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Old 19-08-2013, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bath
Posts: 30
Default Curtains

Hi hope someone can help with this questions before I go completely bald by pulling all my hair out!

I want to make some curtains and bought a lovely book with instructions for different styles. The problem I'm having is it says to use double the width (of material)of the window, and gather the top before pleating using the pinning method.
However when I tried this I ended up with too much material in the bottom half of the curtain and not enough room to pleat it.
I have looked at other methods on the internet one of which said to use just the width of the window per curtain and not gather the top. I wonder if anyone has used either of these methods and which worked best.
Thanks for any help
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Old 19-08-2013, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Leicestershire
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I'm sorry to say that I've never made any curtains although I've bought the material for several and a book on how to do it. So I'd be interested in this too.
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Old 19-08-2013, 07:31 PM
Posts: n/a

Hello and Welcome...................A great deal depends on the weight of material you need you use very lightweight stuff. Always remember that spray starch will hold material if you can set it up with pins or cotton sewed to let it dry...............Some people have made curtains from pleated paper and they look stunning!
Bambi made paper curtains for her mounty...............

The 'Mounty' is out from under the bed!!

They are in her kitchen.............
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Old 20-08-2013, 09:31 AM
Posts: n/a

Originally Posted by mad-on-miniatures View Post
You Will Need

1 x Curtain Pleater

1 x Ruler / Measuring Tape

1 x Pencil

1 x Pair of small SHARP scissors for trimming

1 x Piece of STIFF card for the pelmet - (A strong cereal packet will do)

1 x Pair of large SHARP scissors for cutting your material to the required sizes as below

1 x Piece of Material size 7" x 4" for the pelmet

2 x Pieces of Material size 5" x 8" for the curtains

2 x Pieces of Material size 4" x 1 1/2" for the tie backs (optional)

Several plastic cards - credit card sized - (Old Top Up phone cards are ideal)

2 / 3 Small sized clamps - OR other, to hold items in place

1 x Small Paint brush

Craft Glue for Fabrics - PVA will suffice although may take longer to dry.

Strong Hold Hair Laquer /OR Starch (I use hair laquer)

Cocktail sticks or lolly sticks or other - For applying / spreading glue

Sticky backed Velcro - Both sides - Furry and grippy - In White (preferably)

Masking Tape / Sellotape - (Masking Tape is better)

In a suitable container, (egg cup, plastic lid) mix 2 tspns water to enough PVA to make it slightly thinner than normal. .......... Then using your paint brush, lightly paint the 4 edges of each piece, of your chosen curtain material, along with the 4 edges of each tie back piece............ This will act as your fray stop.

Cut a rectangular shape from the cardboard, measuring........5 3/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches...(W x H). Draw a line 3/8 of an inch in, from ONE of the long edges. Next draw another line down 3/8 of an inch in, either side of the short edges........These lines are your fold lines as shown in BLACK on the photo........


The only cuts you need to make are shown in RED on the photo. Do NOT cut any further than where the lines cross.

Taking you piece of cardboard, score gently along the lines you have just drawn and fold, glue the two small "square flappy" pieces, to the INSIDE of you box shape using clamps to hold in the pieces in place....This is to be your pelmet. Leave to dry.....

If your curtain material is now dry, then you will need to iron it. Sorry ladies and gents of course.....but this is a must, use a dry iron - NO STEAM - set to the temperature for your material.

Turn under a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch for the hemline, if you are using a patterned material, make sure that they are the same way up, before turning the hem, as this will now become the BOTTOM of your curtains..........

Using PVA or other, glue the turned edge down, use only a small amount of glue in a thin line, to avoid saturation. Alternativley you could use Wonderweb in small pieces......sharen that one's for you

Put aside and leave to dry.......TIP :- If you are really impatient I am, then placing them over you radiator will help them dry a little quicker

Back to the pelmet, if this is now dry too.....remove the clamps and spread PVA or other, SPARINGLY and THINLY across the front part of your cardboard pelmet

Then, with your pelmet material lying WRONG SIDE UP, place your cardboard pelmet down onto the material just below centre and gently press down.

Cover the lower inside edge of your cardboard pelmet with glue and then using your small sharp scissors, cut the lower corners of your pelmet material, on the diagonal and fold these in on top of your cardboard pelmet........leave to dry, if the edges wont stay down, then use a couple of clamps to hold in place until dry, you could dry this on your radiator too........

Once dry, continue to do the same on all sides, glueing and trimming as necessary, leave to dry.

Your pelmet once complete, should look like the photos showing the .......Back and Front

Whilst the curtains and pelmet are drying,you can set to work on the tie backs, (if you are having them).

Take 1 piece of material set aside for your tiebacks and fold one LONG edge to the MIDDLE, then fold the other long edge over on top of this and glue in place.

It should now be 1/3rd of its original width, glue each of the short sides together and if necessary clamp in place, intil dry. Repeat again, for the other tie back. When dry press with a DRY iron - NO STEAM.

If you haven't ironed your curtain material at this point, then do it now, it will make pleating you curtains easier and will give a neater finish.

Okay, this is the fun bit.......taking your curtain material, drape 1 inch approx, OVER THE BACK of your pleater and tape down with masking tape. You can use sellotape, however I wouldn't advise it too much, as the adhesive qualities are higher and may leave a sticcky residue on your curtain material......Masking tape is better.

Turn your pleater over so that you have the grooved bit facing you and smooth your material over the pleater..........Now, taking the first of your plastic phone cards, press / push down the material into the first groove FIRMLY, starting at the hemline and slide along to the end.

Place another 1 or 2 cards, into the now material filled groove, you have just made, leave these in place. Taking your card, agian press / push the material down into groove two, sliding along to the end as before, TIP : - you may need to hold down the cards in groove one at the same time.

Okay, now you should have 2 material filled grooves, leave another 1 or 2 cards in the 2nd groove and repeat the above with your card to fill groove 3. Then taking the cards out of groove 1 place them into groove 3. Continue in this way alternating the cards as you go, until you have filled 6 grooves. You should have a little bit of material left over, at this point.

Repeat steps 8 and 9 on the other side of your pleater, until you have one pair of curtains in your pleater. Make sure that your hems are both on the same edge of your pleater.

This one is easy, spray your curtains, LIBERALLY with hair laquer or starch. It may be advisable to do this out side or with a window open.

It is important that you really do give them a GOOD SOAKING. Leave to dry, I prop mine up on the radiator to dry quicker, but it is ESSENTIAL that they are DRY BEFORE you move onto the next step.

Tie backs and pelmet time again. Whilst your curtains are drying, you could decorate your pelmet and tie backs(optional). If you're choosing to not have tie backs and you want a plain pelmet then that's fine, now would be a good time for a cuppa........mines milk but no sugar....

If you are then read on........I've added lace and braid to mine, as I plan to put these in the bedroom, to match a bed set that I will make later (will post photos, when done), but you can do whatever your heart desires at this stage. Just simply apply glue to your chosen dressing and lay on top of the pelmet / tiebacks. Leave to dry.

IMPORTANT:- Before continuing - PLEASE make sure that your curtains are COMPLETELY DRY, before you continue with this next step, if you are in any doubt - leave to dry for a few more minutes, as removing them when wet or even damp, will cause your pleats to drop out and your hard work will have been wasted.

So, are you sure they're dry - then remove the masking tape from the back of your pleater.

Starting at the hem edge, remove your material from you pleater, to do this, tease the edge of you material away from your pleater, using a cocktail stick.

Once enough material has ben loosened, take a firm but gentle grip of the hem and pull, so that the top end, travels in the direction of where your hem was. Repeat with the other side.

You should now have two almost complete curtains.

This is also a good time to check the lengths are equal, if not you can easily trim them at the top end.

Take on of your now pleated curtains and turn it on its front. Taking the SMALL piece of material (the bit you didn't put in the pleater, but not the one you taped on the back) and fold it back on its self and glue the other, larger piece, on top of this. Leave to dry.

Almost done now,
Take your pelmet and place face down. Apply glue to the corners where your curtains will go.
Place your curtains on top of the glued area, pleated side down.
Leave to dry.

Take your tie backs (if using) and apply glue, to one side of the short edges, on each tie back, ensuring you glue the opposite edge, to the other tieback.

Place your tie backs at a slight angle, on the back of your curtains. Leave to dry

Once your tie backs have dried, wrap the tie back around the front of your curtains and give a gentle tug to Ruche' up your pleats,

Once you are happy with the desired look, apply a dab of glue at the back of your curtains and using a small clamp, if necessary, to hold in place.

Leave to dry.

This step is completely optional and NOT really necessary. However, I do it because I think it finishes off the back of the curtains and makes them look equally as good from the other side.

Glue in place, along the top of curtains, a piece of cotton lace or similar.

Leave to dry

This is the last one now, I promise.........

With the back of your curtains facing towards you, measure and stick down, a suitably sized piece of sticky backed velcro, about an inch or so.

Place this in the blank, middle part of your pelmet, between your curtains. It may be necessary, if your pelmet is too deep, to stick a couple of pieces of card down first, then add the velcro after.....

And that's it.........Your curtains are now complete......

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.........


I knew I'd seen some curtain instructions somewhere on here, so I did a search on the forum again and found these instructions for curtain making, using a pleater.
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Old 20-08-2013, 03:37 PM
Posts: n/a

I forgot to say, I'm sorry the post is a bit long ! ! ! !
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Old 20-08-2013, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: West Lothian
Posts: 35

Hi Arlene
Have a look at this tutorial on Casey's blog, it's really good and explains things well Casey's Minis: Tutorials

Hope you get there in the end.
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Old 21-08-2013, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bath
Posts: 30

Hi everyone, thank you so much for your input. For some reason I couldn't access the pics of the paper curtains but having already bought the material I need for 5 sets of curtains I was determined to have them lol.

Fizzliz thank you for the instructions on using a pleater but the cost for me at the moment is a bit prohibitive.

However I have now managed to make 1 set of curtains inc pelmet and tie backs hooray!
They are not perfect but I'm very pleased with them. The initial problem was that the instructions say to use double the width which made them too wide at the bottom when pleating with a gather at the top. I hadn't looked at the pattern for it as the instructions are for a standard width window approx 3x5 and mine is 6 1/2 inches wide but when I did look at the pattern it was single width so I can only assume that double was a typo.

Rosebud the book I used was this one -
You can look inside and pretty much get the whole instructions for curtain making apart from the patterns and as long as you cut the fabric the single width + hems at sides and bottom you should be ok. I used patchwork cotton fabric as it comes in a wide range of colours and small patterns and doesn't fray very easily although if you look closely the pin holes are visible. I tried it with poly cotton but it doesn't hold the pleats. Hope this gets you inspired!

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Old 21-08-2013, 07:48 PM
Rosebud's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 4,072

Thanks Arlene. I really must have a go at making some. I would love to see a pic of yours.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:16 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Lowton, near Wigan
Posts: 356

I made my first set of curtains by pinning them into gathers at the top, middle and bottom and spraying them with hairspray to hold their shape. I used some sponge as a base.

As I didn't like to see the faded print through the window when the house is shut, I made my second set for the dining room like a pocket with lining material, so no raw edges show and then just gathered them with running stitches along the top and middle. Then covered the top with a pelmet of cardboard covered with the material and the middle with a gold thread tie-back.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:22 AM
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Location: Lowton, near Wigan
Posts: 356

Should have said to see the results - Staircase at Edwardian House No. 54 posting and Edwardian house No. 29.
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