Making Unlined Curtains and Sheer Curtains
Sheers and Unlined Curtains
The typical sheer curtain is the net curtain, long used in conjunction with outer curtains to provide daytime privacy and to filter strong sunlight. Almost any kind of light, semi-transparent fabric can serve the purpose —muslin, lace, voile and lawn are all attractive options. Sheer curtains are often suspended from a rod or wire by means of a cased heading, but they can also be hung from a special track or they can be fixed top and bottom as panels — on French doors, for example.
Making Sheer Curtains
Net and other types of semitransparent material are available in many different widths (90-270cm/36-108in), so you can almost always avoid joins. The sides are usually finished but, if not, hem by 5mm/1/4in. The bottom edge too may require hemming: stitch a 5cm/2in double hem (turning the fabric by a total of 10cm/4in).
1 Turn a 5cm/2in doubl hem at the top and machine-stitch close to the edge of the turning and again 2.5cm/1in above the first 2.5cm/1in so that you form a channel. Machine-stitch both lines in the same direction.
2 Thread plastic-covered wire or a rod through the casing and gather up the curtain. The fabric at the top will form a soft frill.
Making Unlined Curtains
1 Join widths with flat fell seams. Machine right sides together, trimming one seam allowance and folding the wider one over the narrower to enclose it.
2 Press and machine-stitch down the seam, close to the edge. If you do not want stitching to show on the right side, use a simple flat seam. Finish by pinking or machine-stitching, and press open.
3 Turn 2.5cm/1in double hems down the sides and 7.5cm/3in double hems at the bottom, mitring the corners. Slip-stitch into place.
4 Turn down the top edge of the curtain, and attach heading tape to cover the raw edge. The corner should be angled slightly. At one end of the tape, knot the ends of the cord and turn under. At the other end, free the cords and machine-stitch along the top, bottom and sides, stitching underneath the free cords. Pull the cords so that the fabric draws up to the required width.
* To prevent puckering, remove or snip selvedges. Make sure half-widths of fabric are positioned toward the outer edges of the curtains. To help the curtains hang properly, weight them with special discs or continuous weighted tape sewn inside the hem before you finish stitching it.
Making a Loose-lined Curtain
The easiest method of lining curtains is loose-lining. It is suitable for almost all curtains except those which are made of heavy fabric or those which are very wide.
When you have cut the fabric, pull out a thread across the top of each drop to ensure that you have a straight edge. Check that the pattern aligns at the top of each drop. When cutting out lining fabric, use a setsquare (T-square) and rule to chalk a line across, which you can follow to ensure a straight edge. Lining fabric should be 23cm/9in shorter and 12.5cm / 5in narrower than the curtain fabric.
Cut out all the fabric lengths (drops) so that the patterns match across the finished curtain. There should be a complete motif at the top of each drop, and both curtains should match.
To join drops, first fold under the seam allowance of one drop and press it. Place this over the seam allowance of the second piece, matching the pattern. Pin in place.
Tack (baste) by stitching across the join, turning the needle through the bottom piece, then stitching across the join again and running through the fold on the top. Turn the top piece back and, with right sides together, machine-stitch along the tacked seam. Remove the tacking, making sure not to pull fabric threads, and iron to finish.
Materials and Equipment
• curtain fabric
• lining fabric
• heading tape
• ruler and setsquare (T-square)
• tailors’ chalk
• pins and needles
• sewing machine
• iron (for pressing)
• curtain weights
• curtain hooks
1. Join widths of curtain fabric, using flat seams and matching the patterns (see above). Clip seams, press open and repeat for the lining. Mark the mid-points of curtain panels and lining panels with pins or chalk.
2. Place lining and fabric right sides together, with the lining 7.5cm/3in down from the top and side edges aligned. Machine-stitch 1cm/1/2in seams up to 7.5cm/3in from the bottom of the lining; the surplus fabric will make a pleat at the back. Clip seam turnings.
3. Turn up and press 5cm/2in to the wrong side of the lining and machine-stitch a 2.5cm/1in double hem.
4. Turn curtain right-side out and press, matching the midpoints of curtain and lining panels to create equal margins of curtain fabric on each side of the lining face.
5. Press a double 7.5cm/3in hem in place on the curtain fabric. The 1ining should finish 5cm/2in above the curtain edge.
6. Mitre corners by marking where the turnings converge with pins. Unfold the corner and then fold up diagonally through both of the pins.
7. Refold the side and hem edges so that a mitre is formed across the corner. Slip-stitch the mitre. To weight the curtain, sew weighted tape or discs into the hem. Slip-stitch the hem.
8. Turn down the top edge of the curtain, angling it slightly at each corner. Attach the heading tape to cover the raw edge. Knot the cords at one end of the tape (on the wrong side), but leave the other ends free. Machine-stitch the tape along the sides and ends (turning the ends under) but do not sew over the free cords. Both lines of sewing should be in the same direction.
9. Pull up the cords to gather the curtain. Knot the ends into a bow or use a cord-tidy. Do not cut off the surplus — whenever you want to clean the curtain you wil1 need to untie the knots so that you can pull the curtain flat.
10. Thread the required number of hooks through the pockets in the heading tape, spacing the hooks evenly. Hang the curtain onto the track’s hooks or gliders.
11. To set the folds, tie strips of fabric around the curtain at intervals down its 1ength and leave for a couple of days.