Pleating and hanging the curtains

curtains completeCurtains are like dining chairs. One never seems that much but when you have to buy 4 or 6 it ends up quite a cost. So curtains for one window are not that much but for the whole house?

This is why I decided to design and make my own for our holiday home. They are so easy that with no, or very little, sewing experience you should be able to make then yourself. You would need to have, or access to, a sewing machine.

Shop around for thermal drape curtain material. The cost per metre / yard varies greatly.

  1. All measurement are in centimetres. Inches and fractions are just too hard to work in. Sorry. First work out how much material you will need. Be generous in the width. When you pull the curtains there should still be some slack when the two touch in the middle.

    curtain pleating pattern

    • After hemming the edge allow 7cm to the first pleat. The first ring goes on the very end and the next on the first pleat.
    • Each pleat uses 8cm of material
    • Allow for 3cm after the last pleat in curtain in the centre of the window. This makes the curtains over lap better when they are drawn.
    • Allowing 11.5cm between the pleats made the curtains hang nicely. You will have to adjust this measurement a little depending on the length of your window.
    • Don't forget to allow room for the curtains to be pulled back off the windows. A 160cm wide window would require about 20cm each side so the total width of the two curtains when drawn would be 2m.
2. curtain hem
Hem the top, bottom and edges of the curtain.
At the top, only fold the hem over once so it does not get too bulky when pleating.
3. curtain pleat
Mark the pleat measurements on the back of the curtain allowing 7cm to the first pleat from the side.
4. curtain pleat pinning
Pin the pleat keeping the pins to the side out of the way of the sewing machine foot.
5. curtain pleat
The pleat held in position by the pins.
6. curtain pleat depth
Mark with a pin the depth of the pleat 5cm.
7. curtain sewing
The pleat sewn. Make sure it has caught the inside pleat fold.
8. curtain rings
Pleats finished ready for the rings to be sewn on.
9. curtain rings
Sew the rings on to the back of each pleat. I used key rings bought from a hardware store.
10. curtains complete
Curtain complete and hung. Note the position of the first ring on the right side of the curtain. It is positioned so that it is fixed to the end of the curtain rail. If you are making the rail as well then allow length in the rail for the ring between the hook and the rail end stop.

Making your own curtain rails

The design of these curtain rails complimented the theme of our holiday home of a contemporary cottage. There are variations you might like to consider. The hooks could be painted black. The ends of the rails could have a fancy knob attached. At least one end has to be removable so the curtains can be threaded on and off again when required. If you wished you could use a square rail and bevel the edges to make it six sided instead of the round dowel I've used.

The advantage of having a wooden back board is that it can be screwed on to the wall where ever the studs (house frames) are. This can be a problem without the back board at the side of the window where the building framing disappears and you are left with only plaster board to screw into.

  1. Measure the window width and add 470mm / 18½ in. That allows for 200mm / 8in each side of the window to pull the curtains back and 35mm / 1½in. in from each end, to where the hook is placed.
  2. curtain rail Once you know the length select the 28mm / 1 in. dowel first, then select the hooks that best fits the dowel. Do not trim the dowel to its final length until the hooks are in place so you can get an accurate measurement. At each end allow for a curtain ring to go between the disc and the hook.
  3. The timber back board I used was 65mm/2½in x 20mm/ ¾in.
  4. curtains completeThere can only be two (on a narrow window) or three hooks. The end hooks are placed 35mm / 1?in in from the end. With three hooks the middle one must be centred.
  5. curtains completePre drill the back board with a fairly large drill (you do not want to split the board) and screw the hooks into position. The ones I use I screwed up to the end of the thread. Then, using a hack saw, cut off the thread that is protruding through the back.
  6. curtains complete If you are using wooden discs cut these and screw to each end of the dowel.
  7. Finish the wood to your requirement. I put a clear semi gloss finish on mine.


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