Window Coverings

When cutting out fabric, always lay it out on a large flat table or the floor before opening to cut. Begin with a straight edge: to do this draw out a weft (horizontal) thread from the width of the fabric, then use this line as a guide to cutting. Measure the first fabric piece from this edge.
If the fabric is patterned, you must take care to match the pattern repeats on each piece cut. It is usually easiest to cut the first piece, then lay it on the rest of the fabric and use it as a guide for subsequent pieces.

Pleating with a Staple Gun

  1. Use a length of wooden batten (furring strip) for the pleating, attached to the wall with a couple of strong screws. Start by putting the first staple into the corner of the fabric. Use the staple gun on its side so the staples are vertical, not horizontal, which would cause more stress on the fabric and possible tearing.
  2. Allowing an equal distance between pleats, pinch the same amount each time between your finger and thumb, lifting it clear of the batten. Place a staple on each side of the pinched pleat. When you reach the end of the length, go back to the beginning and staple all the pinched pleats down flat in the same direction. If your pelmet (valance) is deep, you may prefer to leave out this stage.

Hanging a Curtain Rod

  1. To insert a wall plug, match the drill bit number to the size of the wall plug. They are coded, so check the numbers. Hold the wall plug next to the bit, then use a strip of tape to mark its length on the bit. Don’t drill deeper than this or the wall plug will be lost in the wall. Use a masonry bit for drilling walls, recognized by their light colour and squared-o- tips. Wood drill bits are made of darker metal.
  2. Tap the wall plug into the hole with a hammer. The plug should fit snugly right up to the collar. If it is too loose, fill the hole and re-locate at least 5 cm/2 in from it. If the hole is too tight, the wall plug will not fit securely. Check the drill bit, and go up one size if necessary.
  3. A standard wooden curtain rod fitting comes in two parts. The first is a cup shape with a hole drilled through the middle for a screw. The second has a peg that fits into the hole and a ring at the other end to hold the pole. Measure above the window to get the position for the first support attachment. Drill and plug a hole. Then screw the wooden cup in place. Peg the second ball of the fitting into it, and firmly put in the securing screw through the hole provided.
  4. To position the second support attachment, rest a length of plank on the first attachment, and place a spirit (carpenter’s) level on top of it. Hold the wooden cup in your spare hand and, when you find the level, mark through the hole with a pencil. You can then dispense with the plank and the level. Drill, plug and screw in the attachment as before. Thread the rod through the rings or rest it in the grooves. Then rush the finials on to the ends to finish off the curtain rod.

Heading Tape Styles

  1. Standard tape: A simple gathered effect which works most successfully on lightweight or unlined curtains.
  2. Fabric fullness required: times track/pole measurement.
  3. Pencil pleat: A popular heading resulting in tall regular pleats across the curtain, available in various depths and also in a lightweight version.
  4. Fabric fullness required: 2-21/2 times track/pole measurement.
  5. Box pleat: By drawing up the cords, the curtain forms flat box pleats at regular
  6. intervals across the width.
  7. Fabric fullness required: 2 times track/pole measurement.
  8. Net/voile pleat: A translucent heading tape for use with sheer voile fabrics or nets. In addition to the pockets in the rape to take curtain hooks, there are loops in the tape enabling the curtain to be suspended from a rod or wire.
  9. Fabric fullness required: 2 times track/pole measurement.
  10. Triple pinch pleat: By pulling the two draw cords, the curtain fabric is gathered into evenly spaced elegant pinch pleats. Ensure the pleating positions match on both curtains. It is available in various depths and in a lightweight version.
  11. Fabric fullness required: 2 times track/pole measurement.
  12. Goblet pleat: The top cord draws the fabric into rounded pleats across the width, while the lower cord gathers the base of each to form goblet shapes. These shapes can be further enhanced by stuffing with tissue paper, which holds the shape
  13. Fabric fullness required: 21/2 times track/pole measurement

Measuring a Window

Take two basic measurements to estimate the amount of fabric needed for curtains or blinds (drapes or shades).
For curtains: calculate the width by measuring the width of the track or pole. The length is a matter of personal choice. Measure from the top of the track or pole, and decide whether the curtains are to fall to the floor, the windowsill or, for example, just clear the top of a radiator.
For blinds: measure the width of the window or recess in which the blind is to fit. For the length, measure the length of the window or recess.
Simple lined curtains can have a lovely classic look to them. A plain or striped fabric with a firm weave is easiest to manage if it is your first attempt at making curtains. The starting point to all curtain making is calculating how much fabric is required and then cutting it out correctly. Be sure you are happy with your measurements before you cut any fabric.