Okay, my friends. The time has come. I’m going to need for y’all to form a single-file line and make your way to the front of the room where I’ve conveniently provided a trash can. In that trash can, I’m going to need you to place the iron-on hem tape that you’ve been using the make “no-sew curtains” because after today (well, actually…after tomorrow), you won’t be needing that anymore, mmmkay?
And if you won’t relinquish it freely, don’t think for a second that I won’t wrestle you to the ground for it.
In all seriousness, it pains me to see adults wasting their time and money on “no-sew” treatments held together by tape, glue, and whatever else, all because they’ve convinced themselves that using a sewing machine is way beyond their skill level. That’s nonsense. If you can drive a car (i.e., you know when to press the gas to go faster, when to let up to go slower, and have the hand-eye coordination to press the gas and turn the wheel to steer at the same time) then you possess all the skill that’s needed to use a sewing machine.
So let’s leave the tape, glue, and other adhesives for the college girls fixing up their dorm rooms, and let’s make ourselves some real, quality, adult-worthy lined draperies, shall we?
The first thing you’ll need to do is figure how much yardage of fabric you need.
In this tutorial, I’m making each drapery panel two widths of fabric, and I will have two drapery panels for my window (one for each side).
Figure fabric yardage and cut your fabric and lining pieces:
So to figure yardage, take your finished length (for 8-foot ceilings, I usually make my drapery panels 92 inches long) and add 16 to 18 inches to that number for hem and header. That will give you the length of the fabric pieces you need to cut.
For my drapery panels, I cut four pieces of fabric to 108 inches long. (Note that if you’re using patterned fabric, you need to match your patterns!! That means that you’ll need to take the pattern repeat into consideration when figuring how much fabric to order, and how long you need to cut the pieces of fabric. See this tutorial for details on figuring yardage for fabric with a vertical pattern repeat.)
Fortunately, the vertical repeat on my fabric was exactly 36 inches, so I didn’t have any wasted fabric trying to match patterns.
Then I also cut four pieces of drapery lining to 108 inches long. My favorite drapery lining is Roclon Budget Blackout drapery lining that you can find at JoAnn Fabrics. Don’t forget to use a coupon!
Sew the pieces together for double-width panels
Next I sewed two pieces of fabric together, matching the patterns.
And then I ironed in the seam.
*Sewing tip: When you’re going to iron a seam open, always iron it flat first like this…
And the open up the fabric, open the seam, and iron the fabric along the seam from the back…
Then flip it over to the front and iron the seam. This will give you the most perfectly flat and pretty seams possible.
Hem the fabric:
I know it sounds backwards, but the first step in sewing drapery panels (other than sewing fabric together for double-width panels) is sewing in the hem.
So working along the bottom edge, and with the right side of the fabric facing down, I turned up the edge of the fabric four inches and pinned along the bottom fold, ironing in the fold as I went along.
And then I came back and turned it up another four inches, and pinned along the top. Again, I ironed in the folds as I went along.
And then I sewed the hem using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine.
I won’t go into details here about a blind hem stitch, but I shared in much greater detail on the Roman shade tutorial here.
Right after stitching the hem, there’s always a noticeable crease in the fabric along the stitched area like this…
But after it’s ironed flat, the stitching should be virtually undetectable. (Thus the name “blind hem stitch.”)
Prepare the sides of the fabric panels:
Now that the hem is finished, I started working on the side edges of the fabric panel.
I started by cutting off the selvage. (This is optional, but I think it allows for a smoother finished product with less chance of pulling and puckering along the edges.)
Next, with the fabric right side down on my work surface, I turned the edge up 1.5 inches and pinned and ironed in place.
And then I turned it up another 1.5 inches, and pinned and ironed in place.
Then I repeated that process on the other side edge of the fabric panel.
With that done, I was ready to set the fabric aside and work on the lining.
Prepare the drapery lining:
Next I pinned and sewed to pieces of drapery lining together to form a double-width panel, just like I did with the fabric.
And just like with the fabric, I ironed the seam flat…
Then opened up the lining and ironed the seam open from the back…
And then turned it to the front and ironed the seam…
Hem the drapery lining:
Working along the bottom edge of the lining, with the right side of the lining facing down, I turned up three inches and pinned and ironed in place.
*Note: When working with blackout lining, you’ll notice that one side has more of a fabric feel, while the other side has more of a rubbery feel to it. The softer fabric side is the “right” side of the lining (i.e., the front) and the rubbery side is the back.
Then I turned up the bottom edge another three inches and pinned and ironed in place.
And then I stitched the hem in place on the sewing machine. Note that I never go to the trouble of doing a blind hem stitch on lining. I personally don’t see the point since the lining is almost never seen. I just stitch right on top. But if you want to be a perfectionist, you can do a blind hem stitch on the lining also.
Attach the lining to the fabric:
With the lining hemmed, it’s time to attach the lining to the fabric, and when you’re making double-width drapery panels, it’s very important that the center seam on the fabric lines up with the center seam on the lining.
I always start right in the middle along the center seam, and I start at the bottom. First I measure up from the bottom of the fabric three inches, and that’s where I start the lining.
I pin the lining at the bottom, and then work up along the center seam and pin the lining to the fabric. I always make very sure that I’m smoothing out both pieces so that they lie perfectly flat against each other, and I make sure the seams are perfectly lined up.
And I continue working up the center seam until the two pieces are completely pinned together along that seam.
Next I smooth out the fabric and the lining. (Note that I only work on one side at a time. I’ve never had the luxury of having a work space large enough to completely spread out a double-width drapery panel.)
Since the lining extends past the edge of the folded fabric edges, that means that the lining needs to be trimmed.
So I trim off the extra lining so that it comes right to the edge of the fabric (actually about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch narrower than the fabric).
And then I can unfold the edge of the fabric, tuck the lining under the fold, refold the fabric, and pin everything together.
Then that whole process is repeated on the other side.
And finally, I used a blind hem stitch on each side to sew the side fold.
Again, you can read more detail about a blind hem stitch in this post.
And with that, all of the raw edges of the fabric and lining should be completely hidden along the bottom and side edges. That just leaves the top edges.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to finish up with the header and pleats. I’m hoping to have my draperies finished today and hung by the end of the day, so I’ll also show you how to hang draperies the professional way.
So far so good, right? Are you feeling a little less dependent on that iron-on hem tape now? I told you it’s not difficult! You can do this!