, but even a novice can sew tab top curtains. To make basic tab top curtains:

  1. Measure for the desired finished width and height of the curtain.
  2. For both the lining and the curtain fabric (which typically are the same color for tab top curtains), add 2″ to the width and subtract 3″ from the length.
  3. For the tabs, cut strips of fabric 8″ long and about 4″ wide. The number of tabs depends on the width of the curtain, so calculate how many will fit evenly spaced on the curtain about 3″ – 4″ apart.
  4. Fold the tabs lengthwise, wrong side out, and sew. Turn right side out , seam at the back, and press. Oversew the ends to make a loop.
  5. Lay the lining fabric down flat, right side up. Lay each of the tabs on top of the lining, pointing down with the raw sides even with the top of the lining. When they are evenly spaced, pin down.
  6. Law the curtain fabric wrong side up on top of the tabs and pin.
  7. Sew all around one side, the top, and the other side of the curtain. Leave the bottom unfinished for now.
  8. Clip the corners (careful not to cut the seam) and turn right side out.
  9. Finish the bottom by folding the bottom of the curtain up to the desired length, tucking it inside itself, pressing, and oversewing.

Tab top curtains look neat and professional. The tabs add some visual interest and personality to an otherwise plain curtain.

Shopping in retail stores takes a lot of time and money in comparison to just making custom window treatments at home. The finished product is a great-looking curtain that is exactly the right size, shape, and color, for less than the cost of buying curtains at the store. If one decides that they’re just not cut out for DIY window curtains, they can always look for sources of discount window treatments with retailers.

For a tutorial on the different kinds of window coverings – including blinds, shades, curtains, and drapes – please see Types of Window Treatments.