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The Buildmumahouse Guide: How to Measure up Curtains

April 10, 2017
build mum a house guide, how to make curtains, diy, sew curtains, sewing, vintage, 70s sewing book

You’ve got some fabric that you love.

How do you make curtains?

In 1981 I had some 1950’s fabric and I wanted to my some cool curtains for my flat and my mum bought this book.  “Sewing by Ann Ladbury” It looked so 70’s even then. But among smock tops, big cuffs and patch pockets shaped like an apple, I found the clearest ever guide to making curtains, blinds, cushions and furniture covers. So I’m sharing my copy of Ann Ladbury’s book, I’ve scanned pictures from the book and with my own experience here’s the first step: Buildmumahouse easy guide to making your own curtains.

The Easy Guide to Measuring up Curtains

If possible install curtain rods and tracks first, it’s easier to measure up and get the length right once that’s are in place. Attach spring wires, rods for nets inside the window recess close to the top of the recess.

make a curtain, how to make a curtain, measure a curtain, buildmumahouse guide to making curtains

Curtain inside window measurements

Curtains and nets hanging inside the window recess? Measure width and length A and B.

For width multiply A measurement by 2.5 or 3 times for a fuller curtain.

For the curtain length, this is called the drop, measure B and add 20cm for hems, subtracting 2.5cm to clear the window cill

 

how to make curtains, how to measure curtains, buildmumahouse guide, build mum a house, buildmumahouseMeasuring up for a curtain outside the window recess:

Attach your curtain rod wider than the curtain. Calculate this so that when you pull back the curtains they will hang either side clear of the window, allowing more daylight into the room. At night a generous amount of fabric at the side stops light seeping in the sides of the closed curtain.The length of your track or curtain pole depends on the space that you have, the thickness of the curtain when its bunched together and the proportions of the window.

Measurement C is the width of the curtain rod, this will be multiplied this by fullness ratio or curtain gather.

For a curtain that finishes at the window cill measure D, add 20 cm for hems and then subtract 2.5cm so the curtain doesn’t drag on the window cill. If it’s a draughty window let the curtain hang slightly lower than the window cill.

Measurement E is for a long or curtain, enhancing the illusion of a long elegant window. Take the measurement from the track down to where you would like it to end. If its floor length add 20cm for hems and subtract 2.5cm to prevent dragging.

If you are choosing a wide curtain tape you might have a choice of 3 different positions or pockets for the curtain hooks. If you plan to use the hook pockets along the bottom row of the tape you will hide the curtain track, and remember to allow enough extra length to your curtain length or “drop”.

c) “Sewing Enjoy perfect dressmaking, creative home sewing anbd decorative needlework” By Ann Ladbury 1976

How do I calculate the width of my curtains?

The width is also known as the fullness ratio. The fullness ratio depends on the header style you’ve chosen, for example multiple by:

Panel Curtain x 1

Pencil Pleat Curtain x 2 to2.5

Double Pleat Curtain x 1.9 to 2.3

Tab Top Curtain x 1.2

Sheers x 2 to 3

How much fabric should I buy for curtains?

When you buy your fabric for curtains, the sales person will need the raw measurements. They will help you calculate the final length and width allowances. Things to add to your calculations:

  1. Extra length allowance for patterns to match up.
  2. How wide is the fabric? If each curtain is wider than one length of fabric you will be joining widths of fabric so bear in mind you might have to make a small allowance for those seams.
  3. Header tape style and the depth of the gather in the curtain.
  4. Position of the curtain hooks on your header tape hooks.
  5. Allowance on the edges if you plan more than one curtain panel.