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Classic Grommeted Curtain Panel: Fabulous Fall with Fabric.com

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Fall is fabulous for getting back to basics. It's a great time to re-set and renew before the holidays hit with a vengeance. One of the best ways to refresh your home décor is with new curtains. They instantly transform any room and are the perfect fabric and color building blocks for other transformations, like cushions or table linens. As part of the Fabulous Fall series with Fabric.com, we've developed a classic grommeted curtain panel. This is a project you will turn to again and again. It's fast and easy, plus we give you all the formulas you need to adapt the design to fit your unique window scapes. 

If you're a Sew4Home regular, you know we've done a number of curtain projects that use standard quilting weight cottons, such as our versatile Ribbon Tie Cafe Curtains and our floor length Tab Top Curtains. We like being able to show you how this most common fabric weight has uses beyond fashion and quilting. 

But for this classic panel, we went full-on home décor. The reasoning is three-fold: 1) the medium-weight of traditional home dec fabric is superior for blocking out the light while still allowing for a beautiful flow and hang, 2) home dec fabrics are almost always wider – from 54" to 60"+, which means you get more coverage per yard, and 3) the selection of truly large motifs to showcase across a large panel is much greater. We also used a traditional drapery lining fabric. Fabric.com has a great selection of this inexpensive substrate, from lightweight to very heavy

The fabric we used for our sample is an absolutely gorgeous 54" 100% cotton with a bit of a slub to the weave: Vintage Blossom by Dwell Studio. It pressed like a dream and cutting the holes for the grommets was clean and easy.

Our thanks to all the great folks at Fabric.com for sponsoring this entire week of Fabulous Fall and well as next week. Remember, when you shop at Fabric.com, US shipping (lower 48 US) is free for orders of just $35 or more, and they always add an at least an extra inch to their cuts to insure they are accurate and you are never short. We also love how carefully they pack and ship the various types of fabrics, protecting the shedding faux furs and fleeces, rolling laminates, and bagging all the notions.

Our panel finishes at 84" long x 50" wide, which is a pretty standard floor-length curtain size and perfect for a 54" width of fabric – the most common width for home décor fabrics. Because we are using grommets that run 3" down from the top edge, the actual hang length is about 81". One panel like this would be enough for a smaller 30" - 36" window; add matching panels for windows of greater width. 

If you are brand new to measuring and cutting curtains, take a look at our newly updated article: How To Measure For Curtains, Drapes & Other Window Coverings

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The supplies shown are for ONE 50" x 84" curtain panel; the main yardage includes a bit extra to accommodate fussy cutting for a large motif.

NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some fabric may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed when appropriate for each fabric at the Fabric.com site. 

Getting Started

  1. As mentioned above, our article on measuring for curtains will give you the basics of how to calculate fabric for your specific windows. 
  2. In general, for each panel, you need the finished width plus a minimum of 2" on each side (4" total) for the side hem plus the side seam allowances to attach the exterior fabric to the lining. We used the minimum measurements in order to yield the widest panel possible with our 54" fabric: a ½" seam allowance plus a 1½" visible hem, as shown in the drawing above. You could certainly use a deeper hem (3" or greater), if you are working with a 60" width of fabric or greater. 
  3. For the length, add 6½" for the top grommet panel and 7½" for a bottom hem (14" total). 
  4. In our sample, these calculations translated to: 50" finished width plus 4" – utilizing the complete 54" width of fabric; and 84" finished height plus 14" for a 98" cut height.  
  5. For the lining, the length is a standard 3" shorter than the cut length of the main fabric: 95" in our sample. The width takes a bit more math. Start with the finished width, subtract the visible side hem on each side (1½" on our sample or 3" total). Then add back in 1" for a ½" seam allowance on each side. For our panel the equation was: 50" - 3" + 1" = 48".
  6. From the main fabric (Jade Vintage Blossom in our sample), cut ONE WOF (width of fabric - or 54" in our sample) x 98" panel, centering the motif top to bottom to best feature the design across the center of the panel.  
  7. From the lining fabric (White Roc-Lon in our sample), cut ONE 48" wide x 95".
    NOTE: Cutting wide panels of fabric can be challenging. Its best to fold the fabric in order to cut at a more manageable size. Check out our article: Rotary Cutting Large Panels in One Fell Swoop.
  8. Cut a 47" length from the drapery tape. You want the same width as the seamed-in-place lining.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Hem both panels

  1. Create a double-fold hem along the bottom of the curtain panel and the lining panel. To do this, fold up and press the bottom edge 3½"... 
  2. ... then fold up an additional 4" and press again. 
  3. Stitch close to the fold to finish the hem. 
  4. Remember, the lining piece will finish 3" shorter than the panel piece.

Assemble curtain and lining

  1. Lay the curtain panel flat on your work surface, right side up. Place the lining panel right side down on top of the curtain panel. In other words, right sides are together.
  2. Align the lining and the curtain along ONE side, matching the TOP raw edges and with the bottom hems 3" apart. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch from the top of the panel to the bottom.

  4. Press open the seam allowance.
  5. Lay the sewn panels flat again on your work surface.
  6. Pull the lining so the remaining raw side edge aligns with the opposite side of the curtain panel. This will cause the sewn side to roll towards the back a bit. That's what we want it to do.
  7. Pin and stitch this second side with a ½" seam allowance, again lining up the top raw edges and sewing from top to bottom. 
  8. With the panel still wrong side out, lay it out flat again on your work surface – lining side up. In order to lay flat, both sides of the front panel will curve around to the back. Again... that's just what we want it to do. You should have an equal amount of the side curtain panel rolling to the back on each side of the curtain (1½" on each side in our example). Press well to set the side hems. 
  9. Turn the panel right side out and re-press the sides, maintaing the original distance (1½" on each side in our example)

Finish the top and add grommets

  1. With the panel still right side out, make sure the raw edges of the front panel and the lining align along the top edge. The center point of the lining matches the center point of the front panel. To find your center point, you can either measure from each side or fold the entire unit in half and mark. 
  2. Fold down the top raw edges of the panel ½" and press. Fold down an additional 6" and press again. 
  3. Unfold the top hem. 
  4. Find the length of drapery tape. Center it side to side on the lining and between the two folds: 1½" down from the top folded edge...
  5. ... and 1½" up from the bottom crease line. 
  6. Edgestitch the header tape in place along both sides and through both layers. This stitching line will be visible on the back so make sure your machine is thread with thread to best match the front fabric.
  7. Refold the top hem into place and stitch in place across the entire width of the panel close to the bottom folded edge.
  8. Now you need to mark the positions for the eight grommets. Place the panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
  9. First, measure 3" down from the top folded edge and mark, then measure 3⅛" in from the left folded edge and place a mark, intersecting the first mark. This is the center point of the first grommet, which places it directly over the drapery tape. The drawing at the top of the page is also a helpful reference for placement.   
  10. The next grommet center point is 6¼" to the right from from the first mark. 
  11. Add 6 more grommets, each 6¼" apart. The final grommet center point should be 3⅛" in from the right edge just like the first grommet at the left edge.
  12. Line up the grommet template over each marked dot.
  13. Using a fabric pen or pencil, trace a circle with the template around each center point. 
  14. Carefully cut out the circle and insert the bottom half of the grommet from the back through to the front. 
  15. Find the top half of the grommet and snap it into place from the front. 

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, we have a complete tutorial on Installing Snap On Grommets.

Finish bottom corners

  1. For a pro finish, the optional final step is to thread a hand sewing needle, and whipstitch the bottom 3" of the side hem against the bottom hem.

Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

We received compensation from Fabric.com, and some of the materials featured here or used in this project were provided free of charge by Fabric.com. All opinions are our own.

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Comments (2)

Karen Cooper said:
Karen Cooper's picture

i am having trouble knowing when to turn the curtain right side out.  If not an instruction, the a. Then a picture to show it happening.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Karen Cooper - good question. The steps were not as clear as they could be. We have adjusted to make it easier to see. If you re-fresh the page, you will see the changes. Let us know if that helps. 

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