Curtains!

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Last weekend I finally attended a curtain and blind making course at Ministry of Craft in the centre of Manchester, that I’ve wanted to go on for ages, but hadn’t quite managed to find the time for. I’ve read many an article proclaiming that curtain making is pretty straightforward, but I’m a visual learner and if I’m going to outlay a lot of money on nice fabric then I want to know that they’re going to both look nice and actually work!

Sure enough the tutor confirmed that the actual curtain (and blind) making was relatively easy, it was getting the measurements right that’s the head-scratching bit. After a fair few sums (which I think I just about followed, but clearly a second opinion would be worth getting once you’ve done your own), we progressed to making a mini curtain to take home for future reference.

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In short: we pressed the hems at the sides and then the bottoms of the linings, then ditto for the main fabric, next we learnt how to do mitred corners (at which point there were lots of audible sighs around the room 🙂 ). We then pinned the linings to the main fabric, attached the header tape and voila! It was all pretty straightforward, but it was the order that I found interesting: working from the bottom up rather than the other way round.

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Next we attempted a mini, Roman blind, which was interestingly even easier. Well, the fabric part at any rate! I imagine cutting the header rail is actually pretty difficult… We followed a similar order as with the curtains, and again it was pretty fab when we threaded them up, and… Wait for it… They actually worked when you pulled the cords 🙂

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As with the previous courses I’ve attended, it was fab to spend the day with a group of like- minded people. We’ve just finished re-decorating our whole house, so after we’ve tidied up the inevitable mess and moved all the furniture back I’m looking forward to getting started on a full version of these. Luckily, it’s my son’s bedroom that’s most in need, so any amateur mistakes are going to be hidden away in a room that most visitors won’t be inspecting too closely. Apparently IKEA is the place to head for both good value and quality, furnishing fabrics in modern colours…

Anyone else tried their hand at curtain or blind making? I’d be really interested to hear how you found making up the real things 🙂

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28 thoughts on “Curtains!

  1. This is pretty cool! Curtains remain rooted firmly to the top of my post thesis sewing list as our new place is in dire need of them. I’m kind of hoping that the ones in our room don’t frey away to nothing first! Did you only to tape top curtains or did you also have a bash at ring top ones too? Also when you pinned the linings did you pin them all the way around or only along the top?

    • They really were (after the sums) really straightforward. We only did the pleated version, but have guidelines for other types. We only pinned them at the tops. I think due to the right measurements, they ‘naturally’ fitted in the right space. It’s definitely worth checking you have the sums right first…

      • Am I right in thinking you want each curtain to be the width of the window plus a drop which is 20-30cm longer than the window to account for the windowsill and hem? My mum showed me when I was *much* younger but it remains as one of those unpracriced projects!

      • Slight pause sorry… Needed to check back on my instructions. We were told to: measure length of pole, multiple by 1.5 (2.5 for pencil pleat), add 24cm overall for side hems, divide by width of fabric and round up to next whole number, measure drop and add 3cm for top turning and 16cm for hems, multiple drop by width (more for obvious designs). No idea if that will make sense to you? Will be seriously roping my husband in to do my measurements…

  2. I used to sew for a living back in the 80s and 90s so have made countless pairs of curtains and blinds. Self taught though, never did any classes which is a shame because they sound great. Your mini versions look amazing – you’ll have no problem scaling up to the real thing if these are anything to go by! I hope we get to see the results of all this decorating:)

  3. Oh how cute! I love the bright pink lining, shame it’s not the real deal!! I’ve never made curtains nor blinds… I imagine it’s very boring compared to dressmaking?!

  4. The course sounds fab and looks like you’ve learnt loads. I’ve made loads of curtains, blinds and cushions over the years and like Sewchet am self taught. You’ve probably learnt more in the day than I did in 5 years! You’ll love it! I think make you’re own soft furnishings can be more addictive than sewing clothes. My favourite room I ever did ever was Harrison’s nurse. I even made one of the things to store nappies to match the curtains!. Have fun! 🙂

  5. The course sounds Fab! I’ll admit that I’m a “bad person” and all my curtaining needs are taken straight to my Mum! Once my son grown out of wiping his grubby hands on the curtains (he’s autistic so we have bigger behavior issues to deal with!!!) I should really look into replacing my tatty old curtains and doing it myself, there’s only so much Vanish can do. As always thanx for the inspiration.

  6. Those are just the cutest curtains I have ever seen! The first things I sewed were curtains because I just thought too darn expensive so I made some. Still using them 6 years on 🙂

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