I’ve used sheets to make curtains on several occasions. It’s a really affordable way to get lots of fabric at a low price. What makes this project different is that I used linen sheets to make my curtain panels. I really love the lined linen drapes at Pottery Barn, but at $189 per panel, the cost for my windows will be $750.
Instead, I opted for making my own curtains by turning linen sheets into curtains. I used four king-sized sheets to make four-lined linen drapes. The cheat I used to make them lined seemed too good to be true when I tried it. Each curtain required only 2 straight line seams for rod pocket curtains (might require none if you use rings). It was so quick and easy and required minimal sewing skills (I am a novice sewer).
Materials Needed to Make Linen Curtains from Sheets
Here’s what you will need. The size drapery panel you’ll need depends on the size of your window and how tall your ceilings are.
Pro tip: It makes your windows look bigger if you hang your window treatments above the top of the window frame and wider than the width of the window. Your eye is fooled into thinking the window is as large as the curtain covering it.
Before you buy the sheets make sure you get an accurate measurement of your windows according to the instructions below.
- Linen Sheets – You will need flat bed sheets. I used a king sized sheet which measures 102 inches x108 inches.
- Sewing machine
- Curtain rod (similar)
- Measuring devices. I used a soft tape measure to measure the length from the rod to the floor and a sliding gauge ruler to mark my seams.
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How to Measure Before You Buy
The first step in any sewing project is always to measure. I recommend hanging your rod before you put up the curtains. Hang your rod four to six inches above the window and four to six inches wider than the width of your window.
Decide how many panels you will need. The rule of thumb is that your curtains should be TWICE AS WIDE as the window. A 36-inch wide window would require 72-inch drapes. Curtains don’t usually come exactly 2x as wide as your window, so aim for more than 2x as wide instead of less than 2x.
If you’re using sheets to make curtains consider these factors:
- Most full sheets are approximately 90 inches wide, if you’re going to make them “lined” that will make one 45 inch panel.
- Most queen flat sheets are 96 inches wide ( makes one 48 inch panel).
- Most king sheets are 108 inches wide (makes on 54 inch panel)
Measure from the bottom of the rod to the floor. Add length if you want your curtains to “pool” at the bottom vs just kissing the floor. My personal preference was to have my drapes to be as full as possible so I used king sheets.
Steps to make a “Lined” Linen Drape: An Easy Tutorial to Make Your Own Custom Curtains.
I put “lined” in quotes because as I was getting ready to figure out how to cut two pieces of fabric for my curtain lining I had an epiphany. Why don’t I just double them? No sewing is required to get a lined look. Is this a technique my mother would approve of? NO, definitely not. But it has the same effect.
Click the link to see my video tutorial before you start.
- Measure from the bottom of rod to the floor. In this example, that is 97 inches.
- Measure the circumference of your rod. For me this is 2.5 inches. Add 0.75 inches for ease and divide by 2. That is 1.625 inches.
- Measure and mark the bottom rod pocket seam.For me, the easiest way was to measure from the bottom of the sheet up to where the bottom of the rod was (97 inches in this example) or you can work backwards starting from the top. My finished length is 102 inches long, so I need the bottom seam to be 5 inches from the top (102 inches – 97 inches). Mark this length across the top of your sheet with a pencil. I kept my drape folded in half length wise so that my seam would go through both layers.
- Measure and mark the top rod pocket seam. This is 1.625 inches above the bottom seam.
- Sew the two seams as you have them marked. Linen fabric has a lot of give to it. This can mean that your two sides move around a lot. You could get to the end and the two halves don’t match up exactly. Don’t worry about this. It won’t be visible when the curtain hangs in the window. Sew a straight seam and keep positioning the fabric as you move it through your machine to make it as even as possible.
Sew Seams while holding fabric in place
- Cut a hole for the rod on one end. If you have doubled your sheet over as I did, when you hang them there is just one small problem. One end of your rod pocket has no hole (the fold fabric). If I knew how to sew better I would probably have a better solution for this problem. But I don’t, so I used pinking shears and cut a small triangular hole on the closed end. The pinking shears keep the fabric from raveling. I also applied a thin layer of liquid stitch to the edge, which helps it to seal. Once you hang your curtain you won’t be able to see this, even if you stand really close, because the top of your curtain gathers on the rod.
- Hang your curtain.
Should I Wash The Fabric First?
The answer is that it depends. The best thing to do is to wash the fabric just in case something spills on your drape and you need to wash them. If you don’t wash the fabric yardage, or in this case sheets, before construction, they may shrink when you wash them and no longer be the proper length. However, I’ve found that I NEVER wash my drapes. I might spot treat something or vacuum them, but I’ve never taken them down to wash them.
I also hate to iron, so this is another reason that I prefer NOT TO wash them.
So I hope you will take the leap and try making your own drapes out of sheets. Good Luck!
Interested in more DIY drape ideas? Read how to make drop cloth curtains or see this post about how to make lined drapes out of sheets. You might also be interested in where to find the best thermal curtains.