Sewing for the Home ~ Curtains with a Lining

on September 12 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 49 Comments

This is just one way to sew curtains with a lining. There are so many approaches, some undoubtedly better than mine! These are easy, effective… Pretty. The buttonholes in this version allow the fabric on the sides to fully wrap around the lining in the back… This way you don’t see the lining on the edges like you often do with the super-easy lined curtain option I mention below.

Curtain Basics
Easy, easy curtains: The easiest curtains are just hemmed (first the bottom, then the sides), with the top folded to the back and stitched to create a pocket for your curtain rod. You could make a full set in a half hour! Why work any harder? Well, sometimes you need a bit more from your curtains. Curtains with a lining panel help your windows look nice from the outside when the curtains are closed, provide more privacy, and they give the curtains a heft that makes them feel a bit more… Luxurious? Professional?

Only slightly more difficult than a basic curtain: For a super-easy lined curtain you can cut lining and outer panels to the same dimensions, hem the panel bottoms, then sew the remaining three sides together to create a sort-of pillow. You just need to leave holes on the top sides for the rod.

Linings: You can use a light-weight muslin for your lining, or you can easily purchase special lining fabrics. Some of these special fabrics really help to keep a room dark (nice for kiddos that rise with the sun!) and some have special insulating properties to block heat or coldness. I went for a natural, upholstery-weight cotton lining because my curtain fabric was fairly light (and see-through!).

Getting Started

The set of curtains we’re making today is only slightly more difficult than the super-easy lined curtain option above, but it gives your curtains a nice, professional look. My kitchen really isn’t so sad, but I made it black & white to show a sharp contrast between the plain, still-settling-in look and the new curtain look! This is the “before.” Ready? We’re going to measure and cut all four panels, hem the bottoms, stitch the tops together, make buttonholes and pockets for the rod, hem the sides and ooh and aah.

Step One: Measure your window. A general curtain rule is that the more fabric you have in your curtain, the “fluffier” the curtains will look. One standard measurement is to make each panel almost- or as-wide as your window. You’ll then have two curtain panels that will still have lots of draping texture when closed.

Width Measurement
I tend to like a more flat look, so my cut curtain panel width was 3/4 of the window measurement. The only way you can go wrong here is to cut them so that once you hem the sides and close the curtains, the curtains don’t cover the window! For example: If your window is 2′ wide you might want to cut two lining panels, 2′ wide.

Height Measurement
Hold the fabric up (or, better yet, have someone else do it so you can stand back to look at the space) and decide the top to bottom height of your finished curtain panels. Add approximately 2″ to this measurement to accommodate a hem. For example: If you want your finished curtains to hang 3′ from top to bottom, cut your lining panels at 3′ 2″.

Step Two: Cut your lining panels. In our example above you would end up with two panels, each measuring 2′ x 3′ 2″. Fold and press up 3/4″ on the two bottom edges, then fold and press up 3/4″ again.

Step Three: Measure and cut your outer fabric. Take your lining measurement and add approximately 3″ to the width and 2″ to the height. This will give you some extra outer fabric in your final curtains so your lining never shows. In our example you’d have two lining panels 2′ 3″ x 3′ 5″.

Fold and press up 3/4″ on the two bottom edges, then fold and press up 3/4″ again. If you have a really obvious grid like I do with my gingham, be sure to do a visual check of the bottom fold from the front of the panel. Any wonkiness will really show on this bottom line.

Step Four: Hem the bottom folds on all four panels. You might consider trying a blind hem stitch for an “invisible” hem.

Step Five: Lay your lining panels down, nice side up. Place your outer panels, nice side down, matching the top edges but centering the lining panel within the outer curtain panel. The bottom of the outer panel should stick out a bit beyond the lining, and you should have about 1 1/2″ more outer panel fabric on either side of the lining fabric. Pin.

Step Six: Make sure you really do have right sides facing, then sew along the top with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Turn and press. Stitch again with a 1/4″ seam allowance to make this top edge really crisp.

Measure approx. 1 1/4″ from this seam and stitch across the top of the panels again. This creates that top “frill” section.

Step Seven: Fold and press your outer side panel seams over your lining panel in the back. To do this I made sure the lining was very straight, then I folded and pressed the outer fabric edge to the lining fabric edge. Then I folded and pressed this over, enclosing the lining edge with my outer fabric.

Step Eight: Make a buttonhole in the lining only, just inside the edge created by the outer fabric. The buttonhole starts at the line you just sewed approx. 1 1/2″ down from the top of your curtain, and extends down. Make your buttonhole big… I’d make it twice the height of your curtain rod. Repeat buttonholes so you have one at either top end of both panels (four total).

Step Nine: Sew along the top of each curtain again, creating a pocket for the rod. My buttonholes are a little under 1 1/2″. I sewed at 1/4″ down, 1 1/4″ down from that line (top o’ pocket) and 1 1/2″ from that line (bottom o’ pocket).

Step Ten: Pin the hem you pressed over the sides of your lining panels. Stitch.

Trim your threads. That’s better! Your top four corners should look like this.

Your bottom corners look like this. Just a side note on why my stitches aren’t closer to the very edge of the fabric: I wanted to use white thread, and I wanted it to blend in so I had to be really aware of where the stitch was on the front of the panels. It looks not-quite-as-perfect from the back, but it’s still just fine and the room view is fantastic.

Here’s the view from the back with the rod threaded through the buttonholes and the rod pocket.

HSCWL12.jpg

There’s the lining!

HSCWL13.jpg

Better. Now for a valance of some sort and cabinet knobs.
Oh, must actually paint the cabinet doors too…

We’ll be back tomorrow with Rachel’s tutorial for Cut-Out Curtains!

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49 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Curtains with a Lining

  1. Layla says:

    does anyone know if step three should say ‘In our example you’d have two outer fabric panels 2′ 3″ x 3′ 5″.’ (as opposed to “lining panels”?)

  2. Cheri says:

    Thanks for clearing that up for me! I made the curtains and they are cute.

  3. Beth says:

    How do you make the buttonhole on the lining fabric only if it is now stitched together with the outer lining?

    Cheri– Sorry… It’s not totally clear with that pic. Step 8 is to make the buttonhole and Step 9 is to sew the pocket for the rod. I just took the buttonhole pic after Step 9. Good luck!

  4. Cheri says:

    How do you make the buttonhole on the lining fabric only if it is now stitched together with the outer lining?

  5. Christine says:

    Good Morning,

    NO RESPONDS!!! Sorry to see that.

    Thanks anyway

  6. christine says:

    Hello, Thanks for such a great site to come and learn at. I have only taken my sewing machine out a few times in in the past couple of years. I have ordered fabic for my kitchen. I want to make valance for my windows, my bay window is 104 inches across. So do I double that with fabic? I want to add ribbon over each rod to gather up the fabic.
    Thanks
    Christine

  7. Dawn says:

    Great Tutorial. We moved about two months ago and I keep meaning to make some curtains for the bedroom but I keep putting it off. I now have your tutorial, so no more excuses.
    http://www.msfabric.com

  8. Neagan says:

    I have been trying to find a good tutorial for making lined curtains for quite a while now. Thank you so much!

  9. Ladybird says:

    Thank you for this! I made some drapes using this tutorial and Anna Maria’s gorgeous Drawing Room fabric. It was a bit of trial and error on the blind hem stitch but they turned out great!

  10. Shiloah says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I love making curtains, but the lining part always intimidates me. I will be sure to borrow your techniques next time!

  11. Jennifer H says:

    Excellent! Thanks

  12. sarah says:

    This looks like a fantastic idea! I am just about to make curtains for my kitchen. :)

  13. angela says:

    Great tutorial – we’re moving into a new place and I’ll be needing this one soon!

  14. Hallie says:

    I really appreciate these instructions–thank you!

  15. Katie Lloyd says:

    Ooo….I like these! I’m a very novice sewer, but I think I can make this! :)

  16. Carrie says:

    Yea! Now I can start mine. Thanks for the tutorial!

  17. Stephanie says:

    I love this tutorial, it is so well done! I have been wanting to sew a lining into curtains but wasn’t sure where to start, so thank you so much for this!

  18. Melissa says:

    Very clear instructions, thank you!

  19. RobinE says:

    Curtains have always been a little intimidating. But I think I’m ready now. Thanks so much for the tutorial! :)

  20. Blayne says:

    cute curtains!

  21. Sara says:

    I have been putting off making curtains for the longest time b/c I was intimidated by the lining. Not anymore! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tutorial. I picked up some fabric last night and will get to work on my foyer curtain next week!

  22. karen says:

    Thanks so much for this easy to understand tutorial! Just in time for my weekend project!

  23. Sam says:

    I’m about to help a friend make curtains for her new house, so this post was perfectly timed! Thanks!

  24. Jeni says:

    awesome tutorial. thanks!!!

  25. Sam says:

    This was a great tutorial! I just had a dream about making curtains with a lining, and it looked nothing like this. Should I be worried that I dream about redecorating? Love the gingham. thanks for this!

  26. Nicole N. says:

    I love this tutorial! I have been wanting new curtains for my bedroom but I have been too intimidated to make them myself (I’m afraid I’ll mess up beautiful expensive fabric!) But now I see that I can totally do this! Thank you!!!!!

  27. kirsten says:

    These are definitely on my list.

  28. I am totally making these for all my new windows!

  29. I am totally making these for all my new windows!

  30. Krista says:

    That does it. You’ve inspired me to make cute kitchen curtains! I especially love the gingham.

  31. Michelle says:

    This has been on my to-do list for at least two summers now, when the sun streams through my kids’ window *way* before I’d planned on getting up… thanks for all the information, maybe I’ll actually get these done before the next summer vacation hits!

  32. Somer says:

    I love this. The buttonhole is a great way to hide the lining, brilliant.

  33. Jessica says:

    My home is definitely in need of some curtains!! Thanks!!

  34. Lil' d says:

    Thank you – I need to line my daughter’s curtains.

  35. Amanda says:

    Wonderful! I am totally making these for my living room and kitchen windows!

  36. Michelle Cowden says:

    I’ve been needing the motiviation to get started on some curtains for our office. What better motivation than a tutorial? Thanks!

  37. Jake's a Girl says:

    BethieB ~ The button holes allow for a rod pocket. With the sides folded over and hemmed there is not open place on the side for a rod pocket.

    Thus the reason for the button holes as a rod pocket opening.

    Hope this helps. :)

    Really like the simple lined directions. Thanks.

  38. Beth says:

    I have so many curtains to make for the downstairs. Thanks for this info.

  39. Sandra says:

    Love these curtains…..great idea for my bare bedroom windows! I have the fabric…now I just need to get busy!

  40. BethieB says:

    I’m trying to understand the buttonhole and still falling short, I feel like a dork but I am confused about it…

  41. Heather says:

    I have been meaning to make some more curtains for the kitchen. This will help. Thanks

  42. mj says:

    The buttonhole is a nice touch, even though I’d probably be too lazy to do it!

  43. carmell says:

    Forget the curtains… look at that sink!!! spotless! j/k cute curtains. lord knows i need some in my kitchen! but my window sill and sink don’t look like that!!!

  44. Kendall says:

    I’m totally a novice and still don’t understand how the buttonholes work. Can someone explain it? I’ve got three sets of curtains to make! Thanks for the tutorial–these home ones are really coming at the perfect time for me!

  45. amy says:

    Very cute! The buttonhole is genius! At first I didn’t get the buttonhole…..but then it hit me! Wonderful!

  46. Beth says:

    …I don’t understand why you need the buttonhole. When I make these, I just do a tube at the top to thread the rod through.

    IamSusie- The buttonholes allow the fabric on the sides to fully wrap around the lining in the back… This way you don’t see the lining on the edges like you often do with the super-easy lined curtain option I mentioned up near the top! It’s more work, but it looks good in the end! I’ll add a note in the tutorial to make that more clear.

  47. whitney says:

    Cure curtains! :)

  48. Jess says:

    Fantastic! Thanks so much for this awesome tutorial. Just in time for me to make some curtains for the nursery of my niece- or nephew-to-be!

  49. IamSusie says:

    These are very cute! I have a real soft place in my heart for gingham. Nice tute, but I don’t understand why you need the buttonhole. When I make these, I just do a tube at the top to thread the rod through.

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