DIY Easy Burlap Curtains

Peter's picture
December 3, 2010 - 11:56am

Our test of using colored burlap to add style and texture to our house started last week when we created a table runner to see how we would like the look.  The burlap accents are beautiful and add a nice color and texture combination to the house, so we decided to go forward with our plans to make new curtains from the same material.  For the curtains, we picked a light cream colored burlap material.  The lighter color adds warmth and light to the room while still providing privacy.

Curtains are very easy to make, even easier than the table runner.   If the curtains use the full width of the fabric (ours did) you won’t have to add anything but a hem on the sides of the curtains.  This lets them hang more naturally and gives them a cleaner look.  If you do need to hem your curtains on the side, remember to add an extra 2 inches to your total width. 

Our curtain design was kept purposefully simple.  We decided to use a fold-over design at the top that would let us slide a curtain rod through the curtain.  We could have put loops or hooks on the curtain but that would have meant a more complex design; we wanted to keep it simple.

Our windows in the dining area are huge so we would need very long curtains.  We measured the height of the windows and added 4 inches for overhang, 2 inches for hems and 4 inches for the ‘tube’ at the top of the curtain.  After measuring the proper length for the fabric, we cut two identical pieces to use for each window.

How to make a curtain:

1.    After you measure and cut your cloth, fold about ½ inch of material along what will be the top edge, making the edge of the fold as straight as possible.
2.    Use a warm iron to crease the fold as you go.
3.    Fold the creased material over itself so that you have a doubled over fold.
4.    Iron this crease as before.
5.    We won’t worry about corners this time since we are only doing the hem at the top and bottom.
6.    Important!  Make sure that the thread in your sewing machine and bobbin match the color of your burlap.
7.    Set your sewing machine to 8 stitches per inch and a wide zig-zag pattern.
8.    Sew all the way across the hem, centering the wide zig-zag stitch on the hem.
9.    Now fold 4 inches of this material down over itself, forming a pocket or tube.
10.    Use the iron to crease this fold.
11.    Stitch across the open end of the folded material.  You should be sewing directly over the hem that you made in the first few steps.
12.    The top is now done!
13.    At this point, you should sew the top of the second curtain so that you can match it to the first in the next few steps.
14.    Pick one of your half finished curtains and sew a hem in the bottom – fold ½ inch, crease, fold, crease and sew following steps 1 through 8 to create a similar hem.
15.    This is important.  Take the second unfinished curtain and crease and fold the bottom as you did on the first.
16.    *Before* you sew the second hem, lay it on top of the completed curtain and make sure that the lengths of both curtains match.  The loose weave of burlap can allow the material to stretch or shift making this a very important step.
17.    If the lengths don’t match, then you can adjust the bottom hem on the unfinished curtain until the lengths are perfect.
18.    Sew the hem on the second curtain.
19.    Hang up your new curtains, sit down in the room and enjoy the new view.

Depending on how much fabric you have for the width, you may want to iron a crease into your curtains to create a pleated look.  You can also go ahead and sew the pleats into the curtains.  If all of this sewing is too much, you can follow the instructions on Life to the T to make burlap curtains without any sewing.  You just need an iron!

After we finished our curtains, we hung them up in the windows that frame our Abbott Place dining room table.  We used curtain ties to pull the curtains back, which gives us a great view of our back yard.  Even with the curtains down, the burlap lets a lot of light into the room, keeping it bright and lively. 

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