The Essentials For Making Your Own Curtains

In this article we look at fabrics, sewing techniques, designs over the ages, as well as the hardware necessary to hang  and and make your own curtains.



Design and decor are some of the central tenants of home living. It doesn’t matter if you’re renting or buying, you need to be able to be comfortable in your living space. With all the styles and all the possibilities you can do with four walls and some windows, it’s impossible to not add your personal touch. How we design our living space is a reflection of how much we care. It’s a reflection of our taste, sensibilities, and life experiences. The creative release of being able to design is second to none. One aspect of interior design that tends to get put to the wayside for some reason, the curtains. The curtains are gorgeous. Using them properly gives you depth and texture to the look of any room. Just the way that they look adds a hint of class. On top of that, they are way more aesthetically pleasing than those plastic blinds you get at the hardware store. They also give you the flexibility of privacy that is so sought after today.

During these times, where typical designs are sold and produced for the masses, it’s difficult to get the exact right touch you’re looking for. There’s always been a financial barrier to entry when it comes to hiring top-tier interior designers and unfortunately, if you’re reading this, you probably have some higher tastes. Why not make your own curtains? Creativity and passion are two drivers for good design. But nothing gets done without a little bit of skill and time. If you’re looking to create your own curtains here are some of the essentials to consider. We’re going to be talking about fabrics, sewing techniques, designs over the ages, as well as the hardware necessary to hang them up.



The first thing you need to consider, in order to create a good idea on how to make curtains, cultivating a bit of knowledge about fabrics. When you walk into a fabric store, there are so many spools of fabric and can be overwhelming. Oftentimes commercial storefronts divide their fabrics into how one tends to use it. But when you go to the actual garment district warehouse, a lot of it is divided into thickness and classification. Here are some of the top fabrics used in curtain making today.

Fusible Interfacing

Fusible interfacing is almost magic. What it does is that it takes most fabrics, and adds weight and texture to it. There are some fabrics that are specially made for curtains. But if you’re going to make your own, using fusible interfacing ensures that your curtains last and hold shape. If you take Hot Pink Haberdashery, an online leader in curtains and crafts, as an example, you’ll find that they use fusible interfacing as a regular part of their creative process. They use it in making bags, pillows, and, of course, curtains. Any fabric that you choose at the store or online is most likely going to use some interfacing. Keep that in mind while shopping for the perfect cloth for your project.


Voile is the classic curtain. It is the kind you see in movies. It’s the light, semi-sheer sheet that often comes in white. They come in both 100% cotton and polyester. Depending on the kind of style that you’re looking for, you may or may not add voile to at least the inner portion of your setup. The best part about a voile drape is the fact that it’s easy to use, and provides an instant effect. From the get-go, it feels like a classy curtain. It allows light in but is opaque enough for some privacy. It’s the number one go-to for people just starting out.


Muslin Cloth is one of the most inexpensive options in terms of the curtains. Muslin gets its name due to its origin. The Europeans that first started selling it believed that it came from Mosul, Iraq. Whether or not this is true is up to debate. It could very well have been a great marketing pitch from 1000 years ago. Muslin curtains give a more rustic look. Because of the way they’re constructed, It gives a beautiful old-world feel. It’s not as thin as satin or voile and it has an incredibly durable feel to it. As a drape, because it’s a little bit thicker, while still maintaining light allowance, it’s an extremely popular cloth for both commercial operations and homemade crafts.


For kitchens and smaller windows, lace has always been a popular option. Lace curtains can be seen often in our grandparent’s homes, or another house belonging to an elderly individual. Unlike Muslin or voile, lace has a high degree of sheerness. Because of the nature of the lace, there are designs and gaps that allow you to totally see the outside. They also provide a little in terms of controlling light. I guess there’s a net effect of less sunlight coming in, but it doesn’t necessarily blunt said rays.


Synthetic fabrics for curtains are often reserved for light blocking, opaque drapes. A polyester sheet, no matter how thin, is it going to be able to block out virtually all light. It is plastic, after all. Using polyester is perfect for having a total blackout when you want it. If you do shift work, or you’re a nurse, these are the go-to fabrics to use. The great thing about synthetic fabrics is that they’re incredibly easy to wash and care for. A little bit of steam will get all the wrinkles out faster than it would cotton. Also, because they’re so inexpensive, one doesn’t really have to worry about little imperfections when starting out. Using synthetic polyester is good practice for when you decide to try your hand at other fabrics.

Thick Cotton

Your go-to opaque fabric is most likely going to be cotton. Because of the various styles and leaves that come in good cotton, it’s going to be the most versatile out of all of them. This is where you can mix-and-match to create your own patterns depending on your styles, or eclectic tastes. Although some decide not to use lining on thicker cotton, it can definitely give it more mass. Without it, heavier cotton fabric can still hold its own.



Now that we’ve focused on the kinds of fabrics necessary to make curtains, let’s take a little look at the hardware. Hardware often gets tossed to the wayside as something that’s trivial when it comes to curtains and drapes. Of course, the hardware tends to take up less space and is, therefore, seemingly less important. This is absolutely not true. The way that you hang your curtains is as indicative of your style as the fabric that you choose. Here are some essential hardware pieces and tips to keep you on the right track of expressing your own unique creativity.

The Rod

The curtain rod is probably the most popular way anybody hangs a curtain. Of course, the general mechanics of hanging a curtain involves a rod of some kind, a support mount on a wall, and rings for the cloth. The curtain rod can be as simple as just a spring-loaded, retractable rod made of thin metal. It can also be much thicker, solid, giving character relative to the kind of curtain that you have. This is where common sense tends to come in handy. If you have a thick, multi-layered calico curtain, it might be a good idea to use a thicker rod. A thin rail may apply uneven and unnecessary pressure on the walls, damaging and widening the bore where the screws lay. Now, if you have a thinner curtain like a voile or a muslin, you’re not going to have to worry much about the weight.


How you anchor your curtain matters. Again, a thin, store-bought rail may not be enough to keep things together. There are beautifully made wooden molding options that offer a secure place to hang a rod, as well as provide that aesthetic edge. Pairing intricate wooden moldings and thickly painted dowels are a popular option for grand and ornate looks. You see this in a lot of older and larger homes, as well as modern homes that have a retro, elegant flair to them. What matters most, is that there is even distribution of weight on whatever implement is used to anchor it. It should be strong enough to last for years, without damaging the walls of your home.


Before you do anything, choose a hardware scheme. Choose the material that you want to use. Combine things that feel like they would match, and avoid strange combinations unless you really want to. It doesn’t make sense to have stainless steel rings in the curtain, paired with a brass curtain rod, held up by Balsa Wood moldings. So if you decide to combine materials, give it a once over and draw conclusions based on general design principles. After all, once you figure out how to put up your own curtains and hardware, you can substitute and swap out virtually anything there.



How to Make a Curtain

The actual physical construction of curtains is really quite simple. In essence, it’s just a sheet dangling from a rod. Of course, depending on how you want it to look, you can add your own spin on a basic technique. Ultimately, it’s always best to master the basics, and move onto the next step. If you’re going to build your own, here are the easiest techniques and guidelines to follow.

Measure up

The first thing you’re going to do is measure the window or the area that you want to be covered by the curtain. Be sure to get an accurate read, not mixing up your centimeters in your inches, and making sure you understand the height as well. Then purchase a little more than the length of the area you want to cover. For instance, if your window is 12 feet wide, It’s a good idea to get 15 feet with fabric. This not only allows for shaping and a bit of experimentation, but it also gives you that texture necessary for a true drawn curtain look.

Fold and Sew

Once you’ve got your fabric, lay the length flat on a workstation. Take that lengthwise edge and make a ½ to 1-inch fold. Sew it into a straight line. If you want, you can cut the edges. Honestly, people aren’t really going to notice it. If you’re a stickler for details, feel free to go ahead and do so. Take the top and bottom edges, and fold about 5 inches each. Sew just like you did on the lengthwise.


In order to attach it to the bar, you can either make a strap, reinforce a cut hole with a grommet, or attach rings. Take a piece of the extra fabric, and cut it into strips. On the top portion, where you make that 4 to 5-inch fold, you can sew that strap on the backside to make a loop. If you want to reinforce it with some hot glue, you’re more than welcome to.


The other option is to use an eyelet puncher. Before you do so, make sure that you measure out the length of your curtain, and divide it into equally spaced points. Make those points as the center of the eyelet puncher. Once you make the hole, select a grommet that matches the curtain rod. Attach the grommet, and just slide the curtain on. If you’re planning on using the puncher and grommet, you might want to measure out the desired clearance from the floor.


Attaching rings is quite possibly the easiest way to hang a curtain. Simply measure out your curtain to find equally spaced points, and either glue or attach the ring according to what the manufacturer recommends. Sometimes, for aesthetic purposes, you can use a small puncher and small grommets as points to loop curtain rings. Again, keep in mind the contrasts and the combinations of design and colors when she uses curtain rings.

There you have it! Curtains don’t have to be complicated. They’re actually pretty easy to make. What you need is time, good materials, and some accurate measurements. With those, you can turn any room into a new classic, and tame a harsh sun, no matter where the window faces.




back to top