How to make Curtains Step 5: Joining Fabric

Just before we start joining fabric, here is a quick check list…

So far in our ‘How to make curtains guide‘, we have completed these steps:

Step 1: Decide what type of curtains would you like to make.
Step 2: Work out what size curtains you need.
Step 3: Calculate how much curtain fabric is required.
Step 4: Cutting your fabric to the correct length.

Now, continuing on from ‘What about the Curtain width’ in Step 4, we are going to be joining fabric to make curtains wider than the 137cm(54″) fabric we are using for our guide.

Step 5: Joining fabric.

For those of you who are making curtains that are narrower than a single width of your chosen curtain fabric, please skip to Step 6. For the rest of us, it’s time to get those pins out.

Joining fabric to make plain curtains:

So in our example we are using one and a half widths of 137cm(54″) fabric for each curtain. What we need to do now is take one full width and one half width. Lay the full width face up on a flat surface. Then, take the half width and lay it face down on top of the full width.

Now, starting at one end, align the ends of the two pieces of fabric while at the same time, align the salvage edges. Work your way along the length aligning the salvage edges and pinning the two layers together. Repeat the process for the other full and half width.

Joining fabric to make patterned curtains:

When joining fabric that has a pattern, we want to get the join as invisible as we can. This is the process we spoke of in Step 4 called pattern matching. After all, we wouldn’t want to see half a piece of the pattern suddenly appearing out of a blank area would we. So, just to recap then, the idea is to align the pattern as closely as possible while joining the fabric.

Don’t get to worried though… providing you followed Step 4 correctly, joining fabric that has a pattern isn’t really that different than joining plain fabric. In fact, you can simply follow the process above (Joining fabric to make plain curtains). However, there is one important thing to check. You must make sure that you place the half width along the appropriate side of the full width. In other words, when you align the salvage edges, double check that the pattern is going in the same direction on both pieces of fabric. If you don’t, about a third of the pattern on your finished curtain will be up-side down (and yes!… over the years in my hast, I have made this mistake once or twice myself, only to have to unpick and start again).

Joining fabric like velvet:

If you have chosen to make curtains from a plain velvet or similar fabrics, when joining, treat it as if it were patterned fabric.

Why should I do that?… it hasn’t got a pattern!

Ah… even though your velvet has no pattern, it does have a ‘Nap‘. No… I don’t mean a quick sleep. Basically, these are the small fibres on the surface of the fabric. It is a good idea to make sure the nap is going in the same direction on both pieces of fabric. One reason for this is because if the nap is going in opposite directions, the fibres tend to fight against each other when going under the foot of the sewing machine. With the fight going on between the fibres, each piece of fabric wants move in different directions making the join somewhat messy and misaligned.

The other reason is the when you have finished your curtains, part of each curtain would look darker than the other part.

Sewing the fabric:

Right, we have our fabric all aligned and pinned, now it’s time to get sewing. Place one end of your fabric under the foot of your sewing machine. Align it so that your stitch line will be 2 to 3 millimetres (one eighth of an inch) in to the fabric away from the salvage.

(Note to self – I think a photo example is called for here… I’ll sort one out! :))

When you have your fabric aligned, stitch the entire length removing the pins as you go. Tad-daa… you have just completed the first joining fabric task. Now do the same again for the other(s).

Next – Step 6: Hemming

One thought on “How to make Curtains Step 5: Joining Fabric

  1. what an absolutely wonderful site!! brilliantly written and easy to understand!! cant wait to go out and get my fabric!! my little girl is going to LOVE her new curtains!! 🙂
    well done!!

    will definately make use of this site again

    regards
    Ilene
    George, Western Cape
    South Africa

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