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How To Make Unlined Curtains

Save money and get a unique look by sewing your own curtains - go on, you know you can do it. Hem the sides and bottom, stitch heading tape to the top, and you're done. This step by step guide shows you just how easy it is.

Time required: Less than a day (plus shopping for fabric)

Skill level: If you can machine stitch a straight line, this is a breeze.

You'll need: Fabric and curtain heading tape, metal measuring tape, good dressmaking scissors, sewing machine, thread, needle, pins, pencil.

1. Step One

Measure all the curtain lengths, marking them with pins or a pencil. On patterned fabric, choose one main point in the design and mark off each length starting at this point. Cut out all lengths.

2. Step Two

If you need to join widths to make up each curtain, pin the fabric pieces together along the selvages with right sides facing. If you have an odd number of fabric widths, cut the 'odd' piece in half lengthways and pin one half to each curtain. Stitch the pieces together, taking a 2.5cm seam. Press seams open and snip into the selvages at 45cm intervals so the seams won't pucker.

3. Step Three

Turn under a double 2.5cm hem at the curtain sides and press. Use a large hem stitch to sew the curtain sides by hand.

4. Step Four

Turn under 3cm at the curtain top and press. Knot the cords at one end of the heading tape. Pin the tape close to the top of the curtain, covering the raw fabric edges. Fold under the short edges of the tape. Stitch using the machine, along all edges. Draw up the tape to fit the window and knot the cords.

5. Step Five

Temporarily hang the curtain by a few hooks and mark off the desired length with pins. Take down the curtain and turn up a double hem to the marked length and press. To make a neat finish at the lower corners, open out the folds at the sides (unpick the side hem you've already sewn), and the hem. Fold in the corner at an angle, then carefully refold all the turnings to make a 'mitred corner'. Hand-sew the hem and the mitre (you can use the machine if you’re in a hurry).

6. Tips And Advice

* Measure twice before you cut as mistakes can be expensive.
* The easiest way to cut the fabric straight is to line up the selvage (the finished side edge of the fabric) with one edge of a table - the table end should be a perfect right angle to follow for cutting.
* Before joining curtain widths, lay the pieces out on the floor, to check that the design matches across each curtain.
* Don't cut off the spare cord once you've drawn up the heading tape, or you won't be able to adjust the curtain top (for example, to fit a different sized window).
* You can use an iron-on hemming tape (from haberdashery departments) as a quick fix for the sides and hem of the curtain, or machine stitch the hem, but the curtains will look more professional if you hand-sew them.

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