Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tutorial {Rod Pocket Curtains with a Liner: Part One}

Here it first tutorial. It may not be great, bare with me!!

Let me start by again saying that I am NOT a sewer by any stretch of the imagination.  I just learned how to sew in November, when I made lots of these for Bradley’s 4th Birthday party.  Other than that, I made a little pillowcase dress for Ellie, and that is it.  You don’t have to know much to complete these, I promise!  I took a lot of pictures, and I am breaking the project down into two parts.  Let me know if you have questions.

I started by searching for other curtain tutorials, and I found this one very helpful to get started.  Anna’s Nest gave me a basic outline of what I wanted my curtains to look like.  The other helpful thing I did was take down one of Bradley’s lined curtains from his bedroom.  After looking closely at how they were sewn together I was ready to get started.  In the end I took pieces from the tutorial, Bradley’s curtain, and Chris’ awesome math skills  to make them.  The first curtain was a bit of trial and error, but now I have it figured out.

First, find a fabric that you love….   


don’t you love it?? me too!! 

Then, come up with your plan.  Where are your curtains going? get some measurements.  I have three windows that are getting curtains.  Chris and I measured from above the window sill to the floor, and figured that each window was going to use at least 3 yards of fabric to get the length and look that I wanted.  I wanted the curtains to reach from a few inches above the window moldings to the floor without any dragging.  We figured we were going to need roughly 18 yards of fabric.

WARNING:  This is what I didn’t know, but my Mom quickly informed me (thanks mom!!).  If you choose a fabric with a pattern repeat things get a little more tricky.  You have to account for the amount of repeat when you buy your fabric.  Basically this means that you want to have plenty of extra so that you can start at the beginning of the pattern repeat for the top of each curtain.  If I have totally lost you, you don’t want one window to have the big flower in the middle, and then next window have the flower by the floor…this looks bad.

Considering the pattern repeat for my fabric, I purchased 22 yards.  Your fabric store will help you figure this out. 

I was seriously nervous about this whole pattern thing.  I didn’t want to spend all of this money and then mess these suckers up.  Luckily my fabric made it idiot proof.  First is says right on the edge which part is the top: 




Then it has a series of numbers with a + sign to show the top of the pattern repeat.  Wow, this just got a lot easier!!

 Now, cut your fabric to the correct length…gulp!!

I measured 97 1/2 inches from the floor to the top of the rod, plus 4 inches to make the rod pocket at the top, and  4 inches for the hem.  97 1/2 (length) + 4 (rod pocket) + 4 (hem) = 105 1/2 inches.

My first curtain was a lot longer than this.  I think I gave myself 10 or so extra inches on the bottom.  I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t going to be too short.  But once I figured out the first curtain I cut it exactly to the length I needed.  105 1/2 inches.  Chris and I laid a long level from one plus sign to the other and marked the edges.  then we turned the fabric over and drew a line across the fabric, and then cut it with scissors.  You need to be very precise with this cut, because it is going to be the top of your curtain.  You want it to match all of your other curtains, so when it hangs they will look the same. 

tips:  we tried a number of different ways to cut the fabric.  first we used a circular cutting tool, but we ran into some issues.  Sometimes it would slide away from the level, and then mess up the cutting.  Or the level would move from the pressure and we would mess up the cutting.  although it was more time consuming, we ended up drawing a line and cutting with scissors.  the reason we turned the fabric over to draw the line was because of the fabric.  some parts of the flowers are brown, and you couldn’t see the pencil mark on the fabric.  if you are able to draw with a pencil on your fabric, go for it.  it is going to get flipped inside the rod pocket, so you won’t see the pencil in the end.     


The liner

Next you need to cut your liner.  I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t just cut the liner the same size as the curtain.  So, learn from me and cut your liner 4 inches less from the top and the bottom.  My liner was 97 inches.

tip:  My first curtain I cut the liner to the curtain length, and after sewing it together and turning the edges in my curtain got SO thick.  My fabric is really heavy, so the fabric and weight of the liner wouldn’t fit through the sewing machine.  I had to rip out the hem and take the liner out to fix the problem.  The example from Bradley’s room didn’t have the liner in the hem or rod pocket either.  I also think my liner was really thick, if you are making a lighter weight curtain this might not be an issue! 

I hemmed the bottom of my liner with a very basic hem.  Looking back it may have been a better idea to fold over the edge twice so it doesn’t have a raw edge.  But, this is going to be inside your curtain, and not really going to be seen.  Just might look a lot nicer (and probably the correct way to do it too!)  Anyway, I ironed the fabric over 1/2 inch and sewed it.



Pin the Liner and the Curtain Fabric Together

Now you need to pin your fabric together.  You want your liner to start about four inches from the top of the fabric.  So I laid them on a big table to pin them.  I put the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  After you sew them together, you will flip them right side out.  




The Tools

I don’t have a lot of sewing stuff, but you will need some basics.  Pins, a pin cushion, and a sewing ruler.


Measure four inches from to top of your fabric, and line up the liner.  Pin across the top.  Slowly pin down the sides.  I would pin a little of one side, and then move to the other.  I would press the liner and the fabric back and forth making sure that I didn’t have bubbles or wrinkles between the two.     





You did it!! Your liner and your curtains are finally ready to get sewn together.  Here is my curtain, right sides facing together, all pinned up and ready to hit the sewing machine.  I would recommend laying your project out on a large table, it will help a lot!


Sew the Liner to the Curtain

Hopefully you have a newer sewing machine than this…

It is my Grandma’s, I think over 30 years old.  But it does the trick!  So line up your fabric and start sewing.  Try to stay as straight as possible. 




Turn the curtains right side out

ta da!! You just completed attaching the liner, yay sewers!!!


Iron the Curtains

Now iron the liner and the curtains.  Try to push the curtains and the liner so they iron nicely together.  I know, yuck ironing.  But, it will make your curtains look so great in the end, I promise.  


yes, you guessed it, more ironing!!  Use lots of steam! 


Part One:  Completed!  Part Two:  The edges, rod pockets, and hems!


Now if I haven’t lost your, or bored you to tears, I am going to post the rest of this sometime this weekend.  I had to take a break from the great curtain project to clean up this place.  Now that we are in tip top shape, back to sewing! 

Everyone is finally feeling better, and we are going to enjoy a weekend of birthday parties, a movie date with the hubs, and my first photography homework assignment {shutter speed}.  I can’t wait!



Colleen said...

This is great Clare! Can't wait to see the finished product.

I don't have much in terms of sewing things either. The machine, some thread and tonight I bought out the seam ripper thing. I had a hard time sewing the trim of colin's b-day shirt (the number) I had to rip it out and start over. So that was my introduction to that tool. Going to give it another shot this weekend. LOL.

Miriam said...

Great job, Clare! Love the fabric! I've done some curtains for our house too. I got the bug a coupla years ago and took a class. Lots of fun!

Heather @ Cancer Mommy said...

Good job:) It might help to use a thicker needle when sewing those thicker fabrics. I love to sew! It makes me happy:)

Penny said...

Thank you! Thank you! Now to hit the fabric store to pick out our fabric. Glad the family is feeling better.

Lindsay said...

I love the fabric!! Can't wait to see them up! Good job on the tutorial.. I however would like to point out that you totally sounded like a cheerleader and I loved it!! :-)

Jodee said...

I also love the fabric! I can't wait to see more!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Laural Out Loud said...

That fabric is to die for! LOVE it! I can't wait to see the curtains in all their hung glory. And then can I hire you? I guess that's not the point of a tutorial, lol.

Brian and Emily DeLuca said...

LOVE the curtains and the tutorial is much appreciated. I'm trying to get motivated to make curtains for our living and dining rooms.

laura said...

love the fabric!

wow - seriously! i need to be more productive during naptime! ;)

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aggie said...

i have a question! when you purchase ready made curtains. and it is stated on the packaging, 4 inch rod pocket...does that mean four inches of material on both sides, meaning 4inches from the top of the curtain to the hem. or does it mean 4 inches total. 2 inches in the front and 2 inches in the back of the curtain? im just trying to figure out if my curtain rod measures 4 inches in circumference and 1.5 inches in diameter, do i need a 2 inch rod pocket? or a 4 inch rod pocket? any help would be great!

Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis said...

This is such a great tutorial for curtains, I actually think I might be able to do it myself:) Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I also featured your tutorial on my blog. Hope you can check it out:)

Patricia said...

A wonderful and easy to follow tutorial ~ thanks!