Dressing our naked windows…How I made custom curtains & valance- DIY

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This summer I decided to really put my grandmother’s old sewing machine to work.  I started out making baby blankets and pacifier clips for all the baby showers I had to attend early on in the summer, then I moved right along

 into making curtains for the first floor. Kevin mentioned we needed curtains to block the hot sun during the morning in the powder room, kitchen and dining room, and curtains for the living room to block the blinding afternoon sun, that can make sitting in the living room unbearable.


So I went to my favorite store this summer, Joann Fabrics and picked out a few gender neutral designs to make curtains.  I wanted to also match the paint colors that were in the rooms as well, and keep uniformity in the dining/kitchen/powder room, and the color scheme (although different pattern) in the living room.  These were the Waverly patterns (Tip Top (chevron looking pattern in powder, kitchen & dining rooms, and Pom Pom Play for living room) that I ended up with– all on sale for 50% off, plus a 20% student discount for the month of July.  So, 70% off of all my materials is not a bad price to pay for redoing all of these rooms.

I followed this tutorial that I found on Pinterest, but I added my own modifications, especially since I added a grey 6″ color block at the bottom of all of my curtains (to keep it uniform on the first floor!)   Also, I did not want to put holes in the walls, so I made curtains for tension rods that are inside the wood frames, and I didn’t want curtains that were lined or went longer then the windows (so I went against what you are “supposed to do” vs. what I wanted to do).  I think it turned out really nice and am happy with my finished products.  Here are the steps I followed and supplies I needed.



-Pom Pom Play & Tip Top as well as Grey “canvas” type material– all in the upholstery area so they were 54″ wide which was nice

-The amount of fabric you will need will depend on your window sizes- I used about 1.75 yards of fabric per window 

-Coordinating Thread

-Sewing Machine, scissors/rotator cutter, measuring tape

-Tension Rods

-Ribbon or extra fabric (cut into 1″x3″ strips –these will be what you slide your tension rod through as opposed to creating an extra flap of fabric to slide rod through)

**Time & Patience


1. Measure all windows –twice and write it down! 

For example:

Living Room Window

Measured: 43″x 54″

Then multiple by 1.5 to get the width of the panel you should make to create a gathered look when open

43″x1.5″=64.5″ (I rounded up to 65- and added 1/2″ for seam allowance on each side)

66/2= 33″ (two panels per window)

Windows were 54″ long- but I was using 6″ of grey fabric at the bottom of each panel.  So, I needed to cut 7″ of grey fabric 33″ wide per window as well.

2. Measure & Cut Fabric

So, for each window that was 43″x54″ I cut:

2 panels of Pom Pom Play at 33″x49″ (allows for 1/2″ seam all around)

2 panels of Grey at 33″x7″ (allows for 1/2″ seam all around)

After you are finally done all of your measuring and cutting, you can begin to pin, press and sew.

(I skipped the pressing part out of sheer laziness, but I’d suggest it as it would make it easier)

3. Pin & Sew – 

For each piece of fabric, I sewed both sides and top with 1/2″ seam allowance. 

**If you are not adding a color block/second fabric onto the bottom, you can sew all edges with the 1/2″ seam allowance. 

Before I pinned/sewed the top of my panels- I placed my fabric strips or ribbon under 1/2″ folded fabric, then sewed the straight line at top.  I used 7-8 pieces per panel depending on width of panel. These pieces were cut into 1″x3″.

  This will eliminate the need to waste extra fabric and still create the space where the tension rod will slide through.

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Then….Pin bottom part of fabric strips (on the front side of curtain) and sew a straight line across about 2.5-3″ from the top of the curtain.
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5. Adding a color block/second fabric

If adding a color block at the bottom like I did, lay grey fabric on top of patterned fabric, so that the bottom edges meet and the “pretty” sides are facing each other.  You will be sewing a straight line across the bottom 1/2″ from bottom edge, this will create the grey section of the curtain.

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 6. Add Tension rod, and hang in the window and admire your hard work! 

Living Room Curtains

Living Room Curtains

One thought on “Dressing our naked windows…How I made custom curtains & valance- DIY

  1. Pingback: My DIY Nursery- Curtains | Adventures in Life

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