Monday, August 13, 2012

Worlds Easiest Curtains: A Tutorial

I was so thrilled with how simple and easy the curtain panels for my living room were to make, that I decided to share my success in the form of a quick tutorial. They really are the easiest curtains I've ever made- I can't believe I didn't try this method sooner!

You'll need the following materials to complete this project:

1. Fabric
2. Thread and bobbin
3. Pins
4. Scissors
5. Iron and Ironing board
6. Sewing machine
7. Tape measure (I used a fabric tape measure since that's what I had on hand. A utility one will work, too).

Step 1: Install your curtain rod at the desired height.

Our previous drapes were hanging on one of those cheap, white L-bracket hanging rods that was screwed into the beautiful wood trim of our window. It added nothing in terms of height or drama to the room (not to mentioned ruined some gorgeous dark, wood trim). I opted to install the curtain rod in the space just above the window trim, and right below the crown molding.

Step 2: Measure.

I went ahead and pre-installed the ring clips that my curtain panels would hang from so that it would be easy to install the curtains without having to bother with unscrewing the finials, sliding the whole mess onto the rod, and clearing the hanging hooks without getting tangled in the process. It also would make getting the correct length easier. I simply clipped the end of my measuring tape on one of the hooks, and measured down to the floor. I also added an extra inch to compensate for my hem seams (approx a half inch each side).

Step 3: Cut your fabric.

Spread your fabric out on a large cutting space (I used the floor), and measure the desired length. Don't forget to compensate for the hem on top and bottom. I added an extra inch for this. You can add additional length depending on how much you wish the fabric to pool onto the floor. I measured so that mine would barely kiss the carpet. Our dogs like to nap in the corner under the end table, and extra long drapes could spell disaster if they were to lay on it.

Step 4:  Pin the edges.

Get your trusty ironing board and iron out, and get ready to do the hardest and most tedious portion of this project: pinning your seams. On the sides, I simply folded in the selvedge of the fabric (that white strip on the sides with fabric info). You can either simply fold this edge over once since a selvedge is a self-finished, woven edge that won't fray, or you can fold it in once more (which is what I did) to hide this edge and make your seams look more finished. Using an iron to press the seams really made the job of pinning easy, and helped keep everything straight in the long-run.

Once you've pinned the sides, press and pin the hem of your top edge as well. This will make sewing faster and easier to sew. Instead of having to cut your thread and start over on each edge, you can simply lift the presser foot on your machine, give your panel a quick turn, and keep going.

Option: If you're sewing machine challenged, or just don't have time to sew (hey, I won't judge) then you can skip the sewing step all-together, and use iron on hem tape instead. I've never actually used hem tape to make curtains, so I cannot speak to it's durability, but I've heard that it's a great sew-free option. If you try it out, let me know!

Step 5: Sew!

Thread your machine and bobbin with a matching thread, and go to town!

Optional step: Once you have three of your ends sewn, take your fabric and hold it up to the ring clips on your curtain rod. This will give you a good visual on how your curtain panel will hang, and the approximate length it will cascade. It will also give you the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments to your bottom hem. I chose to make my panel just a tad shorter after this so that it would barely kiss the floor instead of pool onto it. Once you have confirmation on how well it will hang, press and pin your bottom edge, and sew the final hem.

Step 6: Iron your finished curtain panel and hang.

You're heading down the home stretch now that all four of your edges are hemmed! Before you get antsy and jump up the step stool to hang your curtain panels (like I did), you'll want to iron your new drapes to make sure any wrinkles or creases in the fabric are smoothed out. I only completed one panel at a time, so if you're like me.. repeat steps one through six, and you're done!

Step 7: Dance it out!

Oh yeah, this easy-peasy project deserves some celebration! You'll be doing a little happy dance while admiring all of your handy work! Way to go!

So that's it! Seven easy steps to get some fabulous looking curtains. Have any tips or tricks for easy DIY curtains? Share them with us so we can all be "in the know"!  

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