Wednesday, March 7

Drop Cloth Curtains

Time for more curtain fun! Today we'll be looking at some easy ways to make your own curtains, and be sure to check out my post about how to hang curtain rods as well. Let's start with a look at curtain lengths. I usually prefer floor length curtains, but if you want something shorter your curtains should end either at the sill or apron of the window, as shown in this illustration. Try to avoid stopping in the space between the wall and the floor. It will give you a cleaner, more professional look when you stop at a clean visual line.

Once you decide what length you want your curtains to be, you can go ahead and hem them if they are pre-made or make some curtains of your own. That's what I did in the office recently. I actually bought some drop cloths at Lowe's as a cheap alternative to traditional curtains, but you can use these instructions to make curtains out of just about anything. I bought two 6x9' cloths (one for each window) for about $15 apiece. I plan to cut each cloth in half in order to have two panels for each window, but you could put it up as one panel to cut out some steps if you want.

I started by washing my drop cloths to preshrink them and get rid of the funky Lowe's smell. Depending on the size of your drop cloths, they could be ready to to put straight up with ring clips. However, mine need to be cut up and hemmed so I had some work to do. I started by cutting along the seam that ran down the middle of my drop cloths to split it into two even panels.

Then I cut the middle seam off the the other panel too because it was just too bulky.

I folded the unfinished long sides in about 1/4", then 1/2" and sewed close to the fold to finish them. I also did this on the on the other long sides to make them match.

Then I was ready to hem them. I started by cutting off the thick seam at the bottom of the curtain. you don't have to do this but it was too bulky for me. You can leave the top seam if you are putting your curtain up with ring clips.

Then I hung the panel backwards so I could hem the length. You can see how much slack is at the bottom to be hemmed. Since I hung it backwards I could fold them bottom up towards me and pin it in place to mark the length. I folded it up to just above the floor, about 1/2 - 1", because I find that curtains will stretch over time and if you make them all the way to the floor they will start to drag. I find it's easiest to start by pinning the hem on each side and then work on the middle. It also helps to put your pins at the top of the folded fabric instead of near the bottom.

I didn't get a picture of this while they were hanging, but here you can see the hem folded up.

Next I folded the raw edge under to create the hem. I like to leave a tall hem at the bottom because I think it looks really spiffy, and also because I'm cheap and if I ever want to use it again somewhere else I will have plenty of room to let out the length instead of having to buy new curtains and start over. I also like it to match on all my curtains, so I measure up 6 inches from the bottom and fold the raw edge under that far.

Then I sew close to the folded edge.

That's it for the sewing. Before you hang them iron your curtains, at least along the bottom to get a nice crisp edge. This will help your curtain hang better. Then you can clip them up with ring clips (you can get them anywhere, mine are from Ikea and my rods are too). I like the ring clips because they are easy, they are safe for Baby B (if he pulls on them they should unclip instead of pulling down the rod), and because I think the dark rings and rod look really sharp against the wall. I'm actually thinking about converting all of my curtains to ring clips!

Now stand back and admire your work! Drop cloths were a great, affordable way for me to get the simple, off-white curtains I wanted in here. And it's a bonus that they are made of a heavy canvas with lots of texture. I have a plan to dress them up a little that will hopefully happen soon!

I did the same thing for the other window, too. I find it's easiest to do it assembly line style when I have several panels to make. First do all the cutting, then finish all the edges, then do all the hemming.

If you don't like to sew, you could complete this whole project using iron-on hem tape instead. Baby B "organized" my while I worked on these. So helpful. ;)

Do you ever make your own curtains?


  1. This sounds so simple! I pinned it to pinterest if that's ok

  2. The drop cloth curtains given here are excellent. Have a look at it

  3. I took them out of the package and sent them to the dry cleaners and they came back all perfect and I hung them as they were and let them puddle on the floor. No work and little money.

    1. Nice! That a great idea for anyone who doesn't have a sewing machine, too. Thanks for sharing! :)