Friday, August 9, 2013

DIY Curtains: How to Make Curtains Without a Sewing Machine

I know I surely cannot be the only one who longs to be a DIY queen, but lacks the sewing machine skills/is too lazy to just lug that 10 pound thing out of storage. For years I've been trying to figure out how to make things without using a sewing machine! Luckily I discovered HEM TAPE, a double stick tape that bods with heat! I'm hemming all of the things. Dresses, pants, Jonathan's shorts as a prank etc. 

Since we've moved into the new house AND we're on a bit of a budget we've been DIY-ing a lot around these parts. I decided to make little curtains for our kitchen, and apparently ain't nobody got time to sew a bunch of rectangles and shiiiii......So I decided to put my new best friend, hem tape, to good use! Read on to find out how to make curtains without using a sewing machine! 
1. Gather your materials.
You'll need fabric, scissors, a tension rod, an iron, hem tape and a tape measure. I suggest fabric that doesn't have much elasticity or stretch. It's a lot easier to get things all even with less slinky/stretchy material which can sometimes be hard to measure exactly. As far as hem tape goes, you can get it at any craft store. I got mine at Joanne's Fabrics, or you can order it online here. Tension rods you can order here OR grab at your local hardware store

2. Measure your windows and cut your fabric.
You're going to need to measure the inside of your window frame for these curtains because they are suspended by a tension rod which fits snugly inside the frame. After that, measure your fabric and double the width of the frame. If your window width is 30 inches, your fabric should be 60 inches wide. As far as length, I typically cut about 6 inches over the exact length of the window. My window length was 28 inches, so I cut the fabric 34 inches long. Once you have your panel all cut, fold it over length wise and cut it right down the center. Now you have two panels for one window!

3. Make hems for the sides of your panels. 
Place a strip of hem tape along the edge of the back of your panel length-wise.  Hem tape is like double stick tape, so once it's on your fabric, peel of the paper off to reveal the other sticky side. Now, fold over the edge of the fabric with the hem tape directly onto the rest of your panel so it sticks. Once it's folded over, press firmly along the folded fabric with a hot iron. Hold the iron 10-15 seconds on each section of hem tape to ensure a good stick. Repeat 3 more times on all the length-wise edges of your panels. (If you're nervous about ruining your fabric with a hot iron, you can place a towel between the iron and your fabric. My fabric was super thick and linen-y, so I didn't need to do this even with my iron on the highest setting. It's always a good idea to test on a scrap piece of fabric). 

4. Create a place for your tension rod. 
Once you have your edges hemmed you can begin creating the loop for your tension rod. The photo has me ironing the the loop for the tension rod without the side hem! This is a mistake I learned from in the midst of the project! Do your side seams first and place the hem tape over that side seam when creating the space for your tension rod! Again, put the hem tape along the edge of the fabric, except across the top of your panel this time. Instead of folding it directly over onto itself like you did for the side hems, fold the fabric 1 and 1/2 inches over so it sticks and iron slowly along the top of your hem taped fabric. Once you're done with this step you should have a space to put your tension rod....but don't do it yet! Repeat this step on your second panel.

5. Create a bottom seam. 
See a pattern developing?! To be precise, lay your tape measure length-wise along your hemmed panel. What ever the length of your window is, run your hem tape horizontally across the bottom of your panel directly at that measurement (you will have an excess of fabric, but it's okay... we'll deal with that next). So again, fold the fabric directly on itself and iron...just like your side hems, except this time you will have a bit of extra fabric beyond the seam you created. Repeat this step on your second panel.

6. Cut excess fabric.
Cut whatever fabric you have left from your bottom hems. You might say this step can be avoided by measuring properly, adding and subtracting, but I prefer to do as little math as possible so there you have it. If you're the measuring type, by all means go for it and skip this step! At this point if you want to thread a needle and hand stitch a few stitches to reinforce your seams, go for it. It can't hurt, and certainly doesn't require the know-how of a sewing machine. If not, that's fine too.

7. Build your treatment.
place your tension rod in your window frame to get the width right. The width of a tension rod can usually be adjusted by a small screw that comes with the rod or you can simply screw and unscrew the tension rod itself to adjust its width. To get it snug, put the rod in the frame a bit diagonally and sort of shove it into the frame until it is perpendicular. once you've got the width, remove the naked tension rod from the window and slide the 2 panels onto it. Easy as pie.

8. Place your treatment in your window frame, step back, gaze at your creation, and bask in the glory of your amazing home-making prowess. 

I said tension rod too much in this post.

why do I suddenly want a hot dog?


  1. Love this DIY!! It's so awesome that you're getting creative with your new space!

    Xo, Hannah

  2. why have i never heard of hem tape before?! excuse you me while i go throw out my sewing machine...

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

  3. oh my, thank you so much for posting this! I am the worst, most impatient sewer so I avoid it whenever possible. I need curtains badly, though, so I can't tell you how thankful I am to have this DIY!


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