When fabricating curtains
there is always a choice between good and best.
As always, your budget and the look you want to
achieve will both dictate what your finished product
will be. The bottom hems, side hems and rod
pocket, as well as what fullness or gather will
be involved in your decision on how many yards the
project will use. First things first.
Before you start you may want to go to our
"Designing Window Treatments" page to get ideas
on what your final look can achieve.
Once you have decided the ultimate look you then
should decide what fullness or gather you wish to
finished curtains. It may be a good idea to
gather a sheet on a long piece of pipe or rod to
see how much gather would look good to you.
When figuring on this you can use fabric in the
amount of 1 1/2, 2, 2 1/2 or 3 times the rod length.
This is know as the fullness. As an example,
most ready made lace curtains are shown with a 1
1/2 times fullness. ready made draperies are mostly
2 times fullness, custom draperies 2 1/2 times fullness
and custom sheers are 3 times fullness. To
some degree the weight or heaviness of the fabric
makes a difference as well. You would not
want to make a heavy velvet curtain as full as an
antique satin curtain and certainly far less full
than a lace curtain or a sheer curtain.
Once you have decided the fullness you next need
to consider what size and style the rod pocket,
side and bottom hems will be. Ready made curtains
and draperies are generally sewn using what are
called single hems. This means that the fabric
is folded up and turned over just enough to be sewn.
This is a good way to save some yardage but does
have a disadvantage. When sunlight is behind
the drapery the turned over raw edge can be seen.
If the hem is such that it is not back lighted,
a single hem may be what you want. There is,
however, an additional advantage to having a double
hem which is to add some body and weight to the
curtain which helps it drape better. Custom
curtains, sheers and draperies are always finished
with double rod pocket, side and bottom hems.
A bottom hem is folded up double the amount neede
for the hem and the top part is folded down to the
original crdease. When this is done you also
do not see the raw edge because it is folded completely
The size of the hems can be quite different as well.
On a ready made product the bottom hem is usually
2 or 3 inches in width. Custom bottom hems
are always 4 and sometimes 5 inches to give a more
quality look. The side hems on a ready made
curtain are usually 1/2 or 1 inch in width single
hems and custom are almost always 1 1/2 inches in
width double hems. Occasinally on Lace Curtains
the selvedges or sides are finished in a pattern
and there is no need for a side hem. The rod
pocket for a curtain rod is generally 1 1/2 inches
in width for either ready made or custom curtains,
the first being single and the other double.
There can also be a top ruffle added above the rod
pocket which can be 1, 2 or even 3 inches in height.
It is part of the same rod pocket hem
with an additional sewing
line down from the top to form the rod pocket.
We wish you the best of
luck in your decorating endeavors.