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» Curtains and Drapes – Measurements

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Curtains and draperies are sewing projects that even the most inexperienced seamstress can undertake, because success depends less on talent than it does on careful measuring and thoughtful relationships between style and fabric. Procedure is basically the same for all window treatments.

Before you purchase the fabric for your curtains, if its possible, borrow a larger sample from the store, or if not, purchase about a 1/2 yard, and see how it looks at the window. Check the light behind the fabric, which can change the whole looks of the fabric in a considerable way. Check whether the fabric is resistant to the sun fading and deterioration and to wrinkles and what sort of cleaning it will require and accept.

When you shop for rods, mounting fixtures and accessories, you will need to know how heavy the fabric will hang and make sure that the fixtures and rods you select will accept that weight.

Before you cut and sew, be certain that your work area is adequate. Generally you will sew the sides first, headers next and then the hems.

Choosing Your Style

Window treatments need to involve consideration of a great deal more than just the looks of them, although that too of course is important, as curtains and draperies are something that can make or break a room.

Some of the things you will have to consider are these:

The view: do you want to frame it, hide it, or enhance it. Will an uncovered window pose a privacy problem in your home? Should you be considering covering the window to control the sunlight?

Window Type: Does the type of window that you have limit your options so far as curtains go? French windows, for example, open in, rather than out or upward.

Might the look of your window area be enhanced by rods set further above or to the sides of the window?

Finally, consider the room itself, will the style that you are considering harmonize with the room, and do you want the curtains to blend into the background, or stand out as a focal point in the room?

Window treatments of the curtain and drape variety are generally classified into the following categories.

Glass curtains: these are sheer or semi sheer, unlined curtains, whose header casing slips right over the rod. There are several varieties of glass curtains, among them some of the most popular curtains used in many decorating styles.

In country decorating we see several styles of glass curtains very . These are the tabs, priscillas or double crossed which are panels hung on double rods and crossed then tied to the window sash with dressy tie backs or hooks.

Cafe curtains, which are best used in informal settings such as kitchens or breakfast nooks are curtains which may or may not be lined, and cover only one part of the window, usually the lower aspect for privacy.


which are generally made of heavier weights in fabric, although not always but are hung by means of a hook or loop from the header of the drapery, and the headers are usually pleated.

Depending on the choice of fabric, draperies are a great deal of help in closing off air flow, darkening a room, insulating from heat and/or cold and depending on whether they are draw or panel draperies, they will cover only the sides of the window, or span the entire width of it.

Whether you are purchasing or making your curtains, excellent measurements are necessary.

Two basic measurements are needed for curtains, the finished length and the finished width. When you know what style you would like, install the hardware and measure the window areas to find your yardage, then purchase the fabric that you would like and proceed with the construction according to the requirements of the curtain type you want.

You will always want to leave at least a half inch for seam allowance for any curtain or drapery. As a general rule it is far better to be too generous with your fabric allowances than too skimpy.

To purchase or to make, measure the entire width of the rod you installed, and then double that width to make sure you have the width to gather the material for the finished product.

For length, measure from the rod, to where the curtain will fall, or where you would like it to fall and if you want a floor length style, subtract half inch to allow them to skirt the baseboard.. Subtract more .. as much as four inches more if there is baseboard heating in place.

To estimate yardage requirements, take the total length times the number of panels you need to cover the window and add them.. divide by 36 to find the yards of material that you will need to accomplish your task.

Don’t forget to add a few extra inches per curtain if you are considering high header curtains, or if in fact you want a rod pocket style that will feature a small ruffle at the head.

Tomorrow’s project will begin to put together the panels and discuss matching of fabrics..


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