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How To Measure For Curtains

Found the perfect fabric for your new curtains but not sure how to measure for them? This step by step guide should make it easy. Check out the window size, tot up the results and you'll be well on your way to creating your own fabulous curtains.

Time required: 20 mins (less if you're quick at maths)

You'll need: Stepladder, metal measuring tape, pencil, paper, calculator (optional)

1. Step One

Decide on the fabric first as you need to know its width to do the sums on how much to buy. And decide on your heading tape as that affects the width of the curtains. Choose standard heading tape for shallow pleats, or pencil pleat tape for neat rows of deep pleats.

2. Step Two

Measure the length of the track or pole and multiply this figure by 1.5 if you plan to use standard heading tape, or by 2.5 for pencil pleat tape. Now add on 20cm overall for side hems. Divide this figure by the width of your fabric. Round up the result to the next whole number. For example, if your pole measures 200cm, multiply by 1.5 (for standard heading tape), and add on 20cm for hems, which equals 320cm. If your fabric measures 122cm wide, the sum is 320 divided by 122, which equals 2.6. The next whole number is 3. So, three widths of fabric, when gathered, will cover the window, and each curtain will be made of 1½ widths.

3. Step Three

Measure from the top of the curtain track or just below a curtain pole down to the sill, floor or chosen depth. Add on 3cm for the turning at the top and 12cm for the hem. Note down this measurement.

4. Step Four

Multiply the length measurement you've just calculated by the number of widths of fabric needed. Then add on 10cm in case the fabric is not cut straight by the shop. If you choose a fabric with an obvious design, you will need to buy extra because each length of fabric must be cut at the same point in the design so the pattern will match right across both curtains. Ask the shop to work out the 'pattern repeat', and allow one pattern repeat for each width of fabric.

5. Step Five

Multiply the fabric width by the number of widths needed to cover the window. Add on 10cm for each curtain.

6. Tips And Advice

* A metal measuring tape is longer than a plastic tape, and the measurements will be more accurate.
* Measure twice as it's easy to make a mistake.
* Check your sums carefully before buying fabric, or ask the sales assistant to double check for you.

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