Window coverings can be easy and most definitely economical to sew. From simple rod pocket unfussy sheers, clip top and fold-over top curtains; fabric swag valances; gathered voile panels for French doors or door sidelights; grommet type café curtains for kitchens and bath; lovely sail curtains reminiscent of tall ships; easy and pretty tie tops as well as single, fixed swags – all evoke a casual lifestyle.
A simple to sew window covering has a casing top. Casings form slim pockets across the top of a curtain through which usually a tension rod is threaded. The curtain fabric is twice or more the width of the window so once the rod is slipped through the casing, soft gathers form. Stitch two parallel rows at the top of the finished curtain a few inches apart so the rod can easily slip through. If the stitching is begun a few inches down from the top, a self-frill casing is formed so that the gathers stand up above the rod adding a pretty detail to a kitchen or bath top curtain.
A simple alternative to a casing top is to sew metal curtain rings and or fabric ties stitched at regular intervals onto the finished curtain top for hanging. This type of curtain is usually one and one-half to two times the window width.
Grommet tops - a metal or plastic ring is inserted over a hole cut at regular intervals through the fabric, can be added to a finished curtain top. They are easy to install and make sliding the curtain open or closed simple to operate. Grommets are evenly spaced across the finished curtain top the width of which is normally one and one-half times the width of the widow. It is best to have the fold over top of the curtain which finishes the top edge at approximately four inches wide and fusible interfacing applied for support for the grommets.
Clip top curtains may be the easiest of all to construct. This curtain is often a fabric panel the same width and length of the widow. Small metal clips are attached to the finished curtain top then slide onto a tension rod. A fold-over top can be added of a contrasting or coordinating solid or print fabric for added embellishment.
Voile panels are sheer gathered curtains or flat panels, often held taut at the top and bottom by tension wires attached to the door or window frame. They let in some light while providing privacy and look graceful on glass panel doors or door sidelights. For gathers allow for fabric that is twice the width of the glass to be covered.
Café curtains brighten a kitchen or bathroom window. They are usually placed at the lower half of the window and let in lots of light. They can be made gathered or the same width as the window and usually have ties at the top or small clips attached for a country cottage appeal.
Sail curtains are two flat panels, lined, that completely obscure a window when closed and simple eyelet hooks to pull back the bottom lower ends of the fabric to attach to the window sides when opened. The opened curtain has the look of the triangular sails on boats.
Fixed swag window coverings are decorative enhancements to a window and are not considered curtains at all. A long length of fabric or soft linen draped evenly or asymmetrically over a decorative curtain rod or pole with end finials often requires no or minimal sewing at all if the entire fabric width is used. The selvedge ends of the fabric act as finished side hems – only the cross-wise cut ends may require a simple hem. This window treatment is simple but an effective window enhancement.
Simple window treatments can be easy and fun to sew since only straight stitching is required. Depending on the top of curtain tops, clever hanging devices used and fabric choices, any window can be dressed up elegantly or casually for any season.
Sew happy, sew inspired.