Monday, April 30, 2012

Lined Curtain Panels and Tie-Back Tutorial

I've been working hard to check things off the nursery to-do list, and started with what I consider one of the more important projects, the curtain panels. Black-out lined curtain encourage nice loooonnng naps.

For four curtain panels, I ordered 12 yards of Sweet William Teal cotton duck fabric from Tonic Living.

Note: I did not pre-wash my fabric. The fabric manufacturer recommended dry clean only. Plus, I would be adding black-out fabric to the back. I decided that if the curtains ever needed a good cleaning, I would take them to the dry cleaners.

I had an idea of how I wanted to sew them, but did a little internet browsing to get some ideas. The tutorial I liked best was by House of Hepworths, but I made a few changes.

I started by raising the curtain rods nearly to the ceiling, just 3 inches down the wall. Our ceilings are standard height, 8 feet, and I wanted to give the illusion of height to the room. Also, I had plenty of fabric to make the panels nice and long.

I wanted my curtains to hang about 93" from rod to floor, so I cut each panel 101" long, allowing for 4" on both the top and the bottom for the hems. When cutting out my fabric, I made sure that the pattern would line up from panel to panel, so I cut the top edge of each panel at the same place in the pattern (I used the brown flowers as my guide).

Curtain Panel Instructions

After cutting out your fabric, press the long sides over by 1" then again by 1". (House of Hepworths recommended using a 1/2" hem on the sides, but I found this a bit too narrow.)

Press side 1"

Press side again, 1"

Next, press the top edge of the fabric over by 1/2" then over again by 3".

Press top 1/2" then again 3"

I decided to make a pocket top panel, but also wanted the option to use curtain ring clips, so I added small tabs to the back of each panel.

For each panel, cut out 7 pieces of fabric, each 2.5" W by 3" L. Press each piece of fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, then sew along the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a small opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right-side out, making sure to push out the corners with your fabric turner. Press, then top-stitch along the edge with the opening.

Measure and mark off the spacing at the top hem of each panel (I spaced my tabs 8 1/2" apart). Pin the tabs in place and sew the short ends onto the top hem of the curtain panel, lining them up at the bottom edge of the hem. Only sew through one layer of fabric so the stitching is not seen from the front.

The next step is to cut out the black-out lining. Line up the black-out fabric with your curtain panel and tuck it inside the top and left hems. Smooth out. Cut off any excess at the right side and bottom. Tuck into right side. Pin in place. Using a walking foot, sew the sides first, followed by the top, stitching as close to the edge as possible. The walking foot will help keep the fabric from bunching up as you sew.

Line up the black-out fabric with your curtain panel

Cut off excess black-out fabric at the right side

Tuck under and pin in place

Note: There are two sides to the black-out lining, one is light gray and has a rubbery feel to it and the other is white and has a more cloth-like feel. After reading several different opinions online, I went with personal preference and put the white side out, the gray facing in toward the panel.

The last step is to hem the bottom. Fold over 1/2" and press, then fold over another 3" and press, just like you did for the top. Sew along the edge.

A finished view of the back:

Here's how they look hung as pocket panels...

and here's how they look hung with curtain clips. You can see the rings barely stick out from the top because they're attached to the tabs instead of the top of the curtain.

Tie-Back Instructions

I used a tie-back from a set of curtains we already owned as my template. With my fabric folded in half, I lined up the straight edge of the tieback at the fold and traced it onto my fabric, adding about 1/4" for my seam allowance. Then I cut out and pressed, right sides together, lengthwise. My tie-back was curved on one side but you could also create a rectangular tie-back. To do so, you would cut out a 3.5" x 23" piece of fabric.

From bottom to top: tie-back from purchased curtains, tie-back loops, tie-back body, finished tie-back

Tie-back body, pressed lengthwise, right sides together

Next, cut out two pieces of fabric, each 2" W x 7" L. Press right sides together, lengthwise.These will become the loops for the end of the tie-backs.

Tie-back loops, pressed lengthwise, right sides together

A trick to turning narrow tubes of fabric is to lay a piece of ribbon or cord inside before sewing.

Sew around the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving the end open. Then pull on the ribbon to turn the fabric right-side out. It took a bit of wiggling to get it to turn. Once turned, I just cut off the ribbon since the ends would be hidden inside the main piece of the tie-back. Press with the seam at the side, and fold in half.

Pull on ribbon to turn fabric right side out

Press tie-back loop and fold in half

Tuck the loops into the ends of the tie-back, with about 1/2" of the raw ends sticking out, and pin in place. Make sure the seams in the loops and tie-back face the same direction. Sew around the edge of the tie-back, over the loops, with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a small opening for turning.

Clip any excess fabric from the end of the loops. Turn right side out and press. Top stitch 1/8" in from the edge, making sure to sew the opening closed.


  1. I am using this tutorial right now! Thank you so much for this. I love the idea of sewing tabs to the top of the curtain and clipping the rings to them instead of to the top of the fabric panel. What a good idea. Since I'm a novice I guess I need to see if I can actually do it....

    1. Thank you! Good luck with your curtains. You can do it! Just take your time pressing the fabric and you shouldn't have much trouble

  2. So happy that I found your tutorial and great pictures as well! I always wondered how I sew the tabs for clips on a panel without it showing through the front. How muh extra fabric did you order so you can make sure they lined up?

    1. I think I ordered 11 yards for all 4 panels but if you are worried about the pattern matching up I'd get about 3 yards per panel

  3. I have looked long and hard for a way to hide my clips. This is the best I have seen! I'm about to get started. I like the way it looks so neat and even on the front. Thanks for posting!