A Simple Curtain Anyone Can Learn To Sew

Learn To Sew This Curtain

This cute curtain is what sparked my interest in sewing. About six years ago my friend Beth (you know her from the last Feature Friday) taught me how to sew this curtain for above my kitchen window. I fell in love with the ribbon ties and loved its classic look. When Beth told me it was easy, I was a little skeptical. To my surprise, it was incredibly easy to sew and I have loved to sew ever since! Want to give it a try? It is easy, I promise!

Before we get started, let me warn you that I don’t claim to be a professional seamstress. I sew to create unique decor for my home. I am sure once upon a time my mom taught me all the fancy lingo for sewing. But as most teenagers, I thought I had better things to do then to learn about sewing. The good news for you is that it should be a simple tutorial that is easy to understand for the beginner.

Let’s get started! Here is what you need in the picture below. And of course a sewing machine!


Knowing how much fabric to buy for the curtain.
Measure the area of the width you want your fabric to cover over your window. If you have an adjustable cheap white rod like mine, your will need to add an additional 4 inches to each side to cover where it wraps, which makes a total of 8 inches. My rod measures 36 inches and then I add in 3/4 inch seam allowance to each side making it a total of 1 1/2inches. My total width I will need is 45 1/2 inches (36 + 4×2 + 3/4×2= 45 1/2 inches). I would be generous with your width measurement. It is better for it to be too wide then too short.

For your curtain length, measure from the top of your rod to where you want your curtain to fall. If you want it to cover the whole window when the ribbons are untied, then measure a few inches past your window sill. If you are like me and know that you are going to always have them up, measure about 3/4 of the way down your window. My length was 27 inches. Add in a 2 1/4 inch seam allowance at your top and a 3/4 inch seam allowance at the bottom. My total length is 30 inches (27 + 2 1/4 + 3/4 = 30).

Most home decor fabric is 54″ wide (It will tell you on the side of the bolt). Since my window width is 45 1/2, I know my width will fit across the fabric. My length is 30 inches. Since there are 36 inches in a yard, I know that I can get one curtain made out of one yard. I ordered 2 yards since I have two windows.

Cut out your fabric
Cut your material out to the measurements you took earlier. Make sure you double check your measurements. This curtain is fairly forgiving if you mess up a little, but you can’t be too short on your width. I use a rotary wheel and a square to do my cutting. A good tip for cutting is to line your square up with the salvage edge (edge that hasn’t been cut) because you know that it is straight. If it isn’t perfectly straight, don’t fret. It should be okay as long as it isn’t way off.


Ironing and pressing
One of the most important steps of sewing curtains is ironing and pressing down your raw edges. It actually takes longer then the sewing itself!

Start with the two sides of your curtain first. Fold in your raw edge 1/4 of an inch. If you have a frayed edge like mine don’t count the frayed part in your 1/4 inch. Press it down.

Fold in Raw Edge

Fold over again and measure 1/2 inch this makes a double hem. I like the double hem because it leaves a clean and professional looking edge. Press it down and pin it in place. If you press it down well you shouldn’t need too many pins. The more pins you put in the more you will have to take out as you sew.

Fold in Press and Pin Pin

Sewing your ironed seams
Bring it over to your sewing machine and get your sew on!

Get your sew on

Take your fabric and line the edge of the fabric with the line that is marked 10 or 3/8 inch. Sew forward a few stitches then back stitch a few. Always do this when starting out each seam. When you are sewing, try to keep the edge of the fabric on this line the whole time to make a straight seam. The main purpose is to catch the 1/4 inch that your pressed down first.

Keeping it straight is the biggest challenge when you are a beginner. When I was first learning to sew, I put a piece of masking tape on the sewing machine to mark where I needed to line up my fabric. I found it easier.

Line up fabric and Sew

You should have your two sides sewn up. Now take what will be your bottom of your curtain and repeat the ironing step and pin it in place. Then sew it up just like you did before.

Repeat Ironing

Repeat Ironing2

Take what will be the top of your curtain and iron and press a 1/4 inch like you did before. This time you will be folding it over to be 2 inches. Press it down and pin. This is where you will insert your rod, so make sure your rod fits.

Fold in two inches

Pining your ribbon in place
Pick out ribbon that coordinates with your fabric. The width of the ribbon doesn’t matter too much. I have done wider ribbon and it looks good too.

Place your curtain down on a flat surface and place the ribbon about where you think it would look good from the edge. Then just make sure each side is even by measuring in the same from the edge. Mine is about 11 inches in from the edge.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.56.08 AM

Pin your ribbon down at the top and wrap it so ribbon is draping down the front and the back of the curtain. Let it hang about six inches or so past the curtain bottom. Pin it again one more time along the seam so it holds in place before you sew it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.58.59 AM

Sew your last seam! I line the presser foot up with the edge on the left. Keep the left of the presser foot aligned with the left edge of the seam to keep it straight. Again if you feel more comfortable putting a piece of tape down as a guide to keep it straight, then do it!

Stop right before you get to the ribbon and make sure everything is straight and that it isn’t bunched up in the back. Then sew over the top of the ribbon.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.01.24 AM

Everything should be all sewn at this point. Put your curtain on your rod and tie up your ribbons. I usually tie up my ribbon before I hang it up on the rod. The final step is to cut your ribbon at angles to the length that looks good to you.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.02.30 AM

And you are done! A beautiful curtain that you can make in a few hours. It really is easy! My only warning is that once you learn how to do it, you will be constantly wanting to switch it out with new fabric. This is my third curtain that I have made like this. Happy Sewing, Moxies!

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5 thoughts on “A Simple Curtain Anyone Can Learn To Sew

  1. Great tutorial Lindsay! Thanks for the shout out! 🙂

    My favorite sewing tool is that little ruler. They are so cheap and so helpful!

  2. Love those! A little sewing tip. If you run the pins the opposite direction you can actually sew over the pins and just pill them out in the end. (My mom is a seamstress, though I love to sew, I’m not the greatest!

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