Sewing for the Home ~ Cut Out Curtains

on September 12 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 61 Comments

This tutorial was created by Rachel from Design Fix. Learn more about Rachel in her introduction, and enjoy her Cut Out Curtains tutorial below.

This is a fun way to jazz up plain panel curtains. I’ve done a repetitive design, but you could also try a monogram or another simpler design.

    You will need:

  • Panel Curtains
  • Sewing Machine with zig-zag stitch
  • Thread
  • Colored Fabric in coordinating colors
  • Design template (or stencil) to trace
  • Disappearing ink pen
  • Pins
  • Embroidery scissors or any small sewing scissors
  • Ruler or Tape Measurer

1. Begin by selecting a few coordinating fabrics to use for your design. I used four different red fabrics.

2. Create your design template. I really liked the pattern on this piece of fabric so I decided to copy a section of it for the design template for my curtain.

Using a pencil so I could erase (often!) I did a little freehand drawing, copying the center element of my inspiration design while adding two circles on each side to ‘make it my own.’

Variation: Instead of drawing your own design template, you can use a stencil to trace a design onto your fabric.

3. Determine how often you will be able to repeat your design across the bottom of your curtain panel. My design template ended up being 7.5″W X 5.5″H. At this point, I stopped and did the math to determine just how many designs I would be able to fit across the bottom of my curtain panel. The curtain panel was 57″ wide so I decided to leave a 2.5″ border on each edge and then repeat the design six times, leaving 1.5″ in between each design repeat. I placed the design 1.25″ from the bottom hem of the curtain.

4. Copy your design onto your curtain using a disappearing ink fabric pen. Because I used a sheer curtain for my design, it was easy to place the curtain on top of the template and trace it with a disappearing ink fabric pen. I recommend doing one section at a time because, well, they don’t call it disappearing ink for nothing and you don’t want to have to come back and literally re-trace your steps. Again, if you feel more comfortable, use a stencil to make your design – just trace it on top of your fabric.

5. Cut out a rectangle of colored fabric slightly larger than the size of your design template. Since my design was 7.5″ X 5.5″, the fabric rectangles that I cut were at least 8.5″ X 6.5″, some larger.

6. Pin the RIGHT SIDE of the colored fabric to the WRONG SIDE of the curtain fabric.

7. Using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, sew around your design. Cut away threads as you go.

8. If your design has a lot of curved sections, you will need to sew slowly. Do a few slow stitches and stop. MAKING SURE THAT THE NEEDLE IS ‘DOWN’ IN YOUR FABRIC so it doesn’t move around, pick up the presser foot, turn the fabric a little to keep with the curve of your design, put the presser foot back down, and repeat. Continue until the whole design is finished.

9. Using embroidery scissors, CAREFULLY cut away the CURTAIN fabric to reveal the colored fabric behind it. Cut as close to the stitching as you can without cutting the thread. If you don’t have a pair of embroidery scissors (sometimes called thread scissors), use your pair with the smallest point so you are sure not to cut the colored fabric behind it.

Honestly, this part of the process is somewhat tedious but the end result is worth it when the colored fabric design is revealed.

10. Cut away the excess colored fabric from the back of your curtain. Again, be careful not to cut the curtain fabric when you are cutting off the extra colored fabric.

11. Repeat steps 4-11 with a new fabric for each repeat of your design until you are done! I rotated through the four different fabrics that I had selected for my curtain.


But why stop with curtains? You can use this cut-out trick on throw pillows, aprons, dishtowels, or whatever floats your boat!


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61 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Cut Out Curtains

  1. krista says:

    I love this – so helpful. And i have enough curtains to practice on, with my new machine. I recommend this tutorial, and others, to friends. Thank you so much.

  2. Julia in MI says:

    I absolutely love these curtains. The tutorial here is so clear. So many ways to use this technique. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. Louise says:

    This is a fabulous idea, what a great way to revamp or brighten up some curtains. I moved house two months ago and inherited some curtains that do the job but aren’t very exciting and a bit plain; this idea will be perfect for them – thank you!

  4. AJ says:

    What a fun idea! I can think of so many projects I will do using this method. Thanks!!

  5. Andrea says:

    I love this idea! Thanks for the great tutorial, it seems so simple. What a great way to dress up some simple curtains.

  6. Libby says:

    Love, Love, Love this idea. I have just made a reverse applique on a notebook cover. This is so lovely.

  7. Net says:

    This is so brilliant! It looks amazing – what a great technique. Thanks so much for a great tutorial! Watch out pillows and curtains – I’m on my way with my embroidery scissors!

  8. Myrnie says:

    This is fantastic! I have some white Ikea curtains that need embellishing before they go in the nursery- this would be fantastic 🙂

  9. JenR says:

    FUN!! This is a great idea, useful for so many applications! Got the wheels turning!

  10. I love this. It seams so simple. Though I’m sure it is time consuming. I’ve book marked this for when I move in two weeks. You know I’ll have to get new curtains because I have to leave mine behind.


  11. Jessy Roos says:

    Thanks SO much for this great tutorial! I’ve been looking for a way to jazz up our plain brown curtains in the living/dining room and this looks like the right solution.

  12. Blayne says:

    Wow – this is such a cool idea!!

  13. Wendy says:

    Such a creative idea. The curtains are beautiful.

  14. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. i absolutely love this idea. it is a really unique and beautiful way to add a little “kick” to your curtains!

  15. Sally says:

    This is a wonderful idea. We have so many plain curtains hanging, it would be a wonderful surprise to have the design pop up at the bottom. i’m wondering about using a border fabric (like the inspiration piece) – if you have one with a few yards, you could just add the border to the bottom of the curtain. That might work as well!


  16. Sam says:

    This is the coolest thing I have ever seen!!! I love this idea. How creative and very unique! The curtains look great, especially with that little red accent frame on the table. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Natalie says:

    These are awsome!!!! I really love this idea I will have to see if I can incorporate them into my living room!!!!

  18. Victoria says:

    This is genius. I’m always looking for new techniques to try and this may just be next on my list–thanks! It reminds me of the hardanger work my mother used to do, only much easier!

  19. debra says:

    This is great. It has such great potential for so many things. I can see a beautiful toddler dress with flower cut outs!

  20. Jodie says:

    Wow! I’m so excited to try this! THANKS!!

  21. Huong Armstrong says:

    That’s a great tutorial. At first, I thought you stamped a pattern but it’s really fabric! Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Donna Grogan says:

    Oh, how clever. I’m so glad I found this tutorial. My daughter just painted her bathroom red, her trim and vanity are a white and she is using black as her accents and asked me to make her some curtains. These will be just perfect. I’ve been wondering for days as what to do that would coordinate well with out just making a plain ole white curtain and you have solved it for me, thank you, thank you.

  23. Alison says:

    These are fantastic!

  24. Melissa says:

    Just moved and our whole house needs curtains. Great inspiration!

  25. Lorie says:

    Well look at that! Gorgeous!

  26. I wanted to research this subject and write a paper. Your post what a thousand words would not. Nice job.


  27. Amanda says:

    Wow, great looking curtains! Very cool idea!

  28. alison says:

    Love these curtains! Think I’ll have to try these on my daughter’s room!

  29. Kelli says:

    Thanks for the idea. I’d never thought to reverse applique on curtains…now on to pick out fabric for my dining room window…

  30. Carrie says:

    How clever…. you made this look so easy. i MUST try this!

  31. Jessica says:

    I’m really excited to try these! I love how they turned out. i might take your suggestion and try the technique with some pillows, too. Thanks!

  32. Suzanne says:

    It looks great! Not sure I have the patience though…

  33. MegVS says:

    So neat! Thanks!

  34. Carol says:

    Can’t wait to try this on my panel curtains!

  35. Terri says:

    I love these curtains. Great idea!

  36. nurse jenny says:

    I love this technique and I’ve been meaning to try it out. I have the Alabama Chanin book (that craftydabbler mentioned above) which uses this technique quite extensively…great book, I’d definitely recommend it…this is a fun project ! I like the step by step photos- always helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Linda says:

    I’m in need of drapes in a bunch of rooms in my house. My designer friend told me to keep the colour close to the wall colour which would mean they would be white…but this would allow me to step them up a notch. Can’t wait to try it!

  38. cass says:

    I love this idea! Definitely bookmarking this!

  39. Ashley Ann says:

    I love this idea! I’m going to have to try it on something soon. Thanks for sharing Rachel.

  40. Lil' d says:

    How pretty!

  41. Sarah says:

    These are lovely!

  42. What a timely post. I have just checked out the Alabama stitching/Alabama Chanin book from the library. These curtains look great!

  43. Laurel says:

    These are awesome!

  44. Kristena says:

    So I didn’t do reverse applique, but this post did inspire me to applique some curtains I’d been planning to decorate. I do want to do this sometime though. Thanks for another fine tutorial!

  45. zarinaia says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea!

  46. jeni kenzel says:

    Love these curtians…great idea…from a distance they look scandinavian

  47. Tonya says:

    AWESOME idea! I can think of so many ways to use this technique.

  48. Christine Bolin says:

    These curtains are wonderful. Good job!!

  49. elizabeth says:

    Ok, this is so cute! And what a nice way to dress up/coordinate plain curtains.

  50. Joy says:


    Who knew it could be SO simple??
    I’m planning on using this all over my house — hope I don’t get too carried away!

  51. Jolene says:

    Will you being dointhe “handmade” Christmas again, with new tutorials, this year?

    I loved that last year and made 90% of the gifts, I gave, from your blog!

  52. Anary says:

    This is a beautifully done design! The idea is great..and you make look so easy!

  53. Anita Keeton says:

    I love the idea, especially for a tabelcloth or placemats. Would you need to use something like fraycheck to keep the fabric from fraying if it were to be washed? Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  54. amy says:

    I love this! I have wanted to learn how to do this! Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

  55. These are just adorable. Love them. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  56. Monya says:

    What a neat idea!! I would love to do this to a tablecloth, but I’m kinda afraid of trying to sew around all those curves and corners. I guess I just need to try it!

  57. Meilnda says:

    Oh my gosh! This looks so nice but I doubt that I have the patience to do it across the entire bottom of my curtains… but I bet it would make a really nice couch pillow or accent in the middle of the curtain. Thanks for the great tute!

  58. Lorajean says:

    Wow! That’s all I can say! I’m about to embark on the curtain quest here at the house and this is the perfect thing to spice up the monotony! I can’t wait to get started, I think I’m going to line them too!

  59. Troye says:

    Love those. Thanks for sharing!

  60. kelly jo says:

    Ooooh, it looks so good! I love it!! I can’t wait to try it out!! I’m sitting here thinking of what I can do this on!

  61. WOW!!….I LOVE this very UNIQUE & UBER cool idea for embellishing! Thanks for sharing! Creative blessings, Debbie

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