Project #1 – Check! Pictures and a Cafe Curtain Tutorial

I’ve finished my first project of the break!  This turned to be a really easy project even though it of course took me longer than I expected it too.

First, let me show you what I’ve been wanting to replace for 18 months.

It shielded our modesty.  That’s about all I can say for it.

But after a long search for fabric (including in the Philadelphia garment district) which finally found success on-line and a couple hours of work, now we have this lovely thing.


The fabric is from the Feathered Friends line by Wendy Slotboom.  I bought it from Sew, Mama, Sew which has a wonderful blog, probably my current favorite craft blog because they provide links to so many other wonderful crafting blogs.  And, they’re located in Oregon, which makes me happy.  I can’t do everything locally, right?

I claimed that I would be posting a tutorial for how to make a curtain like this but of course, I didn’t take any pictures of the process.  So here’s the short and sweet version of what I did.  I actually couldn’t find instructions on the Internet for the exact kind of curtain that I wanted to make.  So I sort of made it up, although you’ll see that really, it’s very simple.

1. Measure your window.  Figure out how much of the window you want/need to cover.  In our case, I wanted as much of the window as possible to be open, to let in light.  So we made the curtain as short as we could.  Basically, unless our neighbors hang out on their roof, we’re safe.

2.  To those measurements, add one inch to the width (for 1/2 seams on either side) and 3 1/2 inches to the height – to allow for the hem at the top and a 1/2″ seam allowance at the bottom.  This design does not have a hem at the bottom.

In my case, my finished curtain needed to be 23″ high and 27 1/8″ wide, so I cut my fabric to be 26 1/2″ by 28 1/8″.

This pattern makes a curtain that will hang totally flat in your window – there won’t be any extra fabric.  If you want it to have curves in it, you’ll need to find a different pattern!

3. Cut out three pieces of fabric that are all the same size. 
a.  your curtain fabric – when cutting your curtain fabric, make sure that you have your pattern facing the right way.  In my case – I knew that I wanted my birds to be right-side up!
b. your lining fabric – I just bought a white lining fabric from the lining section at JoAnns.
c. batting – I used Warm and White.  It’s an all-cotton batting that feels wonderful and is also not fluffy at all.  You don’t have to use batting but it gives some heft to the curtain and helps it hang straight.  My old roommate Kristen taught me this trick!  I guess it will be a better insulator this way as well although that wasn’t my goal!

4.  After you’ve cut out your three pieces, put them together this way: batting (on the bottom), curtain fabric right side up (so that you can see the pattern), lining fabric (on the top).  Pin on all four sides.

5.  Sew down one side.  Then sew across the bottom.  Use 1/2″ seam allowances.  Then, you may want to stop, smooth out your layers, and repin.  In my case, I found that my batting had shifted a little bit so I had to smooth it out again, trim off a bit, and repin it.  Then sew the third side.

6.  Turn the curtain inside out so that the curtain fabric is now facing out.  Your fabric order should now be curtain fabric, batting, lining fabric.  Push out the corners at the bottom, to make them as close to square as you can.  Then iron all sides of the curtain to get it smooth and lying flat.

7.  Now, all that’s left is to sew the pocket that the curtain rod will go through.  At the top, turn over the top of the curtain and press a 1″ section down all the way across.  Now, you should be able to see the curtain fabric at the back of the curtain.  Then fold over a 2″ section of the curtain again so that you have a 2″ pocket formed.  (You turned in 1/2″ so that the hem of the pocket would be neat.)  Sew down the hem, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Iron the curtain to get out any wrinkles from sewing.

One caution – your machine will potentially have a hard time sewing through the multiple fabric at the beginning and end of the pocket – it’s a lot of fabric.  I had to move the needle by hand through the thick hem until I was past the worst of thickness.  At the end, I just kept going and plowed through the thick part.  Rather than try to reverse and finish the seams like normal, I just pulled the thread through and tied it off by hand.

8.  You’re done!  Congratulations on making a cafe curtain! 

And I am so happy to have finallly finished the curtain in our bathroom!

This entry was posted in sewing. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Project #1 – Check! Pictures and a Cafe Curtain Tutorial

  1. Aunt Zona says:

    What a wonderful improvement to your bathroom!  Suddenly there is life and personality – the new curtain is not only beautiful but also interesting.  Impressive instructions –  I read them through whether I plan to make such a curtain or not.  Question – are you carrying colors from your new curtain into other places in the bathroom?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s