I’ve sewn miles (literally!) of window treatments, and thus have developed my own little tricks and tips to accomplish the look I want to achieve, but maybe in a little off-beat way. Here I show you how I sewed the simple trimmed window treatments for the two staggered windows on the landings of the front stairway. Here’s how I did it…
These are the pair of windows on the landings of the front stairway:
They are mostly visible from the living room, and I certainly could have just treated them in the same style as the living room, (which are treated with simple white roman shades) but I wanted these two windows to be a little snazzier.
I’ve seen lots of old houses like ours that has stained glass windows for these landing windows. Even though ours didn’t, I still thought it would be in keeping with the style and age of the house, so I found this pair of stained glass windows on Ebay. (I love Ebay for a resource for old windows, especially stained glass ones!)
I hung the pair of stained glass panels in the top section of the double hung windows, but…
the windows needed a little more…
That’s where the simple trimmed window treatments comes into the picture…
For the flange edge, I had the brown embroidered fabric leftover from something years ago, as well as the red and teal cord welting. It originally was quite expensive so I was thrilled when I had just the perfect amount to trim these four panels with it.
The black and white print fabric was a find at Walmart! And it was a bargain. So funny to mix the super expensive fabric with the bargain fabric, but once it’s all put together, none would be the wiser. (except now you know) 😉
So there’s the story of the fabrics… Here’s the story of how I put it all together…
I cut the 4 panels long enough so that I’d have at least 4″ more than the finished length. The amount to be added greatly depends on how fat the rod is obviously… the wider the diameter of the rod, the larger the rod pocket needs to be, thus more cutting length to add to the panel. (my rods for these were pretty small, so I figured only about 2″ of fabric for that pocket)
The other variable in determining cut length would be how high you wanted the header to be. (the header is the ruffled part above the rod) I wanted the header to be super small, only about 1/2″, sometimes there isn’t a header at all, it’s just preference and what style the curtains are going to be.
Then, the last part of figuring how much to add for the cut length is the hem allowance.
For the hem on a simple panel like this, I turn it in 1/2″ twice and stitch. That means I need to allow for 1″ for the hem, but that 1″ gets folded up the back… make sense? (and I know this isn’t the normal way to hem draperies, but it’s what I do and it works really well for a simple, casual curtain like this. I don’t like to see the stiffness of a 3″ hem on the bottom of a gathered curtain. See a little further down in this post, and I explain more…)
Once you’ve determined your length and cut all the pieces, it’s time to sew them together.
(check out this post to see how to make your own welt cord!)
Here you can see a simple sketch of the seam that connects the main fabric and flange edging fabric with the welt cord sandwiched in between. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine with the needle position all the way over to the left can make a very nice tight seam when sewing on cording.
I basically always sew white lining to the back of any window treatment I’m making. (I’ll have to write a post on just that… so many reasons!)
I made the lining width narrower than that width of the main fabric and edging flange fabric combined, because I wanted the edging flange fabric to fold over. I figured that the edge of it would be somewhat visible and I didn’t want to see the white lining. So I made the lining the width of the main fabric width alone.
Sew the lining to the combined main and flange fabric, (right sides together):
When it’s finished, you would have a tube.
Next I turned the tube of fabric right side out, and pressed it so that the flange fabric was folded in half and the seam of the lining and main fabric was the other fold, like the sketch below shows.
Now from this point, there are a couple of options to finish the panel top and bottom.
- You could turn it back inside out, and stitch the top and bottom, (like a pillowcase) leaving an opening to turn it right side out and then top stitch or blind stitch that opening closed. (in that case, you’d need to rip a small opening at the two sides in the side seams for the rod to go through. And top stitch across to define the header and rod pocket places.
or the second choice is what I’ve sketched below:
This way of finishing the bottom hem and top header works too. Just fold and press over the bottom edge 1/2″ twice and top stitch. Then for the header, fold and press over 1/2″ then the amount you figured for your header and rod pocket. In my case it was 2 1/2″.
A word of warning! When you’re sewing the lining and front together like this, you need to be extremely careful that they are lying completely flat to each other. (I accomplish this by laying them totally flat and pressing them, and using lots of pins to hold it in place.) Because if they’re not totally flat, hence not totally even in length to each other, what you could wind up with when you hang them is the lining pulling the front fabric up on the bottom, or visa versa. That’s why this isn’t the normal way one would hem draperies, and it’s perfectly OK and probably better to hem them separately, but I’m just telling you how I do it super quick and fast. I’ve worked this out, so that it works well for me. But, I also use a long basting stitch, so that if when I hang it, it is bunching or tugging up the bottom a bit, I can easily rip it out and adjust it.
But again, I wouldn’t recommend this type of hemming for long draperies, it’s nearly impossible to get long lengths of fabric to be exactly the same length, so you’ll wind up with bunching somehow. This system works OK for me on shorter simple curtains like this just great though.
By mixing 3 different fabrics and trims together, I was able to mix the color palette and ‘weave’ together my own colorway for the window treatment. I have blacks and brown and blues in the living room, so these finished simple trimmed window treatments pull that colorway up to the stairway and add that pizzazz and warmth I was looking for.
I hope I explained well enough how to make these simple curtains, but if not, and you have questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments below! I will for sure answer your questions!
Want to read a little more? Check out these other tutorials I’ve written… some are on other sewing projects, but there’s other topics too!
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