Make to mea­sure

Turn ba­sic cur­tains into some­thing a lot more spe­cial.

Good - - HOME - Craft and pho­tog­ra­phy Sarah Heeringa

Hang­ing fresh cur­tains is a great way to brighten up a room. But what if you can’t find cur­tains the right length in a colour or in a pat­tern you like? Or what if you have al­ready bought cur­tains but re­alise they are too short? Here’s a smart way to take ready-made cur­tains and make them longer. It’s also a cost-ef­fec­tive, cre­ative way to make ba­sic white cur­tains into some­thing unique.

Ba­si­cally, you cre­ate an ex­tra rec­tan­gu­lar-shaped sec­tion of cur­tain con­sist­ing of three pieces of fab­ric; the front fea­ture fab­ric, plain back­ing fab­ric and a strip of fab­ric in a com­ple­men­tary colour.

Cal­cu­late the di­men­sions of the fab­ric you need The instructions be­low are for one cur­tain

Width: Mea­sure the width of one of the ready-made cur­tains and write this num­ber down. De­cide how wide you want the side hems to be and write this num­ber down. (A min­i­mum side hem is 4cm, al­low­ing 2cm of fab­ric to be folded over twice). Add these two num­bers to­gether to get the width. If your fab­ric is not wide enough you can sew sev­eral strips to­gether to get the nec­es­sary width.

Length (or drop): Start­ing at the top edge of the cur­tain hem, mea­sure the dis­tance to the floor. Dou­ble this num­ber, and add an ex­tra 6cm. Add these num­bers to­gether to get the length. This rec­tan­gle of fab­ric is what you need for each cur­tain. It will be made by sewing the fea­ture fab­ric (A) and the plain back­ing fab­ric (B) to­gether.

A and B need to be the same width but B needs to have a shorter length than A so that it sits neatly at the back of the cur­tain. Di­vide the length by three – one third is the length mea­sure­ment of the plain back­ing fab­ric (B). The re­main­ing two-thirds is the length mea­sure­ment of the fea­ture fab­ric (A).

C is (the same width as above) x 20cm.


1 Use the lad­der and cur­tain hang­ing hooks to hang one of the ready-made cur­tains. Cal­cu­late di­men­sions of the fab­ric you need to ex­tend them to the ground (see instructions, left.)

2 Put A to B to­gether with the right sides fac­ing in and pin along both long edges. Sew along both edges. (Use an over­lock stich or plain stich and zigzag).

3 Iron the seams flat. Turn the fab­ric with the right sides fac­ing out. Lay the fab­ric down so that one seam runs along the top and the other seam runs along the mid­dle or lower at the back. Iron flat.

4 Cre­ate a tidy side edge that matches your ready-made cur­tains. Do this by fold­ing the side edges of the fab­ric in­wards or by fold­ing the fab­ric over, twice, by 2cm each time. Pin and sew flat by hand or with the sewing ma­chine.

5 Fold C in half along its long edge and iron flat. Cre­ate a tidy side edge by fold­ing the sides of the fab­ric in­wards and iron­ing it flat.

6 Lay the A and B piece down with A fab­ric fac­ing up and the seam along the top. Lay C on top with the raw edges along the seam edge. Pin C to A and B along the top edge. Sew these three lay­ers to­gether. 7 Take the ready-made cur­tain down and un­pick the hem. 8 Iron each edge of the hem with the sides folded and pinned, as pic­tured, and the rest of the un­picked hem folded back into place.

9 Lay the cur­tain right side down with the un­picked hem fac­ing up­wards. Lay the A, B and C piece on top, right side up, and placed so that the sewn edge of A, B and C sits just un­der the un­picked hem. Pin along the hem line. Sew care­fully along this line, re-stitch­ing the un­picked hem and at­tach­ing the new fab­ric panel as you go.

10 Your ex­tended cur­tain is now ready to hang.

You need · A set of plain cur­tains, in­clud­ing cur­tain hang­ing hooks · Fea­ture fab­ric (A) · Plain back­ing fab­ric (B) · Con­trast­ing fab­ric strip (C) · Mea­sur­ing tape · Sewing scis­sors · Iron · Sewing pins · Sewing ma­chine · Nee­dle and cot­ton · Lad­der · Pa­per and pen­cil Drab to fab Full-length cur­tains look the most dra­matic and are more ef­fec­tive than shorter cur­tains for block­ing noise and light.

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