Suddenly, I needed curtains for the apartment we are renovating. The renovation work took much longer than expected but, of course, when it is ready, I'm not ready :-). The room is a very bright space with neighbors on 3 sides, so in order to have some privacy at night, I needed a quick fix.

I like to be creative but I must admit I prefer projects that are relatively simple. Making curtains doesn't have to be hard. I will show you how it can be both cost effective and easy.

If you are a professional sewist, please stop reading. This is not a professional way of making curtains, but sometimes you don't have the time or energy. This is the “working mom, short on time, getting a lot of things done” kind of DIY curtain 🙂. Basically, it is a lot of ironing and hemming. That's all there is to it, really. And, there is even a way of hemming without a sewing machine, so then it is just ironing!

One way of getting of curtains quickly, is buying standard curtains (from IKEA, for example). They are reasonably priced. These curtains have heading tape on the upper section while the long sides are hemmed. The bottom is hemmed too but you will probably have to cut them to your size and then you just have to add a hem at the bottom.

You can also buy any kind of fabric you like and start from scratch. I did a combo of the two for our apartment, based on the size of the window. For the big windows, I hemmed the ready-made IKEA curtains.

To hang the curtains, I'm using a simple bar and the Curtain and Quilt Hangers we recently added to our store. I really love these, both the look and how easy they are to use.

So here we go!

Before you start, clean up your sewing table and ironing board. Curtains take up a lot of space!

Scenario 1

Hemming the ready made curtains

In this scenario you have two options. You can choose to get out your iron + sewing machine or just your iron.

Measure the length you want for your curtains and add 2 to 8 inches, depending on how big you want your hems. Have you heard of puddling, breaking, hovering and brushing when it comes to the length of curtains? Look it up if you don't know what style fits your space best.

Measuring and cutting large panels of fabric for curtains is not easy. I have two tips for you. You can fold your fabric a couple of times so it fits on your cutting mat and use your rotary cutter. We have a 60 mm rotary cutter in our store that can handle a lot of layers!

But there is also a little hack that makes cutting straight with scissors easier. Just make a little cut at the start and grab one of the threads that goes in the direction that you will be cutting. Pull that thread a little or pull it out completely, if that is possible. The little ruffled thread or the missing thread is your mark to cut all the way to the other edge.

little cut at the start
threads that goes in the direction that you will be cutting
Pull that thread a little


Grab your Hot Hem Ruler and iron a double folded hem.

Pin or clip it down.

Sew your hem down at 1/4 inch from the top of the folded edge.

Ruelr fabric

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Not sewing = use Fusible Hem Tape

Grab your Hot Hem Ruler and iron the first fold of your hem.

I’m using Fusible Hem Tape to hem my curtains. It is a tape that has glue on both sides that is activated with the heat of your iron. It has backing tape on one side which makes it easy to work with.

Position your Fusible Hemming Tape on the right side of that first fold, close to the fold. Press to fuse it onto your fabric. If you want, you can use a Non-Stick Pressing Sheet to protect your iron sole, but the backing tape should protect it sufficiently. I haven’t had any problems with this tape and my iron’s sole.

Remove the backing tape. Make a second fold of the hem and iron the hem to glue it in place. Turn the curtain to the right side and iron again.

Scenario 2

Easy curtains from scratch

Cut your fabric to the size you want. Read the cutting tips in scenario 1 above.

1. Hem the two sides: a double folded hem of about 1/2 inch
2. Hem the top: a double folded hem of about 1 inch
3. Hem the bottom: a double folded hem of about 2 inches

My Hot Hem Ruler is getting a lot of use lately!

For both scenarios, grab curtain hangers, clip them onto the top edge, evenly spaced over the full length. If you have pleated curtains, clip a ring at every pleat. Otherwise, I clip a hanger every 5 to 7 inch.

That’s it. A minor effort and I’m very pleased with the result. I just need to grab my iron again but I didn’t have the time yesterday. You know… working mom, short on time, getting a lot of things done… ;-)

Any questions?
Just send me an email an@madamsew.com

Happy Sewing!

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1 comment

I love the idea of curtains, I have always had them before. But I have downsized because of loosing my husband of 64 years. My bedroom has blinds with a 3 inch cornice do you have any suggestion as to how I can put curtains over them?
Thanks so much.


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