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Simple Unlined Curtains

home sewing

If you haven’t made curtains before, this is just the place to start. Unlined, and gathered using a ready-made tape, these short curtains are made in Dawn Chorus, Dusky Pink and Winter, and are perfect for hanging above a sofa placed under a window. For an easy, country look, hang them from a simple wooden pole.

making curtains, simple unlined curtains 

You will need

Decorator fabric—see below for yardage

Narrow two-cord heading tape, the width of each finished curtain panel plus 4in (10cm)

Matching sewing thread

Curtain hooks


Estimating yardage

Measure your window to find the finished length and width of the curtains. Add 8in (20cm) to the length for the top and bottom hems, and 21⁄2in (6cm) to the width for the side hems.

To achieve the proper fullness, this heading needs fabric that measures one-and-a-half to two times the width of the window. For narrow windows, one width of fabric may be enough, but you will need to allow two or more widths of fabric for each curtain panel if your window is wide.

For more tips on how to measure for curtains, check out our techniques blog post.


1. Cut out the required number of fabric lengths for each curtain panel. Join the cut fabric lengths to form the panel widths. Press a double-fold 5⁄8in (1.5cm) hem to the wrong side along both side edges of each panel. Pin and hemstitch in place. Press a double-fold 2in (5cm) hem to the wrong side along the top and bottom edges of each panel. Pin and machine-stitch in place. Slipstitch the open side edges of the lower hem together and press flat.

2. On the heading tape, pull the cords out for 2in (5cm) from each end of the tape. Knot the cord ends together at the leading (inner) edge of each curtain panel. Lay the panel wrong side up on a large flat surface. Position the heading tape over the top hem, lining up the top edge of the tape with the stitching line of the hem, and leaving 2in (5cm) of tape extending at each side. Pin in place.

3. Trim away some of the excess tape at both ends, leaving 3⁄4in (2cm) to fold under in line with the edges of the panel pin. Machine-stitch up one short end of the tape, along the top edge, and along the other short end, making sure you leave the loose cord ends free. Machine-stitch the lower edge of the tape, stitching in the same direction as before.

4. Carefully pull up the loose cords, to gather up each panel to half the width of your window. Even out the pleats by hand. Tie the long ends of the cord into a bow, wind into a bundle, and hand-sew to the back of the tape. Never cut the cords, because the panels need to be flattened out for laundering. Insert the curtain hooks about 4in (10cm) apart, placing a hook near each outer edge so the curtains hang straight. Hang from a pole with rings, or from a rod (track).


For more DIY home projects, check out A Beginner's Guide to Making Curtains, Shades, Pillows and More by Vanessa Arbuthnott.



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