Well, it took me a while, but I’ve finally completed my DIY no-sew curtains for our foyer.
It’s so hard to photograph unlined curtains when the sun’s coming right through the window! Here’s a shot of them at night.
Who wants a tutorial?
One thing I feel I have to say about no-sew curtains: If you have a sewing machine and know how to use it, these are not really going to save you any time. You still have to measure, cut, iron, measure again, cut again, and pin the hems. You’re just ironing down a piece of tape instead of sewing a straight line. And by the way, fusible tape is more expensive than thread. Consider yourself warned. For the record, I do have a sewing machine and know how to use it, but I thought this would be faster. I was wrong. Hence the warning.
What you need:
- Curtain rod(s)
- Clip-on curtain rings – you’ll want around 7 per panel. Mine are from Walmart.
- Fabric – see below for measuring tips to figure out how much you need
- Measuring tape
- Tailor’s chalk pencil (it’s a pencil that wipes off easily so it doesn’t stain your fabric)
- Straight pins
- Iron-on tape (otherwise known as “Steam-A-Seam” or “Stitch Witchery” – the kind I used was called “TackyFuse Iron-On Adhesive”)
How to do it:
- Hang one of your clip-on curtain rings on your curtain rod. Measure from the clip to wherever you want your curtain to hit (theoretically: the floor). Then add at least 3 inches for the top and bottom hems. Multiply this number by the number of panels you want, then divide it by 36. Your final number is the total number of yards you need. (To give you an idea: I wanted my panels to be 81″ long, so I needed 9.5 yards for my four panels.)
- Pick out a fabric. Mine is Premier Prints’ Suzani in Wisteria, and I got it from Hancock Fabrics.
- Optional: Iron your fabric before you do anything else. You’re supposed to do this because you can’t cut a straight line in wrinkled fabric, supposedly. I did not do this. I didn’t feel like it. Mine turned out fine.
- Cut your fabric into the pieces for the panels. Remember: this is the length from the clip to the floor, plus at least 3 inches extra. I marked down my measurements with the tailor’s chalk pencil for the first panel, then I lay that first panel over the next three to make sure they’d all be the same size.
- Cut off the selvage edges. (These are the finished sides of the fabric, which don’t have the pattern.) If you have particularly narrow windows and want to make narrower panels, you can cut further. To get gathering that looks like mine, you want each panel to be about the width of the window when fully extended.
- Now, you have to iron the panels. Sorry. It’s a pain.
- Pick one side to start on. Using your measuring tape (or a ruler), fold and pin down a 1.5″ hem.
- Iron down your folded edge to get a nice, crisp edge.
- Remove your pins, and place your fusible tape underneath the folded edge. Aim to get it as close to the unfinished edge as possible so you don’t have a loose edge flapping around. Follow the instructions for the tape you buy – some have a backing you have to remove, some don’t.
- Fold the fabric back down, and iron over the folded edge. Again, follow the instructions for your tape to find out what temperature setting to use and how long to hold down the iron. Wait for the fabric to cool before you test the bond.
- Complete the next three sides. When you reach a corner where you’re joining two bonded edges, I’d recommend using extra tape. You’re holding down more fabric, so you need a stronger bond.
- Attach your clip-on curtain rings, using your measuring tape to space them out evenly.
- Hang ’em up!
I timed myself while I was working on these, and it took me about an hour and a half to complete each panel. However, keep in mind that a) I’m kind of terrible at this kind of thing, and b) I was watching Ally McBeal on Netflix and was very distracted. A person with slightly more skill and slightly less ADD could probably do these a lot more quickly.
Anyone else ever made these? Any suggestions for improving my method?