Tutorial: Curtains/Drapes

March 28, 2014
One of my favorite things about being a part of my family is that I always have someone to ask whenever I have questions, whether it be health-related, child-rearing, self-improvement, or home-improvement. Well, I need a little help in all of those departments every once-in-a-while, especially home-improvement, and it just so happens that one of my sisters is a very talented drape-maker. So I called her up and she explained to me the intricacies of making a for-real quality drape (European-pleated style). Unfortunately, to make said for-real quality drape, it is VERY expensive and would have required me to purchase 16 yards of fabric and almost the same amount of blackout lining. There are a lot of corners that you can cut to be able to afford quality drapes, but not enough for this small-business Etsy-budget mama. So, I had to settle for the small-business Etsy-budget mama's curtains, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Have a look!

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Just one small step in the direction of Operation: Family Room. Next step is to sell our couch, purchase an entertainment center and a new couch, move our bookshelf upstairs, and get all the cutesy decorations up! It's a slow process, but is progress! My favorite part about these curtains is that when they are closed, there is NO way any light is getting in, which is nice for the days when we don't feel like having a glare on our TV as we watch our favorite movies.

I used this tutorial to help me make my curtains and am extremely pleased with how well these turned out, however, I will offer a couple of tips and comments in addition to this tutorial.

  1. I would hang your curtain rod BEFORE you sew these drapes. That way, you can be more precise about the measurement.
  2. If you're adding a blackout lining to your drapes, they are going to be HEAVY. So purchase a quality curtain rod. Wood is the best, but I was able to get away with a sturdy telescope curtain rod from Home Goods, but would definitely suggest the wooden rods. They have some at Hobby Lobby, if you have one of those nearby. **After a while, I started noticing my center bracket bowing down because of the weight of my drapes. I purchased a reed rod from homegoods after that and two new brackets for either side. The center still bows a little, so I plan on either getting a wood rod, or buying another bracket for the center.**
  3. Adding a blackout lining is a really great idea. In addition to being able to block out ANY light, it is great insulation and will actually save you money in your utility bill. You can buy blackout lining at any fabric store. It's a really heavy, white fabric that feels kind of laminated on one side, and it will be labeled as "blackout lining," or an abbreviated version of it.
  4. When it comes to purchasing your drapery fabric, unless there's a certain fabric that you just HAVE to have, search the clearance section of the stores or buy online. Ebay, fabric.com, Online Fabric Store, and Buyfabrics.com have great options with affordable prices.
  5. If you find a curtain that you really love at Target or wherever, but it doesn't have a blackout lining, consider buying the curtain and just adding the lining. This can save you a ton of money, too!
  6. If you're worried about thread and needle strength, I would suggest using an upholstery needle, or needles used to sew denim. I used all-purpose thread, but there are higher-strength threads if that would make you feel more secure.
  7. You are going to be working with a lot of fabric, so make sure you have a lot of space. I had to move my couches around upstairs to have enough room and it occurred to me afterwards that maybe I should have just ironed on the floor with something underneath to protect my carpet rather than having to mess with all the fabric on my ironing board.
  8. IRON! Don't skip this step. This is very important and will make your life SO much easier if you iron when the tutorial tells you to.
  9. Mitering wasn't too difficult, as is mentioned in the tutorial, but she doesn't explain to you how to do it, and it wasn't easy for me to find an explanation online. I figured it out by just playing around with the corner of the fabric until it looked right, which means I wasn't really paying attention to exactly how I did it, but start by folding the bottom corner up and underneath the fabric and go from there.
Other than that, these curtains really aren't too difficult to make, and they are so worth it! I ended up spending $63.00 on my fabric and maybe around $30.00 for blackout lining (Use those coupons for Jo-Ann's, friends!). Altogether, I got some high-quality drapes that I LOVE for barely $100.00.

I can't wait to get the rest of the family room together and will be sure to keep you updated. Good luck with all your sewing and other projects. Keep creating and being the amazing you that you are!

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  1. Ooh very pretty! I'll be saving this for later. I have blackout lining for my old ones and it's absolutely the best. Such a huge improvement!!

    1. I know! You really shouldn't underestimate the power of a blackout lining. Good luck with your home improvement!


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