How to Sew Blackout Curtains-DIY

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hey! Guess what? I made blackout curtains! I did it. I did it! I did it! YAY! I am super excited to share how with you because if you want to buy a single blackout panel from PBTeen it will cost you a cool $80 for one panel, but you can make four of them for about $75! All you need is a little belief in yourself and the ability to sew a semi-straight line.
tween girl bedroom makeover

This is a project I took on as part of Ellie's room makeover. You can see my plans for her little room here, and how I refinished her dresser here. The girl has to have complete and utter darkness in order to wake up happy so blackout curtains were a must. Previously she would drape extra blankets over her curtain rods to block out the light. So fashion forward I tell you. You can see some of her room in these curtain pictures; by Wednesday I'll hopefully be finished and have the full, wait for it, reveal. 

I looked at a few different tutorials online and the one I really followed was this one from A View Along the Way. It is very clear and well done.

I'm so happy with how these came out I'm looking at every window in my house with a critical eye wondering what fabric would look best as a new dress for them.

So if you're ready to make your own blackout curtains, let's get cracking!

I do everything with a sort of casual approach, I hope that doesn't bug you. Don't stress out when you're making these; you can do it! And all mistakes are fixable.

So first, cut your fabric. Ideally you should cut your fabric 4-6 inches wider and 6-8 inches longer than you want your panel to end up. I, on the other hand, got excited and immediately cut my fabric to almost exactly the length I wanted my panel to end up. But after a brief moment where I thought I'd have to stab myself in the eye with the scissors, I realized I'd just have to make do with smaller hems. And it worked out fine.

Lock your dog in another room and lay your fabric out on the floor if your panels are too long to cut on a table.

Next cut your blackout lining a few inches shorter and narrower than your fabric panels. I cut mine 6 inches shorter and 4 inches narrower.

Fold up a hem on the bottom edge of your fabric, iron it, fold it again, iron it and sew it with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I was trying to make my hem as small as possible since I was an over eager cutter, but if you cut your fabric 8 inches longer than your finished panel you can fold up a two inch hem and then fold it again taking up four inches total. It will look nice and professional. Are you following? Great!

A 1/4 inch seam allowance is basically when you put your presser foot right against that fold and follow it for the whole seam. It makes it easy to sew straight. You will see that I didn't bother pinning. I also just eyeballed what an inch hem looks like and folded it without measuring. I like living on the edge that way.

This is quick and dirty curtain making my friends. Not really though, it actually looks very good. I just hate spending a million hours trying to make everything perfect and then being hyper aware of every uneven hem or crooked stitch; instead I like to eyeball things and remember that the curtain police probably won't come check on me. 

Okay next hem your lining fabric again using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Now you have a hemmed curtain panel, and a hemmed lining. Lay them right sides together and line the left edges up together. The right side of the blockout fabric is the side that is a little bit soft and fuzzy; the wrong side feels like rubber? It should look like this. Go ahead and pin it and sew the edges together.
Next you need to take the right edges and pin and sew them together. The fabric panel is, obviously, bigger than the lining so the fabric will be loose. It's okay, just go with it.
After both of the edges are sewn together, you get to do the fun part...turning the whole thing right side out! It will look like this:
Kind of smooth and straighten it so that there are equal amounts of fabric on each side of the lining. Be excited! It looks like a real, professional, blackout curtain panel! Iron it up.

At this point you could simply hem the top and then hang the panels using curtain clips like I did with my kitchen valance. 

If you want curtains hung with back tabs you can cut 2 1/2 inch lengths of grosgrain ribbon to use as tabs. Double fold down the top of the panel and iron it. Slide the ribbon pieces under the edge of the hem and pin them. To get even spacing I put one tab at each corner, then one in the middle, then eyeballed the two tabs in between the middle and edge tabs.

Now sew the edge down securing the tabs as you do.
Now sew the ends of the tabs down. I went across, backwards, and across again.
And finally, trim the loose threads and hang that beautiful curtain up! After you make the first one you'll be amazed at how easy it was and probably, like me, excited to make more. Cheers!
Linking at DIY Show off and Under the Table and Dreaming - what a great name! and Huckleberry Love

5 Responses to “How to Sew Blackout Curtains-DIY”

  1. This room transformation is truly amazing. You are so very talented ... and I really love your relaxed design sensibility.

  2. I have some beautiful fabric that is waiting for me. You are giving me inspiration. I think it's going on two years since I bought the fabric. Ugh! Why do I do this to myself? I hope I can get them done before Christmas. Thanks for the encouragement, Shelley! :)

    1. You're not the only one Kim! I have fabric from two summers ago that I'm supposed to use to recover our porch swing canopy and pad with. Le sigh.

  3. I found this tutorial originally at view along the way but have a question about the finished panel...After tacking down the bottom of the tab, can't you see the stitching on the front? Seems like it would look weird (and unprofessional) to have an inch of stitching randomly on the front of your curtain.

    1. I totally see what you're saying. The fabric I chose was very busy and bright so the stitching doesn't show up much between the pattern and the curtain folds. If you are using a solid color fabric it probably would show a little...I'm thinking that if you match your thread color really well that would minimize it. Also, if you hang your curtains close to your ceiling then the stitches will be far above eye level and pretty discrete. This is a long answer but my last thought is that you could try making your blackout fabric almost even with the top edge of your panel and maybe see your tabs just onto that? Good luck! Okay, last thing, maybe go spy on some back tab panel curtains at calico corners or another fabric store where they have samples of custom drapes and see how they did it.


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