I hope you will all bear with me while I have a brief “proud mom moment.” :-) You see, my daughter Britta, who I feared would never embrace the “domestic arts,” just made a set of curtains that rival anything you can find at Bed, Bath & Beyond….and beyond! This life-affirming experience proves two things: (1) when we say “anyone” can do something we are posting about, we mean it; (2) mom can always learn a thing or two from her daughter. :-)
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One interesting thing about working for the blog is that I’ve been developing several different skills and interests that I didn’t have before. Some those skills are more work-related, such as photography, but some just kind of happened out of the blue, like my love of DIY projects! Before I started working on the blog, I never really “got” why people would go so far out of their way to make things that they could just buy at a store. But once I started doing DIY projects for the blog, I became hooked! I’m taking on projects now that I would have NEVER believed I could ever do, such as today’s project… DIY grommet curtains!
Grommet curtains are simple to construct, don’t require a large amount of fabric, are easy to install and operate, and look great with all types of fabrics and interiors.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “You really expect me to be able to just make curtains?! That sounds so complicated!” But let me put that worry to bed for you, because this is honestly a very simple project! If you can operate a tape measure, an iron, and a sewing machine, you can make these curtains. And you can make them in a single afternoon!
This project is based on a tutorial I found on Deuce Cities Henhouse. Alison’s tutorial is wonderful, and she has a ton of other great information on her blog too, like tips on how to hang artwork in your home! But enough talk. Let’s get down to business, shall we?
First, you’ll need your fabric. But how much? My calculations went like this…
- Determine the width of the area you’ll want the curtain(s) to cover – 60″
- Multiply that number by 1.5 for the optimal “fluffiness” of grommet-style curtains – 90″
- (Optional) Divide this number by 2, if you want 2 curtains that meet in the middle – 45″
Now that you have the width of your fabric, let’s determine the length.
- Determine the height of the area you’ll want the curtains to cover (generally from the curtain rod to the floor, but this is entirely up to you) – 83″
- Add 10″, to account for the hems you’ll be making – 93″
So for my curtains, I needed two pieces of fabric that were 45″ x 93″. I ended up buying 6 yards of a great navy blue fabric with a white botanical print from IKEA for about $35. (A note on patterned fabrics: If you’re making a set of two curtains, you might want to buy an extra yard or so of your fabric in order to ensure that you can get the pattern to match up across the two curtains – if that’s important to you!)
Once your fabric is all measured, matched, and cut to your liking, it’s time to make some hems! On the top and bottom of each panel you’ll be making 4″ hems. To do this, you’ll first make a ½” fold on one end, and iron it flat. I used sewing pins to secure the ½” hem to the ironing board while I ironed, which was very helpful!
Once the ½” is ironed, fold that same end over again and measure out 4″, then iron again. You can also pin your hem at this point to make sure it stays put.
Now that your top hem is ready to go, repeat the steps you just did on the bottom end of your curtain: measure ½”, iron, measure 4″, iron, pin. Easy as that! Once you’ve reached this point, you’ll sew your top and bottom hems. We used a simple straight stitch, but if you want to get all fancy and try a different stitch, more power to you!
Once the top and bottom hems of each curtain are sewed, you’ll make your side hems. This is just like the top and bottom hems, where you start with a ½” ironed fold, but instead of folding that over and measuring out 4″, you’ll only measure 1″ for the sides.
Once the sides are measured, ironed, and pinned, go ahead and sew your side hems. And voila, you’ve got curtain panels!
The final step is to put in your grommets. I highly recommend Dritz grommets, because they’re super easy to install and come in a variety of finishes. The grommets come in packs of 8, and you’ll need one pack per curtain.
Using the stencil that comes with the grommets, you’ll measure out and mark where your grommets are going to go on the back of the top hem of your curtain. The center of each grommet should be spaced 2″ from the edge.
As for how far apart the grommets should be spaced, Alison provided a great way to calculate your grommet spacing in her tutorial, which worked beautifully for me:
- Take your curtain width (42″ for me) and subtract 5 = 37″
- Divide the new number by 7 = just about 5-¼”
This number is the distance you should measure between the center of each grommet.
The above calculations assume you’ll start your first and last grommets 2-½” in from the sides (that’s where the 5 comes from!). So measure and mark those two out, so the center of the template is 2-½” in from the side and 2″ from the edge.
Next, measuring from the center of the grommet hole you just marked, measure out the distance you just calculated (5-¼” for me.) Place the center of the stencil there (and 2″ from the top, of course) and mark out another grommet hole. (Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get the spacing perfect between the grommets; it’s more important to make sure the centers are all 2″ from the top, as this will affect how they hang.)
Measure and mark out your grommet holes until all 8 holes are marked. Carefully cut out each hole using sharp fabric scissors. Make sure to stay within the lines that you marked!
Once the holes are cut, gather a pair of grommet parts: one with pokey bits, and one with lines. Place the one with lines around the hole on the back side of the curtain, and then line up the one with the pokey bits on the front side of the curtain and press down firmly. You should hear the two parts click together.
You’ve just installed a grommet! Repeat these steps until all your grommets are installed.
All that’s left to do is bask in your own glory, because you just made some really awesome curtains with your own two hands! So cool, right? Plus you probably just saved yourself $30-50 by making your own curtains rather than buying them at a home decor store! Well done!