Friday, February 1, 2013

Sewing 101: Project #2 / Simple Curtains

Just after we were married we moved into the cheapest 1 bedroom apartment we could find within walking distance of the college I was attending at the time.  It was safe and relatively clean - but man was it ugly!  Somehow I had to make it tolerable for the year that we were there, so I pulled out my still-boxed sewing machine from my mother, opened it up and got to work sewing my first-ever pair of curtains for our living room.  If you can sew your own curtains and throw pillows, you can transform a space without doing anything else.

The following directions will teach you how to sew a very simple back-tab curtain panel.  Once you've mastered this, you'll be equipped to sew all sorts of different curtain panels as well.


- Basic sewing machine
- 6 meters of fabric of your choice (I suggest starting with a cotton)
- 1 spool of thread (colour to match the main colour of your fabric)
Fabric scissors
- Straight pins
- Measuring tape
- Pencil

- Iron & ironing board



Measure your window to determine the size you would like your curtains to be.  I like my curtains to come up about 6" above the window frame and fall to the floor, but you can do whatever you want!  When you know how long you need your curtains to be, add at least 3" for the bottom hem, and 5" for the top band (extra 8" total), then measure, mark and cut your fabric according to your measurement.


Cut a 5" wide strip from your fabric:

Then cut that strip into 3" x 5" pieces (you'll want 14 total for 2 curtain panels):


Sew a 1/2" hem on either 5" side of each piece:

Fold edge over by 1/4" and iron.
Fold over again and iron., then do the same to the other side.
When finished, the piece should be 2" wide and 5" long.
To save time, feed the pieces into the sewing machine one after the other.  When you're finished one side, turn it around and do the other side.
You should come out with a big chain like this.
Separate the pieces by snipping the threads in between each piece.
You should end up with a pile of 2"x5" tabs.


Hem both long sides of your curtain panel:

Fold edge over by 1/4", iron.  Fold over again and iron.

Sew.  Repeat on the other side.


Iron out your 2"x5" tabs wrong-side up.

Fold ends in 1/2" and iron:

Your tabs should now be about 4" long.


Place one end of your hemmed curtain panel wrong-side up on your ironing board.

Fold top edge over by 1/2" and iron.

Fold top edge over by 4" and iron:


Measure the width of the top of your curtain panel and place a pin at the mid-point:

Pin a tab right-side up on each end of the top of the curtain panel and in the middle.

Evenly space out the rest of the tabs in between the end and middle tabs (7 total) :

Sew along the top edge of the curtain panel, crossing over the top of the tabs, removing the pins as you go:

Sew along the bottom of the 4" cuff, crossing over the bottom of the tabs, removing the pins as you go:


Lay the curtain panel flat on the floor and measure the desired length of your curtain from the top:

You should have a couple extra inches of fabric at the bottom of the curtain panel:

To create a 1/2" bottom hem, trim the bottom of the curtain panel so that you have 1 1/4" of extra fabric at the bottom. Place the curtain's bottom edge wrong-side up on your ironing board.  Fold the bottom edge down by 1/2" and iron. Fold over by 1/2" again and iron.

Sew bottom hem:

Lay your completed curtain panel out on the floor and re-measure the length to make sure you got it right!


Insert the curtain rod through the tabs on the back of the curtain panel, and install the rod on the wall above your window frame!

Enjoy your new custom curtains!


  1. I love your new sewing machine tutorials. I don't have my own sewing machine, yet, but I have access to one. I hope to make some of these curtains, and I can't wait to see what project you publish next.


  2. You’re such an expert in making curtains, Abby! You can turn a novice reader into a master, upon reading your tutorial. It’s very detailed and direct to the point. It looks like simple curtain but it is perfect with your door!

    Roxie Tenner

  3. I absolutely love your blog! Specially the photos because they are so artistic and so creative. And detailed too! I followed you on GFC! Hoping you can come by my blog and follow me too :) Thank you for this post! I can't wait to read more of your posts. More power to you!

    Your new follower,

  4. Wow I appreciate this blog making simple curtain for interior glass doors, very resourceful so keep up the good work!

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