How to Sew Flat Panel Curtains

The curtains I made for our living room.

To some the idea of sewing their own curtains seems like a daunting task but the reality is that it is something that can totally be accomplished.  In the end you'll end up with something completely custom, completely hand made and completely satisfying.  In fact...satisfying and pride inducing because, Heck Yeah, you made them yourself!  So what are you waiting on for instructions and make some today!

To make and hang your curtains you will need the following materials:

  • Fabric for your panels
  • Corresponding thread
  • Fabric Shears
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing Ruler
  • Chalk Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Sewing Machine
  • Drapery Weights or Quarters (2 per curtain panel)
  • Curtain Rod
  • Clip Rings (About 8-10 rings per panel, depending on how far apart you want to space them.  Figure out the width of your finished panel and then how far you want to space the rings apart.  Anywhere from 4 to 8 inches apart is standard.  Then you can figure out how many rings you would need per panel)
To make the curtains:

Step 1:  Determine how much fabric you will need.  Use a tape measure to measure where you want your curtain panel to start and end.  I measured mine so that the curtains would hang 9 inches above the window and so that the bottom hem would just kiss the floor.  Then add 4 inches for the upper hem and 8 inches for the bottom hem.  Multiply this number by the number of panels you will need.  Then divide this number by 12 to get the total feet of fabric needed and divide again by 3 to get the total number of yards.  Remember if the fabric you use has a pattern you will need to account for the pattern repeat so that the pattern on your individual panels will line up correctly.

Step 2:  Pull a thread to square off the fabric.  Trim away excess fabric.

I'm pulling the treads to ensure a straight edge to work with.

Trimming away excess threads to get a true straight edge.

Step 3:  Check to make sure your fabric is on grain.  This is an essential step.  If you do not check and your fabric is off grain, your curtains will not hang correctly.  I learned this the hard way when the first two panels I made were hung and the bottom hem looked like it was walking uphill.  I found a great tutorial that tells you to fix off grain fabric and make sure it is on grain here.

Step 4:  Measure and cut your fabric.  Use your sewing ruler and chalk pencil to mark intervals along the cut line so that you ensure you cut the fabric straight.  Meaning if you want to cut a piece of fabric 87 inches long for example, measure 87 inches down at several points from the top edge of your fabric making a dotted line.  Then connect the dotted lines with your ruler and chalk pencil and you have a straight edge to cut.

Step 5:  Starting with one curtain panel, fold and press the full amount of the bottom hem allowance.  8 inches for a completed hem of 4 inches.

As you can see I folded the bottom hem of the fabric up 8 inches

Step 6:  Unfold the bottom hem and fold up half way, 4 inches.  Press the fabric and then them refold it along the first fold line.  This will give you a bottom hem that is 4 inches in length.  Pin the hem in place.

Folding the hem up half way.
The result should look similar to this.

Step 7:  Stitch the bottom hem.

I used the left edge of the presser foot as my guide when stitching the hem.  I lined the top edge of the hem up with the left side of the presser foot to get a straight stitch accross the bottom hem.

Step 8:  Now prepare the side hems for stitching.  Fold and press the fabric in 3 inches on one side.

Step 9:  Unfold and fold up half way (1 1/2 inches) and press.  Then refold the fabric along the first fold line you made and pin in place to get the double fold side hem. 

Your pinned side hem should look similar to this.

Step 10:  Insert a drapery weight or quarter into the bottom corner of each side of the panel and pin in place.

I inserted a quarter in the bottom two corners of my panel to serve as drapery weights.

I pinned the quarter in place along the side and the bottom so that I wouldn't accidently hit it with my needle while sewing and damage my machine.

Step 11:  Stitch the side hem.

Step 12:  Repeat steps 8 through 11 on the other side of the curtain panel.

Step 13:  Now create the upper hem of the curtain panel.  Fold down 4 inches for the upper hem and press.

Step 14:  Unfold and fold up half way to the fold line you just created (2 inches).  Refold to the first fold line for the double hem and pin in place.

Step 15:  Stitch the top hem.

Step 16:  Repeat steps 5 through 15 until all your curtain panels are sewn.

Step 17:  Do a little dance cause your curtain panels are done and ready to hang!  Go on now!

Step 18:  Attach clip rings to your curtain panels at measured intervals.  I spaced mine 6 inches apart but you could do more or less depending on how many pleats you want when your curtains are hung. 

Clip Rings

Step 19:  Install your curtain rods according to the manufacturer's instructions and hang your curtains.

Step 20:  Grab a glass of wine or a cappuccino, sit back and admire your work!

My finished curtains

Side Note:  Once you hang your curtains you may notice that the pleats are not falling exactly as you'd like them to.  Have no fear...they just need to be trained.  To train them, form the pleats in the fabric as you'd like them to hang, then loosely tie trash bags around the curtains, one at the top, one at the middle, and one at the bottom.  Leave them on three days and then when you remove them the pleats should stay as you would like.

Thanks for stopping by.  Till next time, dear readers.

P.S.  If you like what you see then please check me out on Instagram @cornerofcharmandstyle


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