Sewing Window Treatments

Sewing window treatments yourself will give you lots of flexibility for getting what you want on your windows and freedom to express your creativity.

Window treatments can play an important role in our decorating schemes both visually and functionally with several designs and styles from which to choose.

They can be a dramatic focal point to a room or create a subtle background allowing the furniture to become prominent.

You can create a wide variety of beautiful window treatment options with styles ranging from the simple and informal, like panels, fabric roller shades and swags to a much more formal drapery with layers upon layers of fabrics.

But if you are an inexperienced sewer or haven't sewn in a while I would probably choose a project that is pretty simple. A straight curtain panel like rod pocket or tab top curtains or valences are the simplest to make.

Sewing window treatments of even the simpler projects if you know the basics can look fabulous and custom. Select a design that appeals to you and to your particular window.

Take accurate measurements with a metal tape measure and record the dimensions of each window. Even if they are the same type of window you will want to measure each one individually. You would be surprised sometimes how they can differ from one another.

Take these few things into consideration when deciding what treatment to make.

  • How full do you want your drapes to be?
  • Heavy fabric takes up more room than a thinner fabric will when the draperies are drawn back.

  • Think about and choose the hardware you plan to use, and purchase it before you calculate the amount of fabric that you will need. The hardware will be part of the equation. For example if you plan to use drapery rings or clips the size of these accessories will factor into the total measurement.
  • When you are sewing window treatments, do you plan to mount them on the inside or the outside of the window frame, how far will they extend and at what height will they hang?

No matter which design you decide on you will need to determine the finished size, which includes the width and length, the amount of fullness you wish to create, the headings and hem allowances.

The top, side and bottom hem allowances for window treatments can be a matter of personal preference but a general frame of reference would be 1-3 inches for the top and sides and for the hem at the bottom allow 2-6 inches.

But each case is different depending again on the design and the fabric chosen. Some may require another proportion to make sense to your particular situation

Substantial hems help curtains hang nicely.

If the width of your finished panel is greater than the width of your fabric, you will have to sew two widths together to create the needed width, which means you need to account for the seam allowances to your dimensions.

And only where you are joining widths of fabric together to achieve the desired fullness for your design, or if you are planning to add a ruffle. The standard seam allowance should be a 1/2 inch.

For example:

  • Desired width for curtain is 78"
  • Plus the right side allowance of 3"
  • Left side allowance of 3"
  • For a total width of 84"
  • Fabric width you are working with is 52"
  • 84" divided by 52" = 1.6 (round up to 2)
  • 2 widths are required to achieve desired fullness for each panel
  • 2 panels for each window x 2 widths = 4 total
  • The length of treatment is 80"
  • Plus top allowance of 3"
  • Plus bottom hem allowance of 6"
  • For a total of 89" length X 4 total widths = 356"
  • 356" divided by 36" (a yard) = 9.8 (round up) 10 yards
If we are making treatments for two windows, we would need four panels, two for each window.

All of these thing can take up as much time as the actual sewing but it will be worth it to make sure every thing will go smoothly.

Sewing window treatments will look better and are more durable when they are lined. The lining adds body to the treatment, helps to conceal seams, provides protection from sun light and you won't see the wrong side of the fabric from the outside.

Good quality cotton or cotton/blend is recommended for durability.

Most curtains will last longer if they are interlined with flannel, which really protects against sun damage and adds insulation.

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