Make your Own Curtains?

When you're looking through those house interior magazines and admiring the beautiful window dressings do you find yourself thinking 'wouldn't it be great if I could have something like that at my windows'.

Then you remind yourself not to be silly, they are way too expensive.

But have you ever considered that maybe you could make your own?

Making your own curtains, or drapes, as they're sometimes called can seem like a very daunting prospect, but with practice you really can do it.

With a little patience stitching straight lines on a sewing machine, or handstitching, can become second nature to anyone.

And it's not just plain curtains, you can create lined, interlined, thermal or insulated, they are all within the reach of the beginner.

Other accessories include tiebacks, curtain headings and valances of differing styles such as pencil pleat, goblet pleat and pinch pleat.

Now that you're thinking that it might just be possible what do you need to make it happen?

The first thing is somewhere to make them, a spare room is ideal, or perhaps a converted garage or basement.

You can erect a simple table and leave it up (you're bound to have friends ask you to make theirs!), and the lighter and airier the room the better.

If it's on the ground floor you won't have to lug great rolls of fabric up or down the stairs. It needs to be at least 8ft x 16ft, or maybe a little less in length if you have somewhere to tuck your sewing machine.

Also make sure it has decent lighting, I use a strip light as bright as daylight.

The biggest piece of equipment you'll need is a suitable table and a sewing machine.

My table is 8ft x 4ft, the biggest sheet of wood available, and even then it could be bigger, perhaps an extra couple of feet both ways, this is easily achieved by having a couple of drop-down hinged extensions.

Another option if you don't have a spare room is to get by with a collapsible table which you could put up as required.

One of the easiest designs I've seen is a flat board and a couple of builder's trestles to rest it on, but this isn't really ideal.

The dining room table is probably the worst choice, although it's big and flat you can't stick pins into it and it certainly isn't big enough to measure your fabric on.

If you have no choice measure your fabric out on the floor, you can even make your curtains on the floor but oh, your poor back and knees!

Your table needs to be covered in curtain interlining and topped off with curtain lining, this gives a firm but soft surface.

I have two sewing machines, one small commercial machine which is perfectly capable of handling most fabrics but will struggle with thicker fabrics, and an industrial machine.

An industrial machine can be bought pre-owned if necessary, they really are built to last.

Other smaller items are a steam iron, cottons, needles and glass-headed pins and a tape and ruler. A weight, or clamps, are also useful.

If you have any experience with fabrics, either mending your spouse's clothing or perhaps even making clothing, then it's quite easy to build on that experience.

A good source of information can be found in books or the internet, some resources, of course, go into more detail than others, more help on a personal level can be found on the internet.

If you've never sat behind a sewing machine though don't worry, curtains are straight lines after all!

A certain amount of dexterity can be useful as there is some hand-stitching involved in the better quality curtains.

If you don't have a lot of experience with a sewing machine then it's a good idea to practice runs on a piece of fabric which you've drawn straight lines on. This will help you to gain experience as well as confidence.

Probably your best skill is going to be patience and the ability to follow instructions. With these qualities beautiful curtain and drapery creations can easily be within your grasp.

See you in the sewing room.

By: Sally Harvey

About the Author:

Sally Harvey has been making curtains and soft furnishings since 1978. She's worked in commercial workrooms and latterly as an out-worker working from home. A 'Getting Started' ebook is available for download at