Curtains have been a way to furnish windows for centuries. They offer privacy, light control, and an aesthetic design element. No matter how old the building is, there has always been a need for curtains in some form or another.
Curtains can be made out of almost any type of material that will drape nicely and provide a certain amount of opacity.
In this article, we will look at the different types of curtains, what they are made from and how to make them – let's get right into it.
What to consider when it comes to making curtains
To make curtains, you need to first have some kind of window treatment plan in mind. Windows and doors allow light into a home which is nice for the most part but it can be difficult at night when trying to sleep or work.
Some people choose to block all the light from getting into their space by using blackout curtains with pieces of wood or other material to hold them in place.
There are also sheer curtains that allow light in but do not let people see into the home. If you cannot decide on how you want your curtains to look, there is a very easy solution for that – why not just make several different sets and try them out until you find the one you like the most?
Curtains can be made out of almost any material, usually a fabric like cotton or polyester with some kind of liner inside. The lining can be anything from muslin to flannel, basically some type of soft fabric that doesn't travel easily.
Types of Curtains you can make
Many different types of curtains can be made but not all of them are practical or even good-looking for that matter. Some people choose to use sheets as their window treatments but they do not provide much privacy – unless you hang them up behind some other solid object. This could include things like a screen with holes in it so the light goes through.
If you decide to go the sheet route, there is one thing to keep in mind before making your investment – always make sure that the sheets have been washed thoroughly first because otherwise, your curtain could grow mildew.
Organza & Satin Curtains
If you would like some nice curtains, organza is a great option. Organza is a sheer fabric that has been manipulated to be more durable and made into curtains – this silk-like material is usually lined with either polyester or muslin.
Satin can also make for beautiful draperies as it drapes very nicely but satins tend to be heavier than organzas so if you want to blackout your room at night using these materials, the blackouts will not work out very well for you unless you sew smaller panels together to achieve complete coverage.
Keeping that in mind, making an organza curtain can be a bit difficult because of how sheer it is – you will need to use a lining. A great way to hem the edges of your organza is with a zigzag stitch.
The nice thing about this type of curtain is that you can see both sides of it, which makes decorating around it easier. You don't have to worry about showing one side or the other – just look for things that work well together.
If you don't want light in certain rooms but still want privacy from prying eyes outside, blackout curtains could be an option for you. These curtains are usually made out of muslin or another thin fabric and are lined with a material like flannel on one side and then back by flat cotton on the reverse so light cannot get through.
If you are looking for the draped curtains, chintz is it. These floral-print patterns can be made out of several different fabrics but if making them yourself, the best fabric to use would be silk or cotton blends.
The nice thing about chintz curtains is that they come in many different colors and shapes so you can customize the look – small ones going over sinks or large red ones draped over windows would work well depending on the décor of your home.
You could even take old tablecloths and cut them up to make new full-sized curtain panels. The possibilities are endless with this type of treatment.
Where You Can Find Patterns and Materials for Making Your Curtains
Craigslist is a great place to start if you are looking for materials such as lace or vintage slips – many people sell their old clothes and they usually do not charge too much for them.
You can also make a pattern for yourself if you want something specific by using this tutorial. If you don't have time to make your curtains, many shops sell new ones – always make sure to read the reviews first though.
Moreover, finding patterns and materials for making your curtains can be as simple as just looking around the house for things that you may already have.
Curtains are often a great way to utilize items that would normally end up being donated or thrown away so take a look at what you have before heading out and buying everything from scratch. Chances are, you will likely find something in there that you can use.
You can also try getting rid of some other things around the house by using them to make your curtains.
Tools You Need When Making Your Curtains
If you have decided that you want to make your curtains, here are some instructions on how to get started:
This is a must-have item if you plan on making your curtains, regardless of what type of material you are using.
If possible, choose patterns that have coordinating linings already built-in or get some applique done so that you do not have to sew on multiple layers. A serger could come in handy for finishing the edges of your curtains too.
After you have used a fabric that is not washable, using something like a marker to mark out where you need them will be very helpful when trying to match up your panels. If you are new at sewing, it may help you out so that they do not end up looking lopsided.
For example, on one side of the panel, place a pin or some sort of marker where the top and bottom hem should go, and then use this as a guide for sewing up the other half. It doesn't have to be perfect but if you want it to line up well with its counterpart, make sure that it looks symmetrical while you're sewing.
Iron and Ironing Board
Something that you will need a lot of if you are making your curtains is iron because it makes the fabric look nice and crisp, which is especially important for tailored draperies or other window treatments.
If you don't have one already, get a good iron but not too expensive. An ironing board is also necessary for getting creases out even after using an iron because sometimes the material can be a little thick to use in the setting that would normally work best. For example, if I was sewing some stiff gingham cloth, I would first place it on my table with the hottest setting and then use an iron to smooth it out.
Pins and Scissors
You will need these for pinning things up or cutting excess thread – you can buy nice shears or use what you have if it does not show while you are making your curtains. When hemming, make sure that the ends come out even so that both sides will look good when they are hanging correctly on the window sill. If necessary, always try them out first before sewing them up to make sure that they work well.
If you want everything to be symmetrical, this is a great tool to have around. Also, if one panel happens to be longer than the other when the curtain rod goes through it (i.e. it looks funny), using some extra fabric to make a casing will be enough to solve that problem.
If you need your curtains to be stiff, this can come in handy. The advantage of using iron-on interfacing is that if it doesn't add the amount of firmness that you want, you can just rip off the stitching and then glue it on again with any additional spray adhesive that might help hold it in place better.
When making linings for curtains, I'd suggest buying two different types so that they complement each other. For example, if your material has a rough texture like tweed, consider getting something thin and sheerer like voile.
Iron-on Adhesive Spray
This works great if you need to glue on a patch; otherwise, I would suggest starching the area first with some starch spray before trying this method as well as using a hot iron so that the material will stick better. If you do try this, be careful not to burn yourself and make sure to protect your work surface with an old sheet or something else that can take the heat of the iron when it comes in contact with it after spraying.
Basic Machine Sewing Supplies (thread, scissors)
These are all things that you should have already but if you don't have them, they are very important for sewing curtains: thread, scissors, straight pins, needle, and safety pin. Some people like to use pinking shears instead of regular ones; while some might think that it looks nice, I would recommend against it because you want your curtains to look neat and the edges to be finished, which pinking shears do not do.
Final thoughts on how to make curtains
We hope that this article gave you some insight into the different types of curtains and what you can do with them. There is nothing like having custom-made draperies in your home to set it apart from others. Making your curtains is a great project to do with kids or for yourself so go ahead and start working on your next design.