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I've needed a new curtain on our backdoor for quite some time now. I had one on there that was short and golden brown and not beautiful at all. After I replaced furniture a few years ago, the color scheme has changed and I wanted something new for the backdoor. It faces West and so in the afternoon, the sun comes through it and I needed to keep it from blinding us as we sit in the family room but still not be too heavy and dark. So, one day I was looking in the fabric department in Walmart and I found this fabric that I thought would look great with my sofa and pillows in my family room. It was kind of a bold move for me. What do you think?
It is a Waverly decorator fabric. Waverly is known for their decorator fabrics and Walmart is a good place to find them at a good price.
Well, whether you agree with my choice or not, I thought that this would be a great time to show you some basic sewing skills and how to make a simple curtain for a French door.
To begin with, it is always best, when making curtains, to iron your fabric so it is smooth and easy to work with. You are going to want the curtains to hang nicely and starting with a nice, creasless fabric is very helpful. Also, there is going to be measuring involved, so having the fabric flat will help your measurements be more accurate.
A good rule of thumb for gathered curtains is to measure the width of your window and plan on having fabric 2 to 2.5 times that measurement. Even up to 3 times if you want an extra full look. On my skinny French door window, my fabric was already twice as wide as the width of my window, so that was perfect for this application. If your window is wider, you may have to:
Also measure the length. Then, add a couple of inches at the top and 3 or 4 inches at the bottom for the hems. I will be using a spring loaded curtain rod that fits inside my window frame to hold my curtain. But, the method I am showing you would also work with a regular rod that is screwed onto the outer parts of the window molding. I like to be generous with the hems for a couple of reasons:
The Iron is Your Friend
Once you have cut out your curtain panel, the first thing you will want to do is hem the sides of the panel. Save yourself a lot of headaches and wavy edges by using your iron to help you do this. Click on the pictures below to see how I did it.
Because I used the full width of my fabric, my salvage edges were already finished. I did not need to fold my side hems over twice. If you have a cut edge, you should fold them over twice to prevent fraying. Also, since i had striped fabric, I was able to use those stripes to make sure my hem was even all of the way along. You need to check that the screen printing on your fabric is straight in order to do this. Mine was and it worked out great.
The opposite side was also finished. I made sure that I turned enough fabric to the inside to hide those machining holes that you sometimes see on the edge of fabric. I also made sure that the colored strip on each side of the curtain was about the same. It was a small detail, but I liked the way it turned out. By pressing down the crease as I turned the fabric, I didn't need to use pins. If you don't have a striped fabric, you should measure the width of the fabric that you are turning in. I will describe this later when I do the hems at the bottom and top.
Once the side seams are finished, it is time to move onto the top hem and casing for the curtain rod. Because the two narrower ends, top and bottom, will be cut ends, you do need to fold them over twice to prevent fraying and to add strength to hold the rod. Once again, click the photos below to see how I did it.
Fold up and press about 3/4 to 1" of fabric to the wrong side. Press into place. A good rule when using a stripe is that the stripes should match when they are folded over on each other. Also, measure from the edge of the fabric to the fold line to make sure you are keeping an even hem. Use a zig zag stitch to hold this first fold in place and to keep the fabric from fraying.
Marking the Hem
Once the top casing is finished, I started on the hem by folding it up only once and zig zagging it. Then, I put the curtain rod in the top casing and hung the curtain in the door in order to measure how deep to make the hem.
I decided that I wanted my curtain to hit just below the molding of the window. So, just like I would do if I were hemming a dress, I pinned it up to the point that I wanted it to be.
Then, I left the curtain on the rod, but took it back to my ironing board and measured and ironed that hem into place, making sure the hem was the same depth all of the way across.
If you decided that you wanted to put another tension rod along the bottom of the curtain, you could also use this bottom hem as a rod pocket. If you are going to do that, just hem it up short enough to fit inside your window casing. Then, sew an extra stitch 1.5" up from the bottom to hold the rod.
You may also be interested in this curtain tutorial I did for my living room:
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!