Sewing Links for Home Decor/Pattern projects
October 4, 2011 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Sewing and Curtains

I bought my sewing machine (thanks for all the great advice) and am now looking to start some sewing projects.

My goal is home decor and first step is curtains. I am looking for online videos and books that are good.

i know of Pattern review and youtube but frankly can't find a good video that shows how to make curtains with seams. In addition, looking for Headers/casings and how to create those.

Any links would be awesome, thanks in advance
posted by pakora1 to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what you mean by "curtains with seams," but here's what I did. I sewed my curtains by hand. If you want the most basic kind it is insanely easy. Measure the length of the window (or the length you want the curtains to be) and add about six inches for the casing and hems. As for width, the natural width of the yardage should work for an average sized window if you have two curtains and then you don't need to hem the sides.

So, you hem the bottom--pins and an iron are your friends here. I used a measuring tape too to make sure it didn't get uneven. I think I started by ironing the hem up 3/4 inch (against the wrong side, of course) and then folding it under itself 1/4 inch so I was left with a half inch hem. Then sew on that 1/4 inch folded over part to get a neat hem and thank god you have a machine.

The tube at the top is the same but easier since you don't have to deal with such fiddly small sizes. Just make sure it's wide enough (pin first, then sew) to accommodate the curtain rod you want.
posted by chaiminda at 7:04 PM on October 4, 2011

Curtains are easy sewing wise but can be difficult as you are fighting large pieces of fabric.

Rule of thumb is to double the width of the window for nice full curtains (i.e. if using two panels, each panel should be the full width of the window)

If you could clarify exactly what type of curtains you want we could likely point you in the right direction - there are many different styles of headers for curtains.
posted by davey_darling at 7:33 PM on October 4, 2011

Have you been to a local library and gone through their sewing books? They probably have at least a shelf's worth. Get a couple on home decor or beginning sewing, and flip through them. The beginner books are usually pretty well illustrated so you can follow along anxiously with the pictures. That will also give you an idea what you like and don't like in sewing books, so you can look for some that you want to actually invest in. The library may even have some that you like enough that you want to buy them. They also usually have some from the 60s or 70s that are fun to look through.

I have a "for dummies" book for simple home decor, that I like a lot. I borrowed this Reader's Digest guide from a friend, which is also good.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:34 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just made curtains- I made mine too long so what do I know, but it was really easy.
I borrowed a friend's machine and even though I haven't used one in 15+ years, it was smooth sailing (for the most part, except when I sewed the curtain to itself in the middle by accident).

Here's what I did:
1. Measure the length on the wall of how tall you want your curtains to be. You can always hem more but you can't add easily. Add about 4 inches for hems. Also buy extra fabric like another 8-12 inches so you can make tiebacks and tabs if you want.

2. Fold hems over and iron in place. I think ironing is easier and less fussy than pins, ymmv. I did hems all the way around since my yardage was abnormal and I couldn't use the sides as seams.

3. I like the way tabs look, so I made tabs. If you want to do that, you can fold right sides together of a long strip about 8 inches wide and then turn the tube you just made inside out so you have the seam on the inside.
Then cut that long tube into shorter 8 inch pieces (or however long you want your tabs to be after going over the curtain rod and divided by two). Fold them in half and put the rough ends together and sew them to the back end of your curtains every 10-12 inches or whatever you want for spacing.

4. Tiebacks: If you want matching tiebacks, and who doesn't, then make another tube but this time skinnier. Cut it in half (of you have 2 curtains) and sew one end of each half shut. Turn right-side out and then fold the edges of the bad end inward into the tube and make a seam on the outside (but at least it has no rough edges).

Once you have it all in place, slide your curtain rod through your tabs and put it up. You can either nail your tiebacks in their centers to the wall on either side of your curtain, or if you want the curtain to hang in the middle, just leave them free and tie when you want.
posted by rmless at 8:29 PM on October 4, 2011

rmless has it. I like to buy the iron-in fusible webbing and iron and fuse the hem down, then sew (the webbing gives it weight, plus secures the hem before you sew). If you don't want to deal with wide swaths of fabric, make several panels rather than the traditional two.

Tabs are fancier, but a plain old rod pocket is easy as pie.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:21 PM on October 4, 2011

I may be wrong, but I think what the OP may be talking about is joining fabric so that the seam isn't on the outside of the pleat, and instead is properly hidden inside the fold of the pleat.

I have an expensive pair of curtains, but they weren't constructed properly so the joins where the panels are seamed together (to get the width needed to cover the window) are on the top of the pleat, and looking at has annoyed me for years. These are traditional, pinch-pleated curtains. (A big part of what bugs me is that for the price paid to sew the curtains, they should have been done properly.)

It has been ages since I was involved in making curtains, so I can't remember the trick to joining the panels in the proper place, but maybe sites like this, this or this may offer some starter guidance, even if they don't get into the part of hiding the seam in the dip of the pleat. (I know they're not videos, but I've only got the time to pull a few static web pages. Sorry.)

If I had to guess (or I was attempting to do this myself without any guidance) I think I'm make the curtains a bit fuller than absolutely necessary -- not by much, but maybe by an inch or two -- and just rough in the pleats before sewing. Then I'd check to see where the join occurs. If it's in the valley between the pleats, great. If not then I'd move/adjust the pleats, which is where the extra width comes in handy.
posted by sardonyx at 10:06 PM on October 4, 2011

I made my first set of fully-lined curtains using information from the Channel4 website.

How to Measure For Curtains
How To Make Unlined Curtains
How To Make Lined Curtains

(note: I used a previous version of these guides, but the content looks to be similar)
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:17 AM on October 5, 2011

There are plenty of tutorials for simple hem-a-couple-of-fabric-panels curtains on the web, but if you want to make anything more involved, I second checking out the sewing books at your local library. I just made some big, lined, blackout curtains, and I found decorating books from the 80's and 90's to be the most helpful (sorry I can't recall specific book names!).
posted by rebeccabeagle at 6:42 AM on October 5, 2011

A friend told me that, when sewing two large panels together, start the seam at the bottom and go to the top, and the fabric will hang better and make the seam less obvious.

I have not verified this, but I trust that she knows what she's talking about. I even trust that I remember her instructions right.
posted by aimedwander at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2011

Putting the rod through a tube is all very well, but it's very easy to use curtain heading tape, sold in the UK as Rufflette tape. Make sure you use a heavy-duty needle to get through all those layers.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:35 AM on October 5, 2011

Response by poster: thanks!

yes i meant sewing two seams together since i am doing a 2x material for the windows to get enough pleats.

Any book suggestions for home decor?
posted by pakora1 at 3:20 PM on October 8, 2011

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