Anna’s Nest

How To Make Lined Curtains

22 August 08

Sewing Lined Curtains

UPDATE: Oct 27, 2013 – Thanks for all the great comments! This post has been incredibly more popular than I ever imagined. Wow! Thanks for visiting and feel free to poke around. Even though it’s kind of dusty around here, I’m hoping to be adding more soon.

I hope I’ve been able to answer all your questions – some other very helpful folks have also left answers in their comments – I’ve tried to incorporate most of these into the tutorial but feel free to ask any more that I’ve missed. I read and appreciate each one! :) Now go enjoy your beautiful curtains!

Making your own curtains is easy-peasy, and making lined curtains is just one step up from the plain ol’ kind (and lined curtains last longer, provide a better screen for hot sunlight, and probably have some other benefits I’m not thinking of right now).

One side-effect I didn’t really expect is that making your own curtains is also very gratifying. I would recommend it on that point alone, although I also very much appreciate the economical points as well. In my world of work that is constantly undone, it’s so nice to have something that I can look at that I can think to myself, “Yeah! I did that! And look! It’s still done!” Kind of hard to wrap my mind around, come to think of it. Anyway, as I go from changing a diaper to washing the dishes, it’s nice to have a reminder that some of my efforts stick around for a bit longer.

When buying fabric for curtains, I recommend splurging and buying the fabric that you really want, not just whatever is cheapest. I know it’s sometimes hard, (it is for me anyway) to buy the nice upholstery weight fabric when just yards away (heehee! get it? – sorry, I’m a bit punchy tonight) is sitting a perfectly “alright” fabric for half the price or less. But this curtain is going to make a huge impact on your room. So go for the stuff you really like (if you’re watching your pennies, you can wait for a sale or coupon). Buy your liner fabric based on the intensity of the light you are trying to block. They sell “black out” liner, good especially in bedrooms where you want to block out the maximum amount of light. I just bought the regular stuff; perfect for my purposes.

For this tutorial, I’ve used the measurements I used to make floor-length curtains for my own window, which is 67” wide x 49” tall, with the curtain rod about 87” off the floor. However, you can easily adapt these instructions for any size window. Also, please read through the instructions before you start – you may find something I did that you would rather do differently and need to adjust accordingly.

1. Cut your fabric. I want my curtains to be a little long so I cut my decorative fabric (hereafter referred to as “DF”) 94” x 55”, and cut the liner 92” x 47” (2” less than the DF at the bottom, and 4” less on either side), leaving room for a 7” hem at the bottom of each, and 4-6” for the rod pocket at the top.

_UPDATE: A handy rule of thumb here – figure out how long you want your finished curtain to be, then add the extra inches you need for your rod pocket at the top and your hem at the bottom (in this case, my “formula” for the DF looked like this: fabric length = finished length + 4”[rod] + 7”[hem]). Then you can figure out the measurements for the liner fabric based on that.
Also, Sheila (comment #51) has some good points about curtain width._

Now you get to start the fun part – sewing! :u)

2. Hem both the DF and the liner. With the wrong side facing you and the edge of the fabric intended for the lower edge of the drape pointed toward you, fold the bottom edge up 2” and press, then 5” more and press.

3. Now you are going to do something called a “blind hem”. If you’ve never done one before, this video by Jenny T. (I don’t know who she is, but she makes a mean “how to” video!) is a helpful tool to give you an idea of what it is and how to do it:

(note: The video says to do this hem you need to get a special blind hem foot for your sewing machine. In actuality, you don’t really need a special foot to do this hem, but I imagine it would be helpful. When I did this project I actually didn’t realize there was such a thing as a blind hem foot, and just used my regular presser foot, while sewing carefully – I think I used the inside curve of the foot as a guide. My hem was perhaps a teensy bit more wobbly than it would have been otherwise, but I think it turned out fine)

Here’s my hem, all set up for me to sew it up with my super-special blind hem stitch (Actually I have a very basic machine, so I imagine nearly all machines have this stitch or something comparable or better. But don’t tell my sewing machine. It thinks that it’s a super special blind hem stitch, and we might as well let it. It just makes my sewing machine so happy.)
Sewing Lined Curtains
If all this nonsense about blind hems just makes your head hurt, just do a regular hem – follow step 1 as directed, and then just go ahead and sew a straight seam across. I do encourage you to try, though – it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. And I learned how to sew a blind hem!

4. Now, sew up the sides with a 1/2” seam allowance. This isn’t tricky at all – just turn both your DF and the liner right side together (as if you were making a pillow), and sew up both sides. Make sure you match up the edges of the fabric from the top down.
Sewing Lined Curtains
You will end up with extra DF at the bottom and center. This is okay. It’s all part of the plan. I like lots (okay, 2”) of extra DF at the bottom (I think I saw a hanging curtain like that once – I don’t know if there’s a reason for the extra fabric), but if you prefer less, you can plan accordingly (cut more liner, or hem it up less).

5. Turn everything right side out, and press. You will have extra DF; make your crease with 2” (on either side) of the extra DF. This is where the extra 2” in the cutting guide image above comes in handy. Take a look at it if you’re confused.

6. Next, you want to sew a seam all the way down both sides, to hold the crease you just made in place.Sewing Lined Curtains

7. Lastly, make the pocket for your curtain rod. Fold the top (both the liner fabric and the DF) over 1” and press, and 3 more inches and press again. Sew along the bottom of this tube, making a tube that is about 3” tall.
Sewing Lined Curtains

Yay! You’re done! Hang your curtain and step back and admire your brilliant (and lasting!) handiwork!
Curtains!

Feel free to add your own recommendations and/or corrections to my instructions in the comments (I really appreciate these, so don’t hold back!)

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  1. These are beautiful Anna. I love them. I’ll have to tell my sister in law – she being the one who owns a nice sewing machine (not me. :( )

    megan    Sep 23, 01:13 PM    #
  2. Absolutely lovely! I need to make some of those for my house.

    erika    Oct 1, 01:48 PM    #
  3. I have struggled for a year trying to find fabric. These curtains are just stunning. I love the simplicity and the fabric is just wonderful. I needed the inspiration….

    Karla Neumann    Oct 23, 06:35 AM    #
  4. Megan and Erika – thank you so much! I’m glad you like it! Karla – I’m so happy my tutorial inspired you! Please let me know if you do try it out – I hope it works out great for you!

    Anna W    Oct 23, 03:27 PM    #
  5. I realize that I am SOOOO late reading this post but I wanted to say you are a godspend. I was trying to do the calculations in my head and I could smell the smoke. Just wondering where did you get that fantastic fabric?

    Jade    Mar 25, 02:16 PM    #
  6. Hi, Jade! I’m so glad my tut helped you! I found the fabric at Hancock’s (on sale!). I think it was in the upholstery fabric section or something. It was awhile ago, but it’s possible they still have it, or something comparable. Good luck! :u)

    anna w    Mar 25, 03:57 PM    #
  7. Hi Anna

    I got onto this page via a search for how to make lined curtains. Thank you for your curtain instructions! I liked the included video clip for blind hem (your added comments were helpful) & the pics of your project. Am about to try this, will be getting material soon. I also wanted to say that while I was here I browsed some other topics in your blog and I really liked the spiritual section.

    Ver

    Ver    Apr 22, 05:09 PM    #
  8. Hi Anna!
    I love your website. I have now purchased my DF and I did not let price inhibit what I really wanted (thank goodness it was on sale!) You have convinced me to use the blackout backing and I am going to try the blind hem stitch. I haven’t sewn in years, but I recently decided it was time again.
    Thanks for the great help!
    Jodie

    Jodie    Jul 15, 03:26 PM    #
  9. Thank you Anna for your extremely clear and confidence-building instructions. I am sure, thanks to you,that I will finish the nursery curtains for my grandson, who is due any day now, before he makes his grand entrance.

    Carol    Sep 6, 12:51 PM    #
  10. Hi Anna

    Just finished my first panel and it is beautiful! Way easier than I thought. The blind hem video was especially helpful. What I spent for the DF for four panels would have bought only one ready made. Thanks!!

    leslie    Sep 17, 05:13 PM    #
  11. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for the tutorial! I am curious if you can recommend a fabric for the liner that would serve as a thermal backing?

    thanks!

    jen    Oct 9, 01:36 PM    #
  12. Thanks for adding the blind hem stitch video. It was really helpful. It is good to see it in action, and not just details about how to do it. I also love your fabric choice for the curtains.

    Kari    Oct 29, 08:09 PM    #
  13. Great blog! these curtains are gorgeous, love the pattern. I found this to be useful too:

    /www.life123.com/hobbies/sewing-quilting/sewing/making-basic-curtains.shtml

    Lydia    Nov 19, 05:05 PM    #
  14. Can’t wait to get started. Really like your curtains. Thanks!

    Meshelle    Jan 28, 04:50 PM    #
  15. Great tutorial! And thanks so much for including my video!! :)

    Jenny T.

    Jenny T.    Mar 29, 09:29 PM    #
  16. Thanks so much for this, I’m working with a very stubborn set of curtains right now and was pulling my hair out until I stumbled upon this lovely tutorial. Thank you so much for putting it together! I’d also like to share this page where I got the material list and instructions for my curtains: Bed Bath Store

    Lauren    May 27, 05:52 PM    #
  17. Found your great instructions when I googled “how to make lined curtains.” I’m about to make curtains for my daughter and this is a great help. Just wondered—I noticed you didn’t use the blind stitch on the sides. Was there a reason for that? Otherwise, I think I understand it and can’t wait to get started. Thanks very much.

    Eleanor    Jul 20, 07:29 PM    #
  18. Thank you, Anna, for this tutorial. I had never made curtains before (or used the blind hem stitch — in fact, I had rarely used a sewing machine at all) but yesterday I used your instructions and a neighbor’s sewing machine to make four beautiful panels for our French doors in 24 hours.

    I bought plain muslin for the lining fabric and added three drapery weights per panel in the bottom hem. I used the “wrong” side of the fabric on the outside, because the pattern showed just as well, and it was a nicer muted shade.

    The drapes look just as good as the VERY expensive custom-made panel in the dining room next door. And, as you say, the project was hugely satisfying. Now I’m itching for more sewing projects, and my own machine!

    I’d be happy to email you a picture, if you’re interested.

    Laura    Jul 22, 05:21 PM    #
  19. Anna—after making one curtain, I see that my comment about doing a blind hem on the side was silly. If I’m understanding it correctly, it’s not really a hem, but just holding it together where it was folded. At first, I was folding it over again (to make a hem), but I don’t believe that’s what you meant. Hope I’m doing it right—looks good anyway! Thanks again.
    Eleanor

    Eleanor    Aug 1, 08:25 PM    #
  20. Thanks for your user-friendly site. I wonder does anyone leave the curtain bottom open? A few years back I made the curtains similar to your instructions except for the bottom – I hemmed the liner to itself and the DF to itself.

    Jill    Aug 31, 11:34 AM    #
  21. Thanks for all the awesome comments, tips, links, and encouragement! I love reading them!

    Jen – I’m not sure what would make a good thermal backing. Maybe some heavier and/or softer fabric? I bet the friendly folks at your local fabric store would have a much better grasp of the kinds of fabrics available to you for that (sorry I’m not much help there).

    Jenny T. – You are so welcome! Thanks for making the video and permitting me to use it! (As you can see from the comments it was quite the hit!)

    Laura – your curtains sound amazing! I’d love to see a picture!

    Eleanor – that’s a much better way to describe the side sewing: you’re right; it’s not so much a hem as simply sewing up the sides to keep everything from shifting about too much. I suppose you wouldn’t even have to do it at all, as long as you ironed it and didn’t mind a bit of extra “flowiness”.

    Jill – I don’t know if anyone leaves the bottoms open to their curtains. I mean, I obviously did! So I suppose that makes at least one person! :u) And I thought I remembered seeing some other fancy curtains somewhere with the bottom left open. I’m not a professional or anything, though, so I won’t attempt to convince anyone that my way is the right way – I just kind of like the way it looks, and also with the bottom left open you don’t have to worry about puckering so much (in case any of my measurements were off a tad). But hemming everything as you did is certainly not wrong – I suppose it’s just one of those personal preference things.

    Thanks again for all the comments, everyone! Keep them coming, and happy curtain making!

    Anna W    Aug 31, 02:31 PM    #
  22. Hi, I just wanted to say how informative your blog is, I’ve made curtains before (I usually sew clothes and costumes), but never have I made curtains lined with black out and I my sister wanted me to make her curtains with blackout. Your tutorial gave me the confidence I needed to do the job. Thanks so much!

    June McCallum    Sep 8, 10:43 PM    #
  23. Did you sew the lining in just below the rod pocket, or is that lined too? I’m going to make curtains with a blackout liner and I’m afraid the curtains won’t hang right if I sew the liner in just below the rod pocket. Ideas or tips?

    Thanks
    Kim

    Kim    Sep 17, 05:13 PM    #
  24. This is great – my particular question has to do with adding lining to existing curtains, but not altering the “hang” of the curtain – or, I hope, taking seams apart. Any clues welcome!

    Natalie P Schutz    Sep 21, 04:49 PM    #
  25. I am a bit confused about sewing a seam along the sides to keep things in place….Is it like top stitching thru all layers from top to bottom?

    sandra    Oct 21, 10:58 AM    #
  26. i“m doing a self lined drapery panels. my question is, do i still make a fold on each side of the panels as well as the hem? or do i just sew the 2 fabrics together without the folds?

    Marilou Qualls    Dec 7, 04:21 AM    #
  27. This is a lovely blog, it will encourage people to make their own curtains or have them made professionally rather than buying bland ready mades.

    karolyn    Dec 13, 09:32 AM    #
  28. So grateful to find your blog with these terrific instructions! Simple to follow, great video and makes a daunting project so accessible! I’m making doubled corduroy panels to block icy drafts-it’s like soft, cozy pants for the window!

    amy    Dec 15, 11:21 PM    #
  29. Thank you! This pattern was simple to follow and the finished product is beautiful.

    Rosie    Jan 27, 12:47 AM    #
  30. I am so impressed with the results I got from following your tutorial. I made mine valence lenght and added tabs to the top, but the instructions on hemming and lining really made these look like a custom finished piece and not a wonkey pillow case. Thank you so much!

    Gina    Feb 1, 12:49 AM    #
  31. Hi
    Thank you for the tutorial. I dont know how to sew but I followed your instructions and tried to make a lined curtain. It looks great and have to agree with you on gratifying !! I am so excited about it that I am looking around my home and making a check list of curtains I can make :)
    Your instructions were so simple that even I was able to follow them.
    Now I am waiting for my husband to put the curtain rod so that I can actually hang it.
    Love your blog
    Take care
    Fatima

    Fatima    Mar 22, 12:07 PM    #
  32. Thank you so much! I made curtains formthe kids’ bathroom! Lovely :)

    Sarah Haddox    Mar 23, 06:03 PM    #
  33. I Googled for a good tutorial on how to make some simple curtains because the blinds in my new apartment don’t block much light, and I came across this page. I was just planning to do something super simple but after reading this I am inspired to go the extra step and add a lining. I had no idea it would be so easy! I’m also very excited to learn the blind hem stitch – I have seen it before and never knew what it was called or how to do it. Thank you so much for the excellent tutorial!

    Lisa    Apr 10, 01:43 PM    #
  34. Anna,
    What a wonderfully easy-peasy tutorial. The only thing that I am personally changing is the top tube foldover. I kept it a 3 inch tube for my 2 1/2 rod but dropped the entire foldover to 4 inches to allow for a 1 inch ruffle at the very top of the rod.
    Thanks again so very much. Your cutains are absolutely stunning. I can hardly wait to run up to Hancock’s tomorrow to start looking for my very own DF!

    Sharon    Apr 11, 05:00 AM    #
  35. I am slightly confused about the bottom hem. I originally assumed that I should hem the DF and liner together but then could not figure out how to sew the sides up correctly. After reading more of the comments I realized that you hemed the fabrics separately and only had the liner sewn to the DF on the sides and for the rod pocket, leaving the bottom of the curtain open.
    If I wanted to have the bottom closed would I sew the sides together first and then do the hem?

    Jessica    Apr 11, 02:44 PM    #
  36. Thanks for this great tutorial. I used it to make some gorgeous silk curtains for my hallway. The only change I made was to remove the lining from the curtain rod pocket. It made the fabric too thick and the curtains wouldn’t stay opened.

    Dawn    Apr 19, 02:36 PM    #
  37. thanks for the great tutorial! I’ve never made curtains before, or have even heard about the blind hem stitch; but with having a house built, and it being my first house, I want to make my own curtains because I know I will not be happy with anything I find in the stores. I will definitely be using your tutorial for when the time comes, and I’ve never been more excited about curtains in my life!

    Bethany    May 20, 03:37 PM    #
  38. Great tutorial. I am a beginning seamstress. I have never made curtains before and am really excited to do these.

    Tosha    Jun 12, 09:56 PM    #
  39. The advantage in hemming the lining and face fabric separately has to do with the differences in the weight and weave of the two different fabrics. Over time, gravity will pull them differently, and after some time passes the heavier fabric will stretch differently than the other one. Separately hemmed layers will hang straighter without sagging. If the fabrics are similar, it may not matter, but it is something to consider.

    Loretta    Jul 2, 01:57 AM    #
  40. This will be so useful in putting in the lining. I had no idea how to finish the edges. Thank you.

    Also, as regards buying expensive fabric, try fabricguru.com. They have lots of pre-cut yardages for just a steal, considering the quality of the fabric. I got some silk curtain fabric that sells for over a 70 dollars a yard for around 12/yard for a lot of 6 1/2 yards.

    Becky    Jul 18, 05:03 AM    #
  41. Hi Anna, Thanks for the tutorial. I modified it a bit to make blackout curtains for our media room. I put two rows of stitches across the top so the rod would go between the two rows and there’d be a ruffle at the top. They turned out great! Thanks for the help. There’s a picture here: http://s410.photobucket.com/albums/pp186/tsanne95762/?action=view&current=IMAG0290.jpg

    Terri    Aug 3, 10:27 PM    #
  42. I followed your instructions to make curtains for my family room and they came out great! I am not that experienced with sewing, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at these curtains. The best part is, it only took me a couple of hours. Thanks for the easy-to-follow tutorial. And, I’m so glad I splurged for fabric I really wanted, even though I waited until it was 60% off. :)

    Kristina    Aug 15, 01:32 PM    #
  43. Thank you so much for this tutorial! So easy to follow and my curtains turned out great!

    Gretchen    Sep 20, 01:18 PM    #
  44. Thank you for posting this! I was searching through piles of tutorials, and yours is clear and concise! We’re moving into our house on Thursday and we don’t have any curtains! Guess I’d better get sewing :)

    Mariah    Sep 22, 04:03 PM    #
  45. Thanks for your simple – and amuzing – instructions! It will save me a lot of guess work and mistakes!

    Cindy    Sep 25, 09:31 AM    #
  46. I haven’t sewn anything since the sixth grade, 2 decades ago! I am doing a retro renovation of my kitchen and store bought curtains will not do. So, this weekend I am off to buy a cheap sewing machine and some fabric, and excited to use these instructions! I hope it inspires me for the rest of my house as, all windows are curtain free and ready for some decoration.

    Sarah    Oct 28, 10:16 AM    #
  47. I’m somewhat confused about the diagram with the 4” of overhang on each side. Is the lining fabric actually 8” narrower than the DF, and if so how do you sew the “pillow case” and maintain the over hang? I hope my question makes sense… please reply quickly :)

    kelsey    Oct 31, 12:04 PM    #
  48. Kelsey, I believe your question is answered in step 5 – where you would crease and press and then sew together.

    The lining fabric is only 2” narrower total. The 4” becomes 2” when it is folded over itself. Does that make sense? The DF is folded inward with the WS facing you. It probably helps to be holding the fabric in front of you and feeling it.

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, Anna. I have only made unlined curtains thus far and of the tutoirals I’ve read, yours is the best explained and illustrated. And the one I am about to use. Wish me luck!

    chasmyn    Nov 29, 07:50 PM    #
  49. Great post! I recently made drapes for my sliders in the kitchen and used your blind hem instructions as a refresher since I hadn’t done that in AGES! So easy yet really finishes it off ~

    The Queen Bee    Jan 12, 02:57 PM    #
  50. I was taught to allow 3x the width of the window if you want full curtains. If you do pinch pleats, you might get away with 2.5 x the width of the window, but any other kind of pleats require the 3x of the window width.

    The exception would be if you don’t plan on closing these curtains, because if you do, they might look a little skimpy. As they are, they look fine!

    I agree with you about lining curtains and or drapes—they last longer, it’s ot that big a deal and they won’t fade out if you have a bright window.

    Interesting blog.
    Thanks,

    Sheila

    Sheila    Feb 24, 07:25 PM    #
  51. Wow, thanks Sheila! What great advice! I don’t know much about that kind of thing, so am always happy for tips like this. I’ll try to pass it on.

    Anna W    Mar 1, 01:33 PM    #
  52. You are a lifesaver Anna! I’ve been terrified of making curtains for a while…but with your wonderful and clear instructions I’ve managed it, and they look great! I’m so pleased. Thank you!

    Emily    Mar 15, 01:23 PM    #
  53. Anna, I’ve been searching for online instructions for panel lined curtains and your instructions are the best I’ve found! Thank you so much. I’ve got my fabric and my rods, but have been agonizing over starting – your blog gave me the push I’ve needed. Thanks!

    Leslie    Mar 26, 04:16 PM    #
  54. Thanks for the great tutorial! I made a beautiful lined curtain for my daughter’s room and it turned out great!

    Amy    Jun 2, 10:32 PM    #
  55. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’m making curtains for someone who works nights, so the blackout lining was essential for this project. I’ve finished one, two to go!

    Sandi Jones    Jun 25, 04:15 AM    #
  56. AHHH! I am so happy I found your tutorial. I have been fiddling with my curtains for the past two hours or so (on and off, I had to walk away a few times) without any success. I could not figure it out. I was about to throw them out the window. I will go try your method out! Thanks so much!

    Annie    Jul 24, 10:36 PM    #
  57. I’ve been making drapes for a long time, and this is very clear guide. A few pointers:
    1) When you stitch the sides, be sure the top edges of the lining fabric and DF are aligned. Even though you don’t sew the top at this stage, this is really important, because if it’s not aligned, the curtain will not hang smoothly. This means that the initial cut is the key, because you will use the edges to keep the panels “square.” So be really careful to cut DF and lining straight across. Don’t plan to just fold or iron away little differences.

    2) the selvedge (long edge) on the DF and lining has to be released for the panel to hang smoothly. Because of the manufacturing process, this edge has a different texture and is tighter than the rest of the fabric. It is easy to “release” the selvedge by sniping into it just a bit every few inches so you don’t get a puckered look along your drape edge. Make short cuts so they will be inside the seam and never show. This quick trick will really make a difference to the look of the drape. Of course the trimmed side of the lining does not need to be released.

    Nancy D    Sep 15, 08:30 AM    #
  58. I must be the only thick headed one to comment. I am having trouble understanding why you hem first. I did this and then when I went to sew the 1/2 inch side seam I have this extra chunk of material . Then I turned it out and my hem is on the inside. I wish you would have video taped your sewing and said whether right or wrong sides are together for the first hemming. ????????

    Lauren    Dec 1, 09:34 PM    #
  59. Hi,
    Should I hem the two sides or sew?
    Thanks

    Nguyen    Apr 10, 06:37 PM    #
  60. Will be trying out the above in a couple of hours…pretty excited as I’ve got all my fabric and stuff all ready.

    Jenny    Jun 2, 10:23 AM    #
  61. Great instructions…I’ll be trying them out this weekend! Thanks for sharing.

    Anne-Maire    Jun 21, 01:11 PM    #
  62. Thank You for the instruction. This is my second time back for a refresher. I’ve made 3 sets of lined curtains (2 sets were zebra print w/heavy duty backing :p, daughter’s taste) I’m back to get a good set for the granddaughter’s room at our house! Thanks for the great blog!

    Marcia    Nov 10, 08:25 PM    #
  63. Thanks for the tutorial. I almost finished and everything went just as you described but when I got to the sewing of the rod pocket, it seems as if I have too much material (more DF than lining) and it’s very bunchy. Not sure what I did wrong but would love some suggestions.

    Lisa Maiale-Howell    Sep 13, 10:25 PM    #
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