Curtains come in different sizes and shapes and each one is made slightly differently. In addition, certain styles are a personal choice meant to complement your home decor.
Below is an explanation of the different curtain styles and how to measure and make them:
Sash curtains are curtains for the lower part, or sash, of the window. The rod is placed at the top of the lower sash and the measurements are taken as already described in Sewing Curtains, with the allowances. A heading is usually allowed on a curtain of this kind.
Cottage curtains, also called Dutch curtains, are a combination of a sash curtain and a second curtain for the upper part of the window. For the upper curtain, measure from the bottom of the top row to four to six inches below the sash curtain, or more where the curtain is tied back.
Casement curtains are for windows that open in and out. Two rods are used, top and bottom, and measurements are taken from the bottom of the top rod to the top of the bottom rod. Casing and heading are usually used top and bottom.
Tie backs: The easiest tie back to make is a band about 4 x 12 inches, folded in half lengthwise, outside together, and stitched at the short ends. Trim seams, then turn to the right side, turn in raw edges, and top stitch all around.
- For ruffled edge, make a band as above, but insert ruffle between turned edges before topstitching. Or, seam short ends of band, right sides together, trim seams, and turn. Stitch one thickness of ban do the wrong side of the ruffle, turn the free edge of the band in, baste and stitch over the seam on the right side of the ruffle.
- To tie back with ruffle on two or three sides, cut out two pieces for the band, turn in raw edges all around and insert ruffle between turned edges. Baste carefully and top stitch.
Pinch pleats: Often a curtain is made with a pinch-pleated top instead of a heading and casing. The curtain is then attached to a rod with drapery hooks caught through the back of the pleat and hooked over the rod. Two ways to make pinch pleat curtains:
- The easy way: Buy curtain header tape for perfect pinch pleats. Fold the curtain an inch from the top. Attach the tape a 1/8 inch from the top. Sew the tape on both sides, then pull the strings on either end to the desired width of the curtain.
- There are usually four to five pinch pleats in one curtain, made from 1 ½ inch to two inches from the hemmed sides. Insert crinoline or lightweight buckram into the top hem for stiffening, do not make a casing. Mark off spaces about three to 3 ½ inches wide starting from the center of the curtain, and make pinch pleats in this fashion. Bring marks together, folding through the center as for a tuck, wrong sides together, and stitch the tuck from the top down to the hemline and across to the fold you have made. Backtrack ends. Divide the tuck into three sections on the right side and catch by hand with over and over stitches at the bottom of the tuck. Be sure pinch pleats are evenly spaced.
Ruffled valance: Sometimes it is desirable to have a valance over the top of the curtain. An easy one is made by cutting a strip of fabric twice the width of the window and narrowly hemming it on three sides. Make a casing and heading on the fourth side and insert the rod. The curtain is placed on a rod close to the window and the valance is on an outer rod. This kind of valance is best over a ruffled curtain. Over a straighter curtain, it would be best to gather the ruffle, instead of allowing it extra fullness to pull up in a gathered effect on the rod.
Following from sewing curtains this page has given techniques for making different curtain styles. We will also include a special page on valances.