I wanted some new curtains for my sliding glass window, and after shopping around to find something stylish the cheapest I could find was going to set me back around $55. Curtains are actually one of the simplest sewing projects you can do. These curtains are easy to make and even someone who is just learning to sew could probably manage this project. For an experienced seamstress you can crank both panels out, start to finish, in about an hour. I found cute fabric at Hobby Lobby. It was close to the same fabric of the ones I was going to buy and with a coupon I spent only $25 for everything.
Step 1: Step 1: What You Will Need
5 1/3 yards of home decor fabric or duck cloth I used fabric similar to this: Hobby Lobby duck cloth
1 spool of yarn in a color that matches your fabric
Strait edge or ruler
Step 2: Step 2: Measure Window and Cut Fabric
Before you get your fabric you need to measure your window to make sure you are getting enough. 5 1/3 yards is enough for 2 panels on a standard sliding glass window. Standard size if you buy them they are 84 inches long. You will just be making them as wide as the fabric you get. If you have a wider window you will need to look for 60 inch wide fabric, if you have a normal size window like mine 45 inch fabric will be wide enough. 5 1/3 yards is enough to make two panels, if you only need one just buy half as much.
I already had a rod hung on my window so for mine I measured how tall I needed them to just skim the floor, then added 12 inches for the ruffle, pocket for rod and the hem.
For example: My rod was 77 inches from the floor. I added 12 inches to that and ended up with a total of 89 inches. If you don't have a rod already hung I would stick with the standard 84 inch curtain. 84 inches plus 12 is 96 inches. So for a standard panel you need to measure 96 inches.
Now that you know how many inches to measure your fabric lay it out on a large table or the floor. Use a tape measure to mark your fabric, and then if you have a strait edge fabric measure (like the one pictured above), use it to draw a strait line across your fabric as a cutting guide. If not then just use any type of strait edge to make your line. Cut your fabric down the line you made.
Step 3: Step 3: Hem Up Your Sides
Once your fabric is cut, your first task is to hem the sides of each panel. First fold your fabric 1/4 of an inch over and iron down the whole length. Then turn it one more time 1/4 of an inch and iron again. You can pin this if you would like but since this is a narrow hem, the ironing should hold it in place and pinning is really unnecessary.
Turn it to the wrong side when sewing and sew a strait stitch close to the edge of your fold. Like shown in the picture.
Step 4: Step 4: Create Your Top Ruffle and Pocket for Your Rod
Now that you have both sides hemmed it is time to work on the top of your curtain panel. Start by folding and ironing a narrow hem. Exactly the same as you did for the sides, by fold it over 1/4 inch twice. Leave this hem unsewn for now. Instead measure and fold over another six inch section and iron.(At this point the top has been folded over 3 times: 1/4, 1/4 and 6 inches). This will be the ruffle and the pocket for your rod. Once you have your 6 inch section measured and ironed, pin it in place. Now you need to measure 3 inches down from your fold. This is where a clear strait edge ruler like the one pictured really comes in handy. You can easily see where 3 inches is from your fold while drawing your line. Draw a line 3 inches down from your fold. I used a pencil but you can use whatever you want. The line will be on the back of the curtain and won't be seen so it doesn't matter if the line can be washed off. This line is your guide for sewing your rod pocket. Once your line is drawn add some pins to keep the fabric in place while sewing.
Now with your fabric on the wrong side sew down the hem you made close to the fold with a strait stitch. This will be the bottom of your rod pocket. Now sew a strait stitch down the line you made. This will be the top of your rod pocket and the bottom of your ruffle. You can see in the photo I included with the rod inserted how this will look when it is all done.
Step 5: Step 5: Hem Up Your Bottom Edge
You will need to measure your curtain again at this point. If you did everything correctly you will have 2 inches left on the bottom for a hem. You might need to adjust this and take a larger or shorter hem if your curtain isn't falling where you want it to.
Lets just assume you did everything right and you have 2 inches of extra fabric left for your hem. First you need to fold up a 1/4 inch just like you did for your sides and iron. Now measure 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch and fold this over and iron. Pin your hem in place. This will leave you a much larger hem than you did for your sides. You don't need to do such a large hem but I like the look of a wider hem at the bottom.
Once everything is ironed and pinned in place, go ahead and sew a strait stitch close to the fold of your fabric. This will complete your curtain. Before hanging it on your rod be sure to clip of all the extra thread from your hems. and iron it. Repeat all steps for your second panel.
Now you have the idea of a basic curtain. You can apply these same steps for different sizes of windows in your house and make curtains for all of your windows!