To think I can teach myself to sew simple curtains?

(20 Posts)
alanthicke Thu 16-Jun-16 10:39:24

We just moved to a new city for a 3-year job assignment. We are living in a rental house and it has the ugliest curtains ever. I could easily switch them out since the bar is there, but the ready-made panels I've found aren't as long or wide as I would like. And of course I'm not paying for custom-made curtains for a rental house.

How hard would it be to teach myself to sew and make some simple curtain panels? I've never sewn before but I've always wanted to learn, and I'm fairly crafty and pretty good at knitting and crocheting.

If this is doable, how much should I plan to spend on a sewing machine? I'd like to keep it inexpensive since I don't even know if I will take to sewing, but are there any particular features I will definitely need?

Feel free to tell me I am BU. Am I?

ChablisTyrant Thu 16-Jun-16 10:44:42

I've made plenty of curtains. They are very time-consuming to do properly because there is some handstitching to ensure thread is hidden.

I just bought a book from Amazon on how to make them but I'm sure the library has some.

You do need to make sure your sewing machine is big enough to go through the header. But how about just asking around to borrow one instead of buying?

CMOTDibbler Thu 16-Jun-16 10:46:36

Its really easy to make curtains, and you don't need a machine with any fancy features at all, so a cheapy will be fine - its just a matter of stitching a straight line.
Good scissors, a long tape measure, a water disappearing marker pen (special fabric pen, makes marking out much easier), box of long pins, and you'll be set.

Make some matching cushions first to practice with the machine

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Thu 16-Jun-16 10:47:10

Tab top unlined curtains will be the easiest to do. Not thick heavy weight fabric either, so will probably need a blind too!
Janome IMO are the easiest machines to learn on.

blankpage69 Thu 16-Jun-16 10:49:24

Yes the bagging tecnique is a simple way to make curtains and is very effective. I would suggest watching some youtube videos and buying or borrowing some library books.

I did a short sewing machine course which gave me a lot of confidence. I have made all the curtains in my house and have also made some blinds. It is a really enjoyable hobby.

AnnaMarlowe Thu 16-Jun-16 10:49:39

Yes! Curtains are pretty easy. YouTube is your friend there are loads of videos showing you everything from how to set up your machine to how to make neat corners.

Look onEbay or Gum tree for a second hand machine. Make sure it comes with instructions though if you haven't used one before (you'll need to know how to fill a bobbin and how to thread the machine and it can be a bit tricky).

You won't need a terribly fancy machine but don't get a really small one for curtains.

Good luck!

alanthicke Thu 16-Jun-16 10:51:40

Thanks! I might actually do this!! I really appreciate the practical tips. What kind of time commitment are we talking about, do you think?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 16-Jun-16 10:52:29

It is very very easy to sew curtains. So easy I can do it.

YouTube is your friend.

I made my first pair with the cheapest sewing machine I could find. All you need is the most basic stitch. You don't need anything fancy at all.

I must warn you that it is a curse. I am now incapable of buying curtains in a shop. I am outraged at the price. Also, the material or lining or size is never exactly right.

I recently started on Roman Blinds. There are kits you can buy. Damn it. I'll never be able to buy those again either.

I am not a craft person or artistic. Tiling a floor is more my kind of "craft" thing. So if I can do it, anyone can.

teacherwith2kids Thu 16-Jun-16 10:54:04

No, not unreasonable at all, though IME lining is always rather a tricky bit to make certain that it lies flat, doesn't hang below the main curtain etc.

You will need a strong but basic sewing machine - the materials for curtains are heavier than for dressmaking, and the quantities large, so you don't want anything too light and flimsy. Both my mum and have made curtains on a hand-wound c. 19190s Singer machine, a slightly later Pfaff converted to electricity, and a c. 1950s Singer - all ideal because they only do straight stitches and are HEAVY, so can't be pulled anywhere by the material. If you know someone with an old sewing machine that runs well, do borrow it.

However, when the pedal on the aforementioned 1950s Singer blew up and the machine started to sew on its own, I went for a John Lewis machine - doesn't seem to be available online any more so can't link to it. think it was a couple of hundred pounds. Most of my sewing is now dance costumes with stretchy fabrics, so the newer machine with zigzag etc is a boon. The thing you would find useful for curtains is the 'invisible hemming' stitch - i hand-swed all the hems when i made curtains on olderr machines, and it was very time consuming.

If you have a well-made set of curtains to use as a guide for construction,. that would be really helpful to you in terms of how the lining is attached etc. IME the 'deep' heading tape (pencil heading) looks much better than the 'narrow' stuff sold for gathering.

teacherwith2kids Thu 16-Jun-16 10:56:31

The much more up to date cross-posts with mine are of course right - using Youtube is obviously much better than studying current curtains as a way of learning how they are constructed. In fairness, I made my first pair of curtains aged 17, when youtube was not yet born or thought of!

ConferencePear Thu 16-Jun-16 11:09:06

Choose your cloth carefully.
Some patterns are printed and some are in the weave. The ones with the pattern in the weave are easier to keep straight when you cut them, especially if the printed cloth is cheap.
Don’t buy cloth that is very thick.

Cherylene Thu 16-Jun-16 11:09:10

Making curtains is easy.

You just need to be able to sew in straight lines.

Measure everything twice and cut once.

At its easiest, you can machine down each side, attach a header tape at the top, and fold over the bottom twice and hem.

If you want to line them, do the same with lining header tape at the top and you can attach them to the back of the curtains using the same hooks. Then put in a few bar tacks down the leading edge to hold them together. You can always reuse them for other curtains later.

Get fairly cheap cotton fabric from a market, or fabric shop if you can find one. (Most of them only sell fabric for dance shows and quilting these days sad ) The JL website has some own brand fabrics.

Matching the pattern if you need more that one width can be the biggest headache, but if you take your measurements, people that sell the fabric can usually help.

This is how I started. You then get interested in all the amazing techniques and start on the quest of making the Perfect Set of Curtains - I am currently working on interlined door curtains with eyelet ring tops. I also have (very slightly wonky) roman blinds that match the bathrooms perfectly smile

If you are not sure, do you have a bedroom window that only requires one panel width that you can learn on?

CrushedNinjas Thu 16-Jun-16 11:31:22

Depending on where you live, there might be a sewing class/group nearby. Look online or check your local library for info. YouTube is good but if you haven't ever sewn, having other people on hand to guide you is invaluable in the initial stages.
I used to go to a friendly class above a sewing machine shop and you used the new machines from the shop which was great as I couldn't afford to buy a decent sewing machine plus Overlocker at the time. You chose the project - pattern and fabric and the tutor and other class members were available to offer advice, if needed.
Initially, I'd recommend making some basic unlined curtains to get the hang of cutting out and sewing straight lines.
Buying fabric is probably the most frustrating aspect of sewing as it can be very expensive unless you live in the Midlands/North with decent fabric market stalls. (I really miss them over here!)
Also, check out charity shops as there might be something suitable that you can re-work to fit your windows.

redexpat Thu 16-Jun-16 11:33:59

Wash and iron the fabric first.
Iron seams before sewing them. Iron again after sewing.
You only need a straight stitch - can you borrow a machine from someone?
Time wise: I have 3 windows in my siting room. I need 6 lined curtains. I went to a sewing day and completed 3. I sewed from 930-4.

Now I think about it you could probably get away with the iron on seams, and skip the sewing machine altogether.

redexpat Thu 16-Jun-16 11:34:40

Have a look on facebook to see if there are any local groups that might be able to help you.

lovemysunnydays Thu 16-Jun-16 11:37:11

It's really easy, don't worry! Youtube has a wealth of instructional videos to help you, just do a quick search on there, there's so many that can hlp.

LarrytheCucumber Thu 16-Jun-16 11:37:53

I used to make all our curtains in the 70s. We had various colours of the John Lewis Daisy Chain fabric in different houses/flats.
It isn't that difficult, but tchoosing good fabric is key. Some fabrics can catch and pucker and are best avoided.

LisaMed1 Thu 16-Jun-16 11:47:24

what sort of drop? I have sewn heading tape to duvet covers (considered glue) and got a good fit to my windows. They are not only the right size (weird windows here) but all the sewing is done. You could even go out there and get something like this...

(mine aren't like that but getting Dr Who duvet covers for ds' window)

LisaMed1 Thu 16-Jun-16 11:52:24

And you can use fabric glue to glue fleece on the inside to make them warmer - this is a thought experiment. I haven't actually tried that. Probably will sometime in September

alanthicke Sun 19-Jun-16 11:51:57

Thank you all so much! I am printing out these responses. I've been watching YouTube videos and I think I can do this. I'm in London so I'm sure I could find a class but I probably couldn't commit to attending regularly until the DCs go back to school in the fall. I'm not too far from Shepherd's Bush, which I'm told has loads of fabric shops, so I'm going to take a field trip there for inspiration.

Cherylene l am a bit afraid that I will get addicted. Half of my attic is already taken up by yarn from my knitting phase!

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