Making and hanging curtains to give them a professional finish is not difficult, but it needs some forethought and care.
Curtains look best when they are either floor length or sill length. Half way between usually looks wrong and spoils the appearance of the room. Floor length curtains should hang from the top of the outer frame of the window (the architrave) and should clear the floor by 1–2 inches. If they drag on the floor the hems will soon be dirty. Short curtains, suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and small rooms usually hang from the top of the architrave to 1/16′ –¼′ above the window-sill. Thus, as they blow to and fro in the wind the hems just clear the sill. Straight hanging curtains are the easiest to make and look better than crossed or looped curtains.
Allow at least 3 inches for the hems and 2 inches for the heads.
If the curtains are to be pulled across the windows it will be necessary to measure the distance across all the windows and to allow for half as much material again to give sufficient fullness. If the curtains are to be drawn away to the sides of the windows in the day time, add 12–18 inches to the overall width on each side curtain.
Curtain material is usually 48 inches wide, so the number of yards required is found by measuring the length for the finished curtain and adding on at least 5 inches for the hem and heading. This figure is multiplied by the number of widths of material needed to give 1 ½ times the width of the windows and wall to be covered.
For example, two curtains each 5 feet long are to be pulled right back from the windows during the day. The amount of material needed would be:—
5 feet + 5 inches, say 5 ½ feet for each curtain
The windows are 4 feet wide.
Add 12 inches on each side = 6 feet.
6 × 1 ½ = 9 feet.
The curtain material is 48 inches wide, and two widths would measure 8 feet. This is barely enough, but with such small windows as these it would probably suffice. Therefore two widths each
5 ½ feet long (3 2/3 yards) would be required for the curtains. If they are to be lined the same amount of a cheap unbleached calico or white sheeting should be used.
There are many varied coloured and patterned curtain materials to choose from nowadays made from many different fibres. Undoubtedly the hardest wearing and the most satisfactory material is a heavy grade of cotton, although nylon and terrylene make excellent light-weight curtains. These two fabrics are slippery and rather difficult to sew, and the beginner is advised to use a cotton material which is easier to manage. Make sure that the colour matches the rest of the furnishing of the room, and if there is already a pattern in the carpet or chair covers, choose a plain material. One pattern in a room is enough. If a pattern is used, remember that this pattern will be repeated at regular intervals along the material and the main part should occur in the same place in each curtain More material may have to be bought if the curtains are to match each other.
Cut the material according to the pattern printed on it. This may not always be straight, but it should be so on all good quality fabrics.