Making curtains can sometimes be easier and less expensive than combing through dozens of stores to find the exact right match for the sofa in the living room. Sewing curtains can be a fun and easier project if some simple tips are kept in mind. Pick a fabric that is suitable for the situation, always launder the fabric before sewing, and be sure to measure the window correctly.
Before making curtains, decide what the purpose of the curtains will be. Some curtains simply serve as an aesthetic accent. They soften the line of a window or hang lower than the window sill to make the window seem longer than it is. The curtains in another room may be needed for privacy or to keep out noise or light. Still others may be used as insulation to keep air conditioning from leaking out of the windows.
Choosing the right fabric for a curtain project can determine whether the curtain does what it was intended to do. If the curtain is intend for aesthetic purposes, the only real concern is whether it will fade with exposure to sunlight. If using a natural fabric like cotton for making curtains, make sure the fibers are vat-dyed. Synthetic fabrics resist sun fading best if they are solution dyed. Fabric care tags should state the method of dying used.
If making curtains to keep out noise or light or to insulate a room, make sure the fabric is heavy enough to do the job. A thin cotton fabric will not make a good black-out curtain. Heavy fabrics are best. Satin, velvet, and thick linen are all good choices. If using a light fabric, be sure to add a cotton or rayon lining. Be sure the curtain and the lining visually complement each other.
Fabric, especially cotton fabric, that has not been pre-shrunk may shrink or warp the first time it is laundered. When making curtains, it is best to wash the fabric before doing any sewing. Simply follow the normal laundering directions for that type of fabric. Then iron to make sure the fabric is flat and even.
When measuring for curtains, be sure to measure each window. A slight difference in window size can leave curtains looking crooked. Do not measure the inside of the window. Instead, measure length from the curtain rod to the point on the wall where the curtains will stop.
When measuring width, allow for stack back. This is the space the curtain fabric will take up when the curtain is open. The average fabric will take up a few inches on either side of the window. To keep from narrowing the window, measure a few inches out on either side of the window frame.