Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sewing Unlined/Lined Curtain Panels - Part 2B

Wow!  When I started this tutorial on making curtain panels, I had no idea it would take so long.  

I thought I'd jot down a few instructions for you, and we'd all have curtains by now!  I realized during the writing, however, that there are many things to consider, and I'm trying to explain them in a clear way so that you know all the facts. Plus, I'm still sewing on Little Fleur's nursery, and finding there is not much time for long blog posts.  Since she will be here is 6 weeks, I'm up against a deadline and wish to get that finished as soon as possible.

I hope you haven't been standing at the fabric counter waiting for Part B of this tutorial so you would know how much fabric to buy! 

 I'm so sorry.

 I sewed the jabots, swags, sheers, and panels pictured here.  Trust me, I prefer to sew the more complicated valances than the panels, because they are easier to work with.  You can read my thoughts on this in Part 1 of this tutorial.

To read Part 1 of this tutorial, click here

For Part 2A, click here

In Part 2B, I'll finish discussing how to determine how many yards of fabric you will need.  We have already determined how long to cut each length for the panels you are making, now let's discuss the width.

How wide your fabric is, the weight of it, and how full you would like your individual panel to be - are the things you now need to consider.

First, measure the width of your fabric.  Most home dec fabric is 54", but measure for accuracy.  Let's assume you are working with a solid or an all-over design that does not need to be matched up on the sides.  I will write a tutorial on how to match up fabric designs on the sides - in the near future.

Next, take the measurement you wrote down during Part 2A for the finished Width of your curtains and divide by 2. You are doing this since curtains are hung in pairs, and you are determining the coverage for each panel.

Finally, think about how full you would like your curtains to be.  Here are some suggestions from the sewing world:

For heavy fabrics, use a ratio of 2 to 1.  This means you will make your panel twice as wide as the coverage you determined in the last step.

For medium-weight fabrics, use a ratio of 2 . 5 to 1.

For light-weight fabrics, the suggested ratio is 3 to 1.

Of course, you may want to make sheers without much fullness.  Just consider the suggestions, think about the look you are really wanting, and then use the ratio you feel would be most appropriate for the look you are after.

Following is an example to show you how to put all of the information in Part 2A and Part 2B together.

Let's use a window width of 74".  The panel coverage will need to be 74/2 = 37". 

Upon measuring your fabric width, you determine it is 52" wide (your actual width could be more or less) after you cut off the selvage (click here for a definition).  Now let's suppose your fabric is medium-weight, and it is a solid.

Using the cutting length we found in Part 2A of 121 . 5", you would determine your fabric amount as follows:

Your panel coverage needs to be 92 . 5" (the panel coverage amount of 37" x the 2 . 5 ratio equals 92 . 5").

To this you will need to add an amount for the hems on the sides of each panel.  A 1  1/4" double hem is suggested.  Since you have two sides, you will need to add 5" (1 . 25" hem doubled and then on 2 sides) to your 92 . 5".  You are now at 97 . 5".

Also, the 52" fabric is obviously not wide enough, thus you will need to piece 2 sections together - side by side.  Should you stitch them together using a 1/2" seam (recommended for home dec sewing), you will need to add 1" more to your 97 . 5" to allow for the seam, making your cutting width 98 . 5". *

to determine how much total fabric is needed 
for each window (2 panels):

Cutting length 121 . 5" x 2 widths of fabric x 2 panels = 486" divided by 36" (number of inches per yard) which gives you 
13 . 5 yards of fabric.  Then multiply this by how many windows you have to reach your final yardage amount.

WHEW!!!  It took a little while, 
but we made it! 

The panels in the brown room are the same ones that were hanging in this room when it was mauve.  I need to add some trim to the bottom as they are hung a little higher than they were then.

*When piecing the fabric for this example, cut two lengths of fabric at 121 . 5"  Keep one of the lengths at a 52" width. Remove 5 . 5" from the side of the 2nd length, giving you a strip that is 46 . 5" wide.  You will want to construct your panels so that you attach the thinner length to the right side of the wider length for the right panel, and the left side of the wider length for your left panel.  The wider sections of the two panels will meet in the middle of your window when you hang them.  

Lavender Tub Tip:  if your panels need to be a little wider or a little narrower than multiples of your fabric width, just go with the full widths.  You do not want to piece skinny little sections onto the sides of your panels so that they will be exact, nor do you want to worry about cutting little slivers off.  Too much extra work for something that will not be noticed.

Next up in Part 3 - how to do all that hemming.......
And in Part 4 - adding a lining

Hope you'll stay tuned,


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